jay inslee

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Washington: Governor Vetoes Hemp Legalization Bill

hemp field 2.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several states are presently working on reforming their hemp laws to allow full cultivation, or at least cultivation for research purposes. Hemp products have to be imported into states that have not legalized it, costing millions of dollars. American farmers are eager to be able to grow hemp themselves.

Washington's hemp research legalization bill passed unanimously in the House, and almost unanimously in the Senate (48 to1), but Washington Governor Jay Inslee vetoed the bill yesterday.

Per The Joint Blog: "In a perfect example of how to improperly run a state, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has vetoed 27 bills – over 70% of all legislation passed by the state’s legislature this session – to punish lawmakers for something unrelated; not passing a budget bill.

One of the measures vetoed by Inslee – Senate Bill 6206 – would have legalized the cultivation of hemp for research purposes, including directing Washington State University to study the plant. The measure was passed unanimously in the House of Representatives, and 48 to 1 in the Senate. Although the governor calls it a “worthy bill”, he vetoed it and says he can’t support it until “a budget agreement is reached”."

It is expected that the bill will be re-introduced, giving the Washington Legislature an opportunity to re-pass it.

Washington: Governor Vetoes Industrial Hemp Bill, 26 More In 'Fit of Childish Rage'


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

You have to love state Rep. Cary Condotta of Chelan, Washington. This straight-shooting libertarian-leaning Republican calls it as he sees it, and he's very unhappy with Gov. Jay Inslee.

Inslee, piqued with the Washington Senate for not agreeing to a House budget, vetoed 27 bills in a row, according to Condotta, including an industrial hemp bill.

"Apparently in a childish fit of rage our moron, yes that's what I said moron, governor has vetoed a number of really good bills including our hemp bill which was three years in the making," Condotta posted on Facebook late Thursday night. "I would hope that Democrats and Republicans alike would immediately start a recall campaign for this idiot who has never had any business holding this office to start with."

"I think we have grounds to find him unfit for office," Condotta posted. "He has accomplished absolutely nothing in his four years and now has unaccomplished a lot fo hard work because he's emotionally unstable.

"Enough," Condotta posted. The state deserves a competent governor, Democrat or Republican, that has the talent and maturity to lead."

Condotta went on to call Inslee a "The so called governor," and called his fit of pique the "Most outrageous action imaginable."

The representative, no fan of former Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire, even went so far as to post "She was very classy compared to this guy."

Washington: Legislature OKs Industrial Hemp Cultivation; Bill Heads To Governor's Desk


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington Legislature on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow licensed farmers to produce industrial hemp in the state as part of a research program.

Senate Bill 6206 unanimously passed the Washington House, 97-0, on Tuesday after passing the state Senate last month, reports the Associated Press. It now heads to Governor Jay Inslee's desk.

The measure would allow Washington State University to conduct a research program on the feasibility of industrial hemp production in the state. WSU would report to the Legislature in January 2017.

Industrial hemp can be made into a number of products such as food, fuel, fiber, clothing, cosmetics and medicines.

The Washington Department of Agriculture would supervise the program and license hemp farmers.

Graphic: Marijuana Venture

Washington: Board To Increase Number Of Retail Marijuana Stores


Board to increase the number of retail stores by from 334 to 556 "to ensure access by medical patients"

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Following an analysis of the entire marijuana marketplace in Washington state, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday heard a recommendation from staff to increase the number of retail marijuana stores from the current cap of 334 to a new cap of 556.

The methodology for the cap will be part of emergency rules which will be announced Jan. 6, 2016. The allocation of retail licenses determined by the board will be published on the WSLCB website at lcb.wa.gov.

Earlier this year the Washington Legislature enacted, and Gov. Jay Inslee signed, legislation (SSB 5052) ironically entitled the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (the Act dismantles the system of safe access which has existed for patients in the state for 17 years).

“Our goal was clear; to ensure medical patients have access to the products they need,” claimed WSLCB Director Rick Garza. “There will be more storefronts for patients going forward than are available today. In addition, qualified patients can grow their own or join a four-member cooperative,” Garza said.

Unsurprisingly, Garza didn't mention that the Board's original recommendations were to entirely eliminate home growing entirely. Garza also negelected to mention that the Board reduced the number of plants patients are allowed to grow from 15 to 6 (if on the state patient registry) or just 4 (for patients who opt not to be on the state registry).

Washington: Youth Possession of Marijuana Now A Felony


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Three teens in southeastern Washington state have been charged with felonies for simple marijuana possession, with the prosecutor saying a new law specifies the higher level of offense for those under 21.

The teens, aged 14, 15 and 17, were charged in Asotin County with felonies that could get them up to five years in prison apiece, reports The Lewiston Tribune.

Previous to the passage of Senate Bill 5052 in this year's session of the Washington Legislature, the same offense was just a misdemeanor with a maximum 90-day sentence.

SB 5052 contains the new language specifying youth possession of marijuana a felony offense, according to Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols.

SB 5052 sponsor Ann Rivers (R-La Center), who many activists believe is personally responsible for the de facto elimination of access to medical marijuana in Washington state, claims the tougher penalty was designed to deter minors from trying "an adult drug."

But the specter of kids once again being charged with felonies for pot -- a bad flashback to the 1960s and 1970s, which is once again playing out in small Washington towns, thanks to the state's badly flawed, laughably weak "legalization" -- is so embarrassing that even the Governor's office felt it necessary to distance themselves from the destruction.

Washington: Suquamish Tribe Signs Retail Marijuana Compact With State


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) and the Suquamish Tribe on Tuesday signed what's being called the nation’s first state-tribal marijuana compact. The compact governs the production, processing, purchase and sale of marijuana on the Tribe’s land in Kitsap County.

The retail store will be located on Highway 305 next to Longhouse Texaco in Suquamish, Washington, and is expected to be open by November, the Tribe's communcation office reported, according to the North Kitsap Herald.

The 10-year agreement was made possible by legislation (HB 2000) enacted during the 2015 legislative session, according to the LCB. The signed compact moves next to Gov. Jay Inslee for approval.

“We believe that working closely with the Suquamish Tribe we can ensure a well-regulated marijuana market that protects the health and safety of Washington State citizens,” said Board Chair Jane Rushford. “This agreement is an excellent model for future compacts.”

The State recognizes the Suquamish Tribe as a sovereign nation and negotiated the agreement in lieu of licensure by the Board. Per the enacting legislation, a tribal tax equivalent to the state excise tax will be applied to sales to non-tribal customers on Suquamish tribal lands.

Washington: Open Container Law Passed For Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Don't keep those roaches in the ashtray! Drivers in Washington state, where recreational marijuana is legal, after September 26 will be required to keep all cannabis in the trunk of a vehicle, in an unopened container, or behind the rearmost row of seats.

House Bill 1276 will update Washington's open container law to include marijuana, reports Taylor Wofford at Newsweek.

The law also restores the ability of the state to automatically suspend a driver's license if a blood test shows the driver's blood THC level to be five nanograms per milliliter (5 ng/ml) or higher.

The Associated Press erroneously reported that licenses would be suspended if the blood test showed the driver to be under the influence of marijuana, but the test shows no such thing -- it merely shows the presence of cannabis metabolites in the blood, and according to most experts, there's not much of a correlation between 5 ng/ml and impairment in most marijuana users.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission pushed for the change to make the state's rules restricting marijuana more closely resemble those for alcohol -- never mind that the two substances have wildly different effects. State law already prohibited unsealed or partially consumed containers of alcohol in the passenger cabin of a vehicle.

Washington: Governor Signs Bill Reducing Marijuana Taxes, Loosens Pot Zoning


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill simplifying the tax scheme for marijuana was signed into law by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday. HB 2136, which the Legislature approved last week, also significantly loosens the rules on buffer zones that have kept recreational I-502 marijuana shops away from many dense commercial areas.

As originally approved by voters, I-502 taxed recreational marijuana at three tiers: producers (growers), processors (curing), and retail. Under the new scheme, the three-level tax system has been collapsed into one 37 percent point-of sale tax, reports Bryan Cohen at Capitol Hill Seattle. According to Ian Eisenberg, proprietor of Capitol Hill recreational marijuana shop Uncle Ike's, his customers won't see much of a change in pricing due at 37 percent tax.

I-502 originally stated recreational marijuana stores can't be located within 1,000 feet of parks, schools, and other public gathering places. Localities could soon have the power to bring that buffer down to 100 feet under HB 2136

The 1,000-foot buffer greatly restricted permitted locations for marijuana retail; it was written as an attempt to placate federal officials, who have released guidelines under which the Obama Administration won't go after state-legal pot shops, including just such a buffer zone. There are specific penalties for selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of schools under federal sentencing guidelines.

Washington: Gov. Inslee Signs Bill Eliminating Medical Marijuana Dispensaries


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Friday signed into law regulations which essentially eliminate medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, along with the medicinal cannabis system as it's been known there since voters approved it back in 1998.

Purportedly an "overhaul" measure to subject medicinal cannabis to the licensing, testing, inspection, and tax requirements of the recreational side, the bill's actual intent and effect is to get rid of the pesky medical marijuana community, which has consistently outperformed the recreational I-502 cannabis outlets with better product and lower prices.

Patients who have for years enjoyed the ability to visit medical marijuana dispensaries where the employees themselves were also facing medical challenges, and had bothered to inform themselves about medicinal applications of cannabis, will now be forced into the recreational market, where the focus isn't on medicine and in fact where I-502 store employees are forbidden by law from even mentioning the medical applications of marijuana.

Plant counts for patients, in one fell swoop, are being reduced from 15 to 6. Dried marijuana limits are similarly being slashed from 24 ounces to 3 ounces per patient. Ironically, the 15 plants/24 ounces limits were themselves compromises reached a few years ago when the best scientific studies available showed more appropriate limits would be 71 ounces and 99 plants.

Washington: Legislature OKs Gutting Medical Marijuana Program Under Legalization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington Legislature on Tuesday approved a bill essentially gutting the state's medical marijuana program, sending to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee a bill that eliminates medicinal cannabis dispensaries now that the state's recreational market is nominally in place.

The Senate concurred with changes made to the bill in the House last week, then voted 41-8 to send it on to the Governor for his expected signature, reports Beth Nakamura at The Oregonian.

Republican Senator Ann Rivers of La Center claimed the state could "no longer wait" to "reconcile" the medical and recreational markets, effectively forcing patients to pay the much higher prices in recreational pot stores, where employees are forbidden to even mention the medicinal applications of cannabis.

"The reality is that we have a thriving illicit market," Rivers said, ignoring the fact that medical marijuana collectives have been legal in the state since 1998. "It's essential that we shut that down.

"But it was also essential that our patients had a clean supply and an adequate supply," Rivers said, in a statement that is dripping with irony given the fact that her bill does neither.

Washington: Cannabis Activist Group Going After Governor On Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Seattle-based medical marijuana patient advocacy group, the Cannabis Action Coalition, has filed a recall petition against Governor Jay Inslee with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office.

The petition alleges corruption related to the Washington State Liquor Control Board's implementation of cannabis legalization Initiative 502.

"It's pretty clear that no matter which party prevails, the losing party will file an expedited appeal with the Washington State Supreme Court, said activist Steve Sarich, who heads up the CAC. "The best information we have is that this could happen within 10 days of the Superior Court decision."

Sarich was a guest on Tuesday's "Mike Bastinelli Show." Sarich talked about the flaws in I-502 that will affect medical marijuana patients in Washington, and the group's allegations against Gov. Inslee.

Sarich ran the No On I-502 campaign. He opposed the measure because of its per se DUI level of 5 nanograms of THC of milliliter of blood (5 ng/mg), which is not a true level of impairment; because it didn't remove any of the laws that made marijuana illegal in the first place (in fact, it added several new ways you can be arrested for cannabis); and because it will result in the over-taxation of medical marijuana, because of claims that the MMJ community is cutting into the revenue stream of proposed recreational marijuana outlets.

Washington: Liquor Control Board Adopts Rules For Marijuana Legalization Under I-502


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor Control Board this week will file the CR103 for Initiative 502, the marijuana legalization measure approved by state voters last November. Filing the CR103 is the formal procedure for adoption of the proposed rules to implement I-502, and is the final step in the rule-making process.

After first announcing that the CR103 would be filed on Wednesday, the WSLCB a few hours later sent out another announcement saying that it will be filed "later this week."

"Due to the need to incorporate the large number of public comments into the concise explanatory statement that must be sent to stakeholders prior to filing the CR103, the Board will file the CR103 later this week," the second announcement reads. "The WSLCB will still begin accepting applications on November 18."

The rules become effective 30 days after adoption, which is where the November 18 date originates.

"Over these last several months we have put together a comprehensive system of rules which will serve as the foundation for this new industry," said Board Chair Sharon Foster. "This has been a very open process of rule-making with public involvement each step of the way.

"We appreciate all of the support and involvement we've had from Gov. [Jay] Inslee, local officials, law enforcement, industry members and Washington citizens along the way," she ssaid.

The Board claims the adopted rules achieve its stated goal of implementing a "tightly regulated and controlled" recreational marijuana market.

Colorado, Washington Governors Ask Feds To Allow Marijuana Banking


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The governors of Colorado and Washington on Wednesday asked the federal government to change bank regulations to allow marijuana businesses to do banking, and to allow the states to continue implementing voter-approved cannabis legalization.

In a letter to federal banking regulators, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called access to the banking system "a necessary component in ensuring a highly regulated marijuana system that will accurately track funds, prevent criminal involvement, and promote public safety," reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.

"Our states will soon be licensing hundreds of retail stores, each of which will, without a normal banking relationship, be forced to conduct business on an all-cash basis," the governors' letter states. "This creates an unnecessary inviting target for criminal activity."

Banks have been reluctant to cater to marijuana-related businesses, fearing they'd fall afoul of federal money laundering and conspiracy laws. But last month, a Department of Justice memo lessened the threat of criminal prosecution against state-legal marijuana businesses that follow the rules. Inslee and Hickenlooper wrote in their letter than the Justice Department showed "bold leadership" with that memo.

Marijuana is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, the most restrictive classification possible.

Washington: Medical Marijuana Advocates 'Justifiably Scared' By I-502 Rules


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The federal government has said it won't sue to challenge the marijuana legalization laws approved by voters in Washington and Colorado. But ironically, many medicinal cannabis patients in Washington state say they still have plenty to fear -- from the rules for recreational marijuana legalization as I-502 is implemented.

Washington patients are "justifiably scared" by threats that the state (and possibly federal agents as well) will go after medical marijuana growing and selling which falls outside of the system created by I-502, according to activist Steve Sarich, executive director of the Cannabis Action Coalition, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle P.I..

Could safe access to medicinal strains be going away? State-licensed recreational marijuana producers and retailers won't have much incentive to grow or sell specialty medical strains, many of which, by definition, have a very limited customer base.

Sarich, who campaigned against I-502, thinks the new law will result in more patients being charged with DUI under the new strict standards (5 ng/ml of active THC in the blood, which science has shown is not correlated to impairment among experienced users) imposed under the measure. He believes the entire medical marijuana community is "under siege."

Washington: Marijuana May Be Legal, But You Still Can't Smoke It In Bars

(Photo: Daniel Berman)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington state voters approved the legalization of marijuana at the ballot box last November, but they still won't be allowed to use it in bars like alcohol.

The state plans to crack down on bars that have been getting around a ban on consuming cannabis in public by converting part of their space into private clubs, reports Eric M. Johnson of Reuters.

Washington is considering how to regulate marijuana under the new "legal" paradigm, and evidently it's still just not quite as "legal" as alcohol.

Along with Colorado, Washington became one of the first two U.S. states to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. The Washington law will eventually allow cannabis to be sold at taxed at state-licensed stores, but the state Liquor Control Board -- charged with overseeing the recreational pot market -- said on Wednesday that it will clamp down on bars where people are allowed to consume pot.

"These licensed locations are allowing patrons to either smoke, vaporize or otherwise ingest marijuana on the premises," the board said in a stiffly worded statement.

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