Oregon Liquor Control Commission Seeks Input On Recreational Marijuana Regulations

OREGON: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will hold several Rules Advisory Committees (RACs) beginning in late summer and continuing into this fall. The purpose of an advisory committee is to increase the public’s involvement in the drafting and development of administrative rules.

These meetings will focus on reviewing legislative changes made during the 2019 session and address other issues that have arisen within the licensed and regulated marijuana industry.

In order to fill the RACs, the Commission is asking licensees, partner agencies and businesses associated with the cannabis industry, to apply to be on the committees.

The Commission will use this recruitment process to obtain fresh perspectives on both the condition of the industry’s operating environment and the current state of the rules and regulatory process.

To apply to be considered for appointment to the committee please fill out this survey by August 1, 2019.

The Commission will review all responses and fill the membership of the committees in a manner that best represents the industry and reflects a wide range of perspectives on industry issues.

Following the completion of the committee work, the Commission will hold both a Public Hearing and provide a subsequent two-week comment period in order to acquire additional perspectives on the proposed changes considered by the committees.

Stakeholders and other interested parties will be notified about all committee and hearing dates, and the information will be published on the Commissions’ website.

Click here to apply for the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Program RACs.

New Bills Introduced Would Allow Personal Marijuana Home Grows

WASHINGTON:  Two bills introduced Thursday would allow people at least 21 years old to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use.

Senate Bill 6083, sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, and House Bill 2196, sponsored by Rep. Brian Blake, would allow only one home grow per residence, and anyone who grows marijuana for personal use would be able to possess up to 8 ounces of usable marijuana and donate up to one ounce to another adult without compensation.

Bill sponsors said the legislation would help eliminate the need for multiple regulatory schemes and remove incentives driving the black market.

“This bill would protect patients as well as recreational users,” said Kohl-Welles. “It also would create a bright line for law enforcement officers so that they could easily assess how many plants are growing in a residence, check for age and quickly decide if the operation is legal without hassling residents.”

“This bill is about consistency, congruency and especially, freedom” said Blake. “Adults in our state can brew their own beer and make their own wine for personal consumption. Just like alcohol, marijuana can be used safely and responsibly, so it makes sense to allow adults to home grow their own if they want to.”

 

Why Washington Is Taking So Long To Get Recreational Pot In Stores

WASHINGTON:  Like Colorado, Washington voted to legalize marijuana in November 2012. But 18 months later, not a single ounce of legal recreational pot has been sold in the state.

Washington has repeatedly delayed implementation of its new law. The state has, for example, delayed issuing licenses for marijuana growers and processors twice — and punted  the launch of retail businesses from this spring to July at the earliest.

Washington shows just how difficult it is to establish a legal marijuana industry. Legalization is not a matter of just turning the switch; it instead involves a long, complicated process of balancing concerns about the drawbacks of marijuana and the public’s willingness to allow the drug for recreational use. For Washington, how to achieve that balance is a work in progress.

“You have to understand that, other than Colorado, no one has done this in the world,” says Brian Smith of the Washington State Liquor Board, which is overseeing the state’s marijuana businesses. “There’s no blueprint, and every step of the way of the way as you go forward there are challenges.”

Limits On Marijuana Advertising Land Colorado In Court

COLORADO: Two publications have sued Colorado in federal court over restrictions that prohibit the state’s legalized recreational marijuana industry from advertising on television, radio, online or in most print publications.

High Times magazine, which caters to marijuana enthusiasts, and Westword, a Colorado alternative weekly newspaper, said in a suit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Denver that the rules were “unjustifiably burdensome” and violate free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. [Read more…]

Bainbridge Council To Discuss Progress In Developing Permanent Regulations For Marijuana business

WASHINGTON: The state Attorney General’s Office recently stated that local governments are not required to implement Washington’s new marijuana law in their jurisdictions.

But experts at the Municipal Research and Services Center say that attorney general opinions are not binding in state courts.

The Bainbridge Island Planning Commission began work on developing permanent regulations for recreational marijuana businesses this past January. With the attorney general’s recent statement, however, planning staff are now asking the city council to weigh in.

The state Attorney General’s Office issued a formal opinion Jan. 16 stating that I-502, the voter-approved initiative that legalized recreational marijuana use, does not prevent individual municipalities from banning marijuana businesses. [Read more…]

New Year's DUI Arrests In Colorado Down 14% From Previous Year

COLORADO:  Colorado law enforcement authorities arrested 14 percent fewer drunken-driving suspects this New Year’s holiday than during the previous year’s festivities, a sign that people might be finding a safer way home.

“It’s hard to tell; we don’t know for sure, but that’s a hope,” said Emily Wilfong, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation. “We’re trending with lower fatalities over the holidays.”

The weeklong enforcement period of increased patrols, supported through state grants, caps off a year that saw 28 percent fewer arrests during the 12-period enforcement cycle than in 2012. Factors such as agency participation and funding also affect arrest numbers.

The Economist: Of Bongs And Bureaucrats

COLORADO: They came to Denver, the mile-high city, to get high. They shivered in the cold as they waited for the first legal recreational marijuana (cannabis) shops in Colorado to open on January 1st.

It is too early to judge whether the experiment is working, but the early signs are good. The first American state to allow toking-for-fun has not been seized by reefer madness. Its pot shops are more orderly than, say, a British pub at closing time. One report claimed that 37 Coloradans died of marijuana overdoses on the first day of legalisation, but it was in the Daily Currant, a spoof newspaper. Few readers were fooled: one reason why Americans keep voting to relax marijuana laws is that they have mostly come round to the view that dope is less hazardous than booze. [Read more…]

Washington Pot Business Applications Surpass 3,000

WASHINGTON:  More than 3,700 marijuana business applications have now been filed in Washington state, including 867 proposed retail outlets spanning from Point Roberts to Pullman.

Washington’s Liquor Control Board released updated figures Tuesday, saying it had received 3,746 applications to grow, process or sell cannabis under Washington’s recreational pot law passed by voters last year. The application window closed last week, but board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said there is still a backlog of submissions that haven’t been processed yet.

Carpenter said it’s premature to dissect the numbers because it’s not clear how many of the applications are viable. He said it appears some applicants hadn’t done the work to identify a business location.

“It’s really hard to tell how many of these are legitimate,” Carpenter said.

Investigators have already started reviewing applicants, and the state hopes to begin issuing licenses at the end of February. Applicants must undergo background checks, be residents of Washington state, and have their business areas inspected by the state.

Along with 1,670 producer applications and 1,209 processor applications, the state has released details on 867 proposed retail outlets. The state is planning to cap the number of pot shops at 334 statewide, so some areas are expected to face a lottery for retail licenses.

Updated County Count: 1,326 Applications Submitted For Marijuana Licenses In Washington

WASHINGTON: The latest number of applications submitted to grow, produce products from and sell marijuana in Washington has jumped to 1,326, up from 585 just two weeks ago.

As we said before, competition in the new legal marijuana market established by I-502 and the Liquor Control Board looks to be rather robust.

Not all of the applications will be good ones. Many were submitted by the same business/person. Some cities and counties have moratoriums or outright bans on marijuana businesses. But the liquor board has said it will issue licenses even for areas of the state that don’t want pot businesses. Those cities and counties will likely face lawsuits for attempting to ban businesses permitted by state law. [Read more…]

Washington State Will Use Minors In Marijuana Buying Sting

WASHINGTON: State officials will use minors in marijuana-buying stings next year when Washington’s new legal pot stores open.

Charged with implementing the new law that allows adults over age 21 to possess an ounce of pot, the state Liquor Control Board already uses minors in “controlled buys” of alcohol at retail stores.

The board’s enforcement chief said using the same strategy with marijuana makes sense, especially because federal officials want to make sure Washington restricts minors’ access to the drug.

“Of course the feds are looking at a tightly regulated market around youth access, and I think this shows we’re being responsible,” said Justin Nordhorn. [Read more…]