Marijuana legalization

JosephAdams Photo / Flickr

Fans of recreational marijuana are expected to light up in record numbers Saturday. That’s because the date—April 20 or 4/20—is also slang for the time of day when many pot-users like to get high.

KPLU has garnered a 2013 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTNDA). The award for Best Audio News Series is in recognition of the KPLU News team’s 2012 pre-election series, “If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life.”

Washington state is delaying its timeline for granting marijuana growing and processing licenses — and that means legal marijuana sales likely won't begin before next spring.

Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith says that rather than issue growing licenses this summer and processor licenses this fall, it will issue all licenses Dec. 1. That means the growers won't be able to get to work until December, and the final product won't be ready for a couple months after that.

Keith Seinfeld / kplu

Federal law prohibits banks from helping drug dealers. So where do marijuana businesses keep their cash?  

“We would put the cash in the safe on premises, which obviously makes you nervous. You have to leave it there overnight,” said Cale Burkhart, who sells cannabis-infused lotions. His shop closed last year, but he’s still selling a line called Vita Verde.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

When Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana last fall, they handed the state’s Liquor Control Board a regulatory nightmare. There’s no manual for how to create a safe and legal market for pot – something that’s never been done before.

State Representative Roger Goodman – speaking after a recent meeting on marijuana legalization – says the giggle factor is gone.

“Initiative 502 largely is about making marijuana boring. Because who cares about all this detail, technical, regulatory stuff," he said. "Well that’s what it’s all about is to get down into the weeds so to speak.”

Paula Wissel / KPLU

  Washington state officials say it's not OK for bars to allow marijuana use, and they'll take quick steps to address that.

The announcement from the state Liquor Control Board on Wednesday followed a recent report by The Associated Press about establishments in Olympia and Tacoma that allow people to consume marijuana on-site.

But a worker at one such bar in Tacoma says the state’s efforts will do little good. 

 

Estimates of how much money marijuana legalization can bring to the state's coffers have been way off, Washington's new marijuana consultant said.

Associated Press

Ever try pot? Answer yes to a border agent, and foreigners could face permanent consequences even if they haven't used marijuana in years. 

More and more Canadians are learning the hard way that admitting to U.S. border agents that you smoked pot can bar you from entering the country forever.

Immigration lawyers say some Canadians are under the mistaken impression that legalization of marijuana in Washington state has resulted in leniency by U.S. border agents here, but it hasn't. Marijuana is still an illegal substance under federal law.

Associated Press

 Washington state has tentatively chosen a Massachusetts-based firm led by a University of California, Los Angeles, professor to be its official marijuana consultant.

Botec Analysis Corp. is based in Cambridge, Mass., and has evaluated government programs and provided consulting relating to drug abuse, crime and public health. Losing bidders for the contract can protest the award, but if it stands, Botec will advise Washington state officials as they develop rules for the state's new industry in legal, taxed marijuana.

Associated Press

The head of the U.N. drug watchdog agency is urging U.S. federal officials to challenge the decriminalization of possessing small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and over in Washington and Colorado.

Morgan / Flickr

Attorney General Eric Holder says the Obama administration still hasn't decided on how the federal government will respond to the new legal-marijuana laws passed by voters in Washington and Colorado.

Holder appeared Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was asked about the issue by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

The attorney general reiterated what he has said recently — that a policy decision will be announced "relatively soon." He also said he's had good conversations with elected leaders from Washington and Colorado.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday. He will likely get questions about Washington and Colorado’s new marijuana laws. Pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to block the pot legalization measures.

The new push for federal invention comes from a United Nations-based drug agency and nine former DEA chiefs. They say Washington and Colorado's new recreational pot laws violate international treaties.

YAKIMA, Wash. – Marijuana advocates, people concerned about the effects of drugs on children and hopeful entrepreneurs filled a huge room at the Yakima Convention Center Thursday night. This hearing is part of a series across Washington on how to implement voter-approved marijuana legalization. Correspondent Anna King brings us our story from Yakima.

SEATTLE, Wash. – As Washington moves to legalize marijuana, pot entrepreneurs are lobbying in public forums and behind the scenes. These business interests want to shape the new marijuana marketplace. Among them, a Seattle-based private equity firm called Privateer Holdings. The company has hired a top Olympia lobbyist and is making the case for large marijuana grows to state regulators.

Idaho is now hemmed in by four states where marijuana is legal in some form, and a panel of state lawmakers fears Idaho could be next. A state Senate committee approved a pair of measures against marijuana, including one asking the federal government to crack down on Idaho’s neighbors.

Oregon, Montana and Nevada allow medical marijuana, while Washington legalized it for recreational use.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee sent U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a letter this week detailing the efforts the state is taking as it moves forward with creating rules for a voter-approved legal market for marijuana.

Inslee wrote the "the world is watching" both Colorado and Washington as the two states implement last fall's votes that approved the recreational use of marijuana.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

It’s always been illegal to drive stoned. But, what that means has changed under Washington’s new marijuana law.

Initiative-502 includes a strict definition of "under the influence" – which some people say is misguided.

From legalizing the industrial production of hemp to establishing a federal tax, an effort is building in Congress to change U.S. marijuana laws.

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon tells The Associated Press that lawmakers from both parties have been quietly working on several bills, and he and Colorado Democrat Jared Polis plan to introduce the first two on Tuesday.

Polis' measure would let states legalize pot and require growers to obtain a federal permit, while Blumenauer's would create a federal marijuana excise tax.

As Washington moves to legalize marijuana, there are fresh concerns that a parallel market for pot will continue to flourish. It’s not quite a black market. Let’s call it a “grey” market – for medical marijuana. The question now: how will highly taxed and regulated pot compete with largely unregulated medical marijuana?

David Snyder / National Park Service

Wanted: A green thumb with extensive knowledge of the black, or at least gray, market.

As Washington state tries to figure out how to regulate its newly legal marijuana, officials are hiring an adviser on all things weed: how it's best grown, tested, labeled, and cooked into brownies.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the eyes of the nation will be on the state as it creates a legal marijuana market over the next year. The new governor said Thursday that along with legalization comes the expectation that illegal pot production and sales will mostly end.

Inslee doesn’t expect a clear answer from the Obama administration anytime soon on how the federal government will respond to Washington’s new marijuana law. He met earlier this week with US Attorney General Eric Holder.

OLYMPIA, Wash. –The first public forum on how to implement Washington’s new marijuana law drew a capacity crowd Tuesday night in Olympia. The state’s Liquor Control Board is seeking input as it writes the rules for enacting Initiative 502 – Washington’s new pot legalization law.

They arrived early and in droves – the smell of marijuana clung in the air. First in line to get a seat for the forum, Leslie Tikka of Olympia. She mainly came to see a bit of history in the making.

Washington's top officials met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington D.C. today and tried to reassure the Obama administration that Washington's new marijuana law won't result in distribution of pot outside the state.

medcannaman / Flickr

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson are meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to talk about the state's legal marijuana law.

Inslee and Ferguson plan to tell reporters about the meeting in an afternoon conference call.

And on Tuesday night in Olympia, the Liquor Control Board is holding the first public hearing on rules that will govern legal marijuana sales.

With Cannabis now legal in Washington and Colorado, we decided to roll out an episode that features Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Cab Calloway. We find out which President inhaled and which one did not. Special appearance from Puff the Magic Dragon.

Here's the NEW psychotronic VIDEO version of RBR.

Did he inhale?

Teen marijuana use up

Dec 19, 2012

More teens are getting high on marijuana.  According to a national survey, high school kids are also less likely than in previous years to see marijuana use as harmful.

AP

OLYMPIA, Wash. – President Obama’s first comments about marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado leave more questions than answers. The President tells ABC news that federal agents have – quote – “bigger fish to fry” than recreational pot users.

Keith Seinfeld / kplu

 (Updated at 10pm)

In Seattle, you're more likely to get a parking ticket than a marijuana smoking ticket.

History was made at midnight in Washington on two fronts last night: Bans on both gay marriage and recreational marijuana use were lifted.

As you might expect, as the sun set and the clock struck 12, there were scenes of celebration across the state's biggest city. The pictures tell the story, so with that here are five photographs from Seattle.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

At the stroke of midnight, adult marijuana users will no longer be lawbreakers in Washington. But lots of legal questions remain about how marijuana commerce will work, where it’s legal to use and how the federal government will respond.

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