Medical Marijuana

AP Photo

A measure to overhaul the state's medical marijuana system cleared the Senate as the state moves to merge that largely unregulated market with the still-developing legal recreational market.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Washington voters are weighing whether to become the first state to legalize marijuana. All this week in our series "If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life," KPLU reporters have been imagining what the future could look like if it passes. Today, we check out the night-life scene, which could include a new version of BYOB – Bring Your Own Brownie. 

Say we fast-forward into the future. The legalization measure has just gone into effect. Where will people use marijuana? Will the guy you pass walking his dog be smoking a joint? Will you see people at a bar sharing their pot brownies?

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

If Washington voters approve a ballot measure this fall legalizing marijuana, it would bring big changes – not just in the justice system, but in our communities. In our series “If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” we consider some ways things could change for all of us, even people who never smoke pot. Today we look at the industry for making, selling and regulating marijuana products that will spring up … if it’s legal.

The closest thing to a legal marijuana store right now is a so-called medical marijuana dispensary. They’re all over Seattle. Tacoma has a few as well. And you can go see what kind of products they have.

You just ring the doorbell outside a forest green storefront and you’ll be greeted warmly. At least, that’s what happened to me one recent morning, at the Center for Palliative Care in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. It’s called “the CPC” for short.

City of West Hollywood / Flickr

Medical cannabis advocates and some local officials say the federal government should leave marijuana businesses alone, even if they sell near Seattle schools. The advocates decried a recent wave of enforcement, framing it as an assault on patients and law-abiding businesses.

To close a loophole in state law and further control the growth of the medical marijuana industry, the city of Seattle is proposing to tighten its zoning laws.

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to shut down all of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. That's no easy task. There are more than 800 of them — more than the number of Starbucks coffee shops in Los Angeles. But after years of struggling to regulate pot shops, city officials have decided to prohibit them altogether.

TACOMA, Wash. — The Tacoma City Council has backed away from plans for medical marijuana gardens and dispensaries in the city.

Neeta Lind / Flickr

Turns out, you may not have a good claim if your pot plants are stolen, wrecked or confiscated, even though more insurance policies are being offered.

Yesterday a Clarkston, Wash., woman whose medical marijuana was stolen found out she can’t recover the loss under her renter's insurance policy, because no legal value for the drug can be established. Even growers who get specific policies for their crops worry that their insurance will be no good if the feds bust them.

SALEM, Ore. - A candidate for Oregon state Attorney General faces an unusual new opposition campaign. Democrat Dwight Holton has become the target of medical marijuana activists. Holton faces retired judge Ellen Rosenblum in the May Democratic primary.

Medical marijuana groups say Holton cracked down on marijuana growers and distributors during his time as a federal prosecutor. He served Oregon’s U.S. attorney for two years.

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmakers said Thursday that an initiative to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana will be decided by voters.

If passed, Initiative 502 would make Washington the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and would place it at odds with federal law, which bans marijuana use of all kinds.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — More than three dozen Washington state lawmakers are asking the federal government to reclassify marijuana.

In a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Monday, the lawmakers said they supported Gov. Chris Gregoire's previous request on the issue. Reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule II drug would allow it to be prescribed by doctors and handled by pharmacists.

Some Washington lawmakers are trying to pass a new medical marijuana law that would legalize nonprofit dispensaries.

Supporters hope it will clear up the uncertainty that followed Gov. Chris Gregoire's partial veto last year of a medical marijuana law.

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Medical marijuana patients who oppose an initiative to legalize marijuana have filed a counter initiative.

The opponents of Initiative 502 filed the "Safe Cannabis Act" with the secretary of state's office Friday morning.

Alexodus / Flickr

Olympia, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee have filed a petition with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration asking the agency to reclassify marijuana so that doctors can prescribe it and pharmacists can fill the prescription.

A group in Idaho has hit the streets to gather enough signatures to put a medical marijuana initiative before voters in 2012. Idaho remains the only Northwest state and one of a handful in the West that hasn't legalized pot as medicine.

The group Compassionate Idaho needs to gather 48,000 ballot signatures by the end of next April. They're proposing a measure that would allow patients suffering from a debilitating medical condition to get a medical marijuana card with a physician's approval.

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