Marijuana Stores Could Double In Washington State

WASHINGTON: Washington could get lots more pot stores.

State regulators will allow medical marijuana providers to seek retail licenses later this fall. There are no strict limits on how many new licenses could be granted, and there is no requirement that they focus on medical patients.

This sounds like it could mean more competition. But it also means that all pot stores will be on equal footing.

The passage of Initiative 502 in 2012 launched Washington’s regulated marijuana system. But officials watched in dismay as hundreds of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries sprouted on street corners around the state. Now under a new state law, “gray market” marijuana providers must get state retail licenses or close their doors.

Liquor and Cannabis Board spokesman Brian Smith said the number of new licenses his agency can grant is open-ended.

Oregonian To OLCC: Allow Out-of-State Marijuana Business Investment

OREGON: When crafting a marijuana legalization measure, it is necessary to balance several objectives, including: personal freedom and public safety; tax revenue and responsible use; free speech and advertising restrictions designed to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors; and out-of-state competition vs. protecting in-state mom and pops. When drafting Measure 91, we co-authors carefully considered these various interests and felt that we had developed a sensible law that would stake a moderate middle on these issues and move the state of Oregon forward with a cannabis industry that would follow in the footsteps of our successful microbrewery and winery industries, while most importantly ending the arrest and citation of thousands of people for marijuana offenses. Apparently, voters agreed, supporting Measure 91 with more than 56% of the vote.

To balance the need to bring in out-of-state capital and protect Oregon’s homegrown industry, we concluded that the best way to balance these interests was to provide for a low, barrier to entry and provide for transparency. With a $1,250 license fee for growers, producers and retailers, Oregon entrepreneurs could be vertically-integrated for just $3,750 and market themselves as true Oregon small businesses.

Arizona Medical Marijuana Patients Can Now Buy Cannabis Legally In Las Vegas And Reno

ARIZONA:  Arizona’s medical-marijuana patients now can patronize newly opened dispensaries in Reno and Las Vegas and possess up to 2.5 ounces anywhere in Nevada.

Arizona, like some of the other 23 states with medical-marijuana laws, allows people with valid medical cards from other states to legally possess marijuana in Arizona, but they can’t legally buy it at Arizona dispensaries.

Nevada apparently is the only state that allows its dispensaries to sell to patients from other states. And now its dispensaries have begun to open, greatly expanding where Arizona’s 80,000 patients can legally buy cannabis.

Two Reno-area dispensaries opened in July. Las Vegas saw its first dispensary — Euphoria Wellness — open a couple of weeks ago. More dispensaries in Vegas and elsewhere in Nevada are expected to pop up in the coming months; the state has processed more than 60 dispensary applications.

Salem City Council Allows Early Recreational Pot Sales

OREGON:  The Salem City Council voted 8 to 1 Monday night to allow early sales of recreational marijuana. Mayor Anna Peterson was the only member to vote no.

The decision will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational pot to people 21 and over starting on October 1, more than three months ahead of the state’s planned start date.

At the city council meeting, some voters expressed frustration that the early sales period was even up for debate. Others were angry that council only gave the public two days notice that it would be on Monday’s agenda.

The Opening Bell Sounds For The Oregon Marijuana Market

By Tony Gallo

OREGON:  On July 1, Oregon became the fourth state to legalize marijuana use, enabling adults to legally possess and grow limited amounts of cannabis for personal use. (Recreational sales begin October 1.) With the legalization, and even before, the industry in Oregon was ramping up to grow, and in the spirit of Oregonians, help each other out.

Case in point is the Cannabis Creative Conference (CCC) which I had the privilege of attending. The  two-day conference, July 29-30,  was sponsored by CannaGuard Security, Chalice Farms and Elevate/Green America and held at the Portland Expo. It was formulated to be ‘from the industry, for the industry” and was developed by Bella Vista Events in collaboration with cannabis industry businesses. The conference was created to share strategies and cultivate important conversations around rules and regulations, marketing and financial strategies, and education.

The kick-off investor summit on July 28 was hosted by MJIC. Speaker Lori Glauser, Director, President and COO of Signal Bay Inc. said she was really pleased at how it all came together so quickly. “It was a terrific audience, terrific speakers. It was a great event and I look forward to more events just like it.”

Day one had a keynote by Steven Marks, Executive Director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association Co-founder and Executive Director. Noah Stokes of CannaGuard Security was Master of Ceremonies. Panels throughout the day included compliance, tips for building an MJ facility and lessons learned, building strategic partnerships and legalities to consider.

July 30 saw a keynote session of Industry Leaders sharing views of the industry’s future. Amy Margolis, Emerge Law Group, Attorney & Shareholder said, “This is really about people educating themselves, then filtering their information through professionals and creating unified talking points that move legalization forward on a local level. The biggest mistake we can make at this point is lack of professionalism and a scattershot approach to implementation,” driving home awareness of what’s really coming. Afternoon panels covered raising capital, cannabis technologies, real estate acquisition, risk mitigation, banking, payment processing and cash management.

The Cannabis Creative Conference was new and different and the estimated attendance was twice what was expected. As Leafly commented, “It was good for us because we did want to reach out and have a variety of people attend…we’ve done a couple of these (events) and sometimes they’re less well attended. I really don’t have enough positive things to say about it.“

The trade show hosted about 70 booths and 15 seminars daily and I was pleased to see cannabis industry leaders such as Rolland Safe, MJBA and RMMC Consulting at the conference supporting the Oregon cannabis business owners.

I also liked that all the presentations were recorded for those who couldn’t attend the conference. In the last few years, I have attended more than a dozen or so cannabis events across the USA and I would rate this one in my top 5 conferences.

Good job and I look forward to this format being used at other cannabis conferences.

Tony Gallo is the Senior Director of Sapphire Protection (www.sapphireprotection.com) with over 30 years in the Loss Prevention, Audit, Safety, and Risk/Emergency Management fields. Tony has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University and is a member of Americans for Safe Access and the National Cannabis Industry Association.  Tony is considered one of the leading authorities in cannabis and financial loan service security and safety. Contact Tony at tonyrgallo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @SapphireProtect.

Early Marijuana Sales Bill For Oregon Signed By Kate Brown

OREGON:  Gov. Kate Brown signed legislation Tuesday allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon to begin limited pot sales to adult consumers on Oct. 1.

Under Senate Bill 460, over-21 consumers will be able to buy up to a quarter-ounce of dried marijuana per day at dispensaries, as well as seeds and up to four immature plants.

This will be the first time that marijuana dispensaries can sell at all to people who don’t have a medical marijuana card. Supporters of the measure argued that the state should get a quick start on sales to divert traffic from the black market — and dispensary owners also said they were anxious to move into recreational marijuana sales because the market is over-saturated on the medical marijuana side.

Under the temporary sales program, there will be no tax on products until Jan. 4.  At that point there will be a 25 percent sales tax.

Illegal Pot Shops Need Rooting Out In Pierce County

WASHINGTON:  Wonder of wonders: King County, epicenter of the state’s drug culture, has begun cracking down on illegal marijuana dispensaries.

Pierce County? It’s still doing next to nothing about them – even as it prohibits legal marijuana stores.

King County’s prosecutor, Dan Satterberg, and sheriff, John Urquhart, have put two and two together: Now that the state has more than 150 licensed marijuana retailers (with more on the way), it might just be time to start shuttering the hundreds of storefronts and delivery services that have been operating outside the law.

“The law is now clear,” said Satterberg earlier this month. “The only way to sell marijuana is with a state-issued license. It’s binary.”

 

Vail Marijuana Store Ban Gets First Approval

COLORADO:  There aren’t any retail marijuana stores here now, and there won’t be any retail for the foreseeable future. The Vail Town Council on Tuesday voted 6-1 to give first-reading approval of a ban on retail marijuana stores, as well as cultivation facilities.

The ban, which will face a final-approval vote as soon as Aug. 4, replaces a temporary moratorium the town imposed in 2014. After a handful of extensions, council member Dave Chapin proposed a permanent ban at the council’s July 7 meeting.

In this case, though, “permanent” is a relative term. Chapin said Tuesday the council could overturn the current ordinance almost as soon as it’s passed. And Vail voters in November will elect at least two and as many as four new council members.

Applications For Oregon Marijuana Dispensaries Growing

OREGON:   Applications for permits to open new medical pot dispensaries are increasing as the state prepares to allow the businesses to sell retail marijuana to anyone over 21.

Figures obtained by The Associated Press from the Oregon Public Health Division show that since Measure 91 passed last November, there have been 411 new applications to open medical marijuana dispensaries and 51 since the start of July, when the Legislature voted to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling recreational pot on Oct. 1. There were 203 in the six months before the election.

Donald Morse, a dispensary owner and director of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, says the market is saturated, with three dispensaries recently going out of business.

“Everyone believes there will be millions of people lined up around the block to go to their dispensary,” said Morse. “When they don’t show up, these people will realize they made a mistake, there isn’t that much money to be had, and close their doors.”

Unlicensed Marijuana Businesses Will Soon Close In Unincorporated King County

WASHINGTON:  King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and King County Sheriff John Urquhart announced today a King County effort aimed at closing down unlicensed marijuana businesses operating in unincorporated King County.

Fifteen such businesses operating in unincorporated King County were sent letters earlier in the week informing them that they do not have state-approved licenses for the sale of marijuana and must close down their establishments.

Initiative 502, which was approved by voters in 2012, requires the state to create a system for the licensed production, processing and retail distribution of marijuana with no requirement for medical need. Recent amendments to Initiative 502, adopted by the State Legislature, bring medical marijuana into the state licensing system and eliminate “collective gardens.” Retail operations licensed by the state offer the only legal way to sell marijuana, and any unlicensed sale of marijuana is illegal.

“These stores are illegal,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.  “They are unlicensed, untaxed, and they are undermining Washington State’s new law. How local jurisdictions deal with this issue may well determine the success of the entire law,” he added.