Washington State: Weed Goldmine Not So Lucrative With New Product Glut

WASHINGTON:  Remember the early days of legal cannabis in Washington, when it was selling for $20 or $25 a gram and stores were closing because they were literally sold out of weed? Those days are officially over. Prices in recreational stores have been falling with every passing month as more shops open. Now there is a glut of pot and it’s forcing prices way too low.

The Stranger reports, Ian Eisenberg, the owner of Uncle Ike’s, a recreational store in Washington, says prices at his store range from $10 to $23 a gram, which is competitive with most medical stores, but “wholesale prices are still literally half of what they were in September.” Good for those who need it, but not so great for those potpreneurs.

Currently Washington offers three tiers of growing licenses for cannabis: less less than 2,000 square feet; 2,000 to 10,000 square feet; and 10,000 to 30,000 square feet. So far, they have issued approximately 336 licenses statewide.

Alison Holcomb, the Seattle attorney who drafted the legal pot law. “There are 10 times as many applications as we need.” Holcomb called the glut of pot-growing applications “a real problem for the people that want to go into production because if you apply for a 30,000-square-foot grow and incur all the expenses for the lease and buildout, you don’t want to suddenly learn that you can only grow 2,000 square feet,” she said.

Guest: Eliminate The Differences Between I-502 And Medical Marijuana Law

WASHINGTON:  As medical marijuana heads back to Olympia, legislators are bracing for a rerun of last session’s drama of makeshift dispensary operators and self-appointed patient advocates decrying any effort to rein in abuses of the law.

Lawmakers face many competing priorities, but it’s important they clean up Washington’s medical-marijuana mess. Before licensed marijuana retail stores began opening last summer, legitimate reasons existed to tolerate some of the commercial activity that’s been squeezing itself into gaps in the medical-marijuana law. Now, however, it’s time to stop winking and nodding. Everyone who wants to make money selling marijuana ought to play by the same rules, and we finally have a set of rules under Initiative 502.

I-502 did not legalize “recreational” marijuana. I-502 created a system for regulating commercial marijuana activity, regardless of the intended use of the product. Products for patients with terminal and debilitating medical conditions arguably should be held to higher standards, which could be added to I-502’s baseline. But it’s time for businesses not willing to comply with at least the same requirements as I-502 producers and retailers to close up shop, and the Legislature needs to make that explicit under the medical-marijuana law.

To be fair, the current medical-marijuana mess grew out of real and desperate necessity. Before drafting Initiative 502 and working with legislators on multiple medical marijuana, decriminalization and legalization bills, I represented medical-marijuana patients, providers, casual users, growers and international smugglers in city, state and federal courts across Washington for more than a decade.


Marijuana Legalization: The Rise Of A Drug From Outlaw Status To Retail Shelves

OREGON:  After voters in Washington and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, Alison Holcomb would tell pot activists it was too early to say that the rest of America was ready to accept the drug.

Holcomb, an American Civil Liberties Union official who managed Washington’s legalization campaign, recalled that nearly a dozen states – including Oregon – decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug in the 1970s.

“And then the ’80s came and the pendulum swung back hard,” she said, as President Ronald Reagan called marijuana “probably the most dangerous drug in America” and stepped up federal enforcement against all illegal drugs.

Holcomb now feels more confident that marijuana will be widely legal after watching Oregon and Alaska voters approve the possession and retail sales.

Legalization in two more states — in a non-presidential year when fewer younger people vote – marks an important milestone in the drive to sweep away criminal penalties against a drug routinely used by millions of Americans, Holcomb and other activists say. On top of that, in Washington, D.C., voters said adults should be able to grow and possess the drug.

Spokane Sewage Could Be Tested For Marijuana Level As Indicator Of Use; Wastewater Doesn’t Lie

WASHINGTON:  The author of Washington’s recreational marijuana law has suggested that Spokane test its sewage for traces of the cannabis chemical THC, to get a more accurate picture of pot use by residents.

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Alison Holcomb proposed the idea at a Tuesday meeting of the City Council’s marijuana policy subcommittee.

A scientist for the University of Washington said the proposal is a good idea.

“It’s always good for a chuckle, but it does actually work,” Caleb Banta-Green, a researcher at the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, said Wednesday.


Prohibitionist Sabet Targets Commercial Marijuana

EDITOR’S NOTE: Alison Holcolmb, author of Washington’s I-502 initiative, passes this along note to MJ Headline News: “You may have already seen the below press release that apparently has been sent to several, if not all, Washington state legislators, and which a few of them, at least, are forwarding on to city council members (and likely county council members and others).  This is coming from Kevin Sabet, whose most recent prohibitionist strategy is Project SAM.

I think it’s a good example of how Sabet is focusing on commercialization as the strongest argument against legalization and regulation.  His goal is not only to stop progress toward sane cannabis policies, but also to roll it back in Colorado and Washington.  My take, as you all know, is that the nascent cannabis industry needs a robust and sincere strategy for building social responsibility in at the ground level.

All best,


PRESS RELEASE                                                  Contact: Kevin A. Sabet

September 18, 2014

Colorado Voters Turning Against Marijuana Legalization

Suffolk University/USA Today poll finds support for legalization plummets 17% among Colorado voters

DENVER- In the first indication of a backlash brewing in Colorado against legal pot, a Suffolk University/USA Today poll finds that now only 46% of likely voters support Amendment 64, the constitutional amendment legalizing and commercializing marijuana. 50% of likely voters oppose the measure entirely. That is a marked difference from election night 2012, when 55% of voters supported the measure.  Even fewer people – 42% of likely voters – approve with the way the state is handling the legal change.

“We have always believed that when voters were given the facts about marijuana, the marijuana industry, and the failings of commercialization, they would oppose legalization.  It is unfortunate Colorado has been the lab rat of the marijuana industry, but we’re confident legalization will only be temporary as opposition to legalization grows and our education of people across the state increases,” said Bob Doyle, Chair, Colorado SAM Coalition.

Colorado has grown into a massive opportunity for marijuana businesses, who sell candy, chocolate, and other kid-friendly marijuana items. This has led to a rise in poison center calls and emergency room admissions.

“The theory of legalization looks a lot prettier than the policy in practice,” remarked Kevin A. Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “Revenue numbers are low, the underground market is thriving, and health issues are mounting. And, it appears, the public is paying attention.”

Project SAM, has four main goals:

* To inform public policy with the science of today’s potent marijuana.

* To prevent the establishment of “Big Marijuana” – and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.

* To promote research of marijuana’s medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.

* To have an adult conversation about reducing the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.

No-Pot City Takes Aim At Washington Marijuana Law

WASHINGTON:  To Tedd Wetherbee, the vacant storefront seems a suitable spot for selling pot. It’s in a strip mall across from BJ’s Bingo parlor, in a long commercial stretch occupied by fast-food joints, dry cleaners and massage parlors.

But like dozens of other cities in Washington, the small Tacoma suburb of Fife doesn’t want Wetherbee — or anyone else — opening marijuana businesses, even if state law allows it. The arguments officials are making in a lawsuit over the dispute threaten to derail Washington’s big experiment in legal, taxed cannabis less than two months after sales began.

A Pierce County judge on Friday is scheduled to hear arguments on two key issues at the core of Wetherbee’s legal challenge to the ban. The first is whether Washington’s voter-approved marijuana measure, Initiative 502, leaves room for cities to ban licensed pot growers, processors or sellers. If the answer is no, Fife wants the judge to address a second question: Should Washington’s entire legal marijuana scheme be thrown out as incompatible with the federal prohibition on pot?

“It’s challenging the state’s ability to create a legal and controlled market,” said Alison Holcomb, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington lawyer who drafted the law. “They’re saying, ‘We’ll just take the entire regulatory system down.’ “


The Mother Of Marijuana Legalization: Pot Comes ‘Out Of The Shadows’

WASHINGTON:  Alison Holcomb, criminal justice director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state, is known in these parts as the mother of marijuana legalization. She drafted Initiative 502, which voters passed overwhelmingly in 2012; the measure struck down prohibitions on recreational pot use and led to the creation of Washington’s marijuana market.

On Tuesday, she helped inaugurate Seattle’s first legal pot retailer, buying 4 grams of O.G.’s Pearl at Cannabis City in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, after giving a rousing speech about the evils of prohibition and the benefits of decriminalization:

“What we are tackling today is the supply side of the equation. We’re moving marijuana out of the shadows, regulating it for consumer and community safety, dedicating new tax revenues to keeping kids healthy and keeping them in school. We’re finally taking marijuana out of the criminal justice system and treating it as a public health issue.”

The day before the doors opened, Holcomb talked to the Los Angeles Times about how the new market will work, worries about shortages, and what the Evergreen State learned from Colorado, which began selling legal recreational marijuana on Jan. 1.


Seattle’s Top Cop Buys Pot — Legally!

WASHINGTON: The Evergreen State became the second state in the union to allow for recreational marijuana sales to adults.  More than 200 customers waited in line, along with an equal number of press — straight, cannabis and internet — at Seattle’s Cannabis City in SODO.

ACLU Attorney and I-502 author Alison Holcomb spoke, as did Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who proclaimed an end to “the failed war on drugs.”  The Emerald City’s top cop made news by not only opening the pot shop (you didn’t see that in Denver) but by making a purchase as well. Yes! He exercised his personal freedom by purchasing legal weed!

Washington’s rollout was much less dramatic than Colorado’s. While the mile high city, Denver, had more than a dozen stores on opening day back on January 1. Seattle has but one, and the state at large has only issued 25 recreational retail licenses, with only a few managing to open today.  More are expected to open in the days and weeks ahead. Stay tuned here for details.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpFKjUKmlas?list=UUAFKI1-krzmcoqPNFMz-tsA&w=560&h=315]

Marijuana Lovers Toke Up In Celebration Of Legal Pot Anniversary

WASHINGTON: Crowds of people bundled in winter coats celebrated the anniversary of marijuana legalization in Washington state Friday by sparking up at a city-sanctioned party under Seattle’s Space Needle.

While marijuana proponents were busy celebrating legal pot, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan raised concerns about the city apparently sanctioning the pot-smoking event. [Read more…]

Marijuana Lovers Toke Up In Celebration Of Legal Pot Anniversary

WASHINGTON: Crowds of people bundled in winter coats celebrated the anniversary of marijuana legalization in Washington state Friday by sparking up at a city-sanctioned party under Seattle’s Space Needle.

While marijuana proponents were busy celebrating legal pot, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan raised concerns about the city apparently sanctioning the pot-smoking event. [Read more…]