king county

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Washington: King County Bans Pot Businesses

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Metro King County Council imposed an emergency, 4-month moratorium on legal marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas. No public notice was given in advance of the action, but a hearing must be held within 60 days.

Council members said Monday in an 8-1 vote that the moratorium on growers and processors was spurred by a community meeting earlier this month in Ravensdale at which roughly 100 people registered opposition to pot businesses.

The council decided to extend the moratorium to retailers as well after hearing that shops were clustering in parts of Skyway and White Center.

Councilmember Reagan Dunn, a representative for rural areas, sponsored the emergency proposal. He said the lack of public input was necessary. Had the council not moved in stealthy fashion, Dunn said, pot entrepreneurs would have flooded the county with applications in advance of a moratorium.

The emergency moratorium took effect Monday, after the council’s vote. It prohibits King County from accepting or issuing any permits for pot businesses. The county must hold a public hearing within 60 days to allow feedback.

Dunn and several other council members said they did not support a lasting ban on legal business, but Dunn likened the lack of restrictions on growers and processors in the county’s rural residential areas to the “wild West.”

Washington: King County Sheriff Says Canada Should Use State's Legalization Lessons


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If Canadian Prime Minister designate Justin Trudeau intends to follow through on his promise to legalize marijuana, he might want to start by learning from Washington state, where recreational marijuana stores have been operating for more than a year, according to the sheriff of Washington's most populous county.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart said the biggest lesson learned in Washington is that once marijuana becomes legal, cities shouldn't have the power to use zoning bylaws to completely ban pot stores, reports CBC News.

"There are several cities in the state and in King County that have outlawed marijuana stores, and that's a big problem as far as I'm concerned," Urquhart said. "One of the premises of legalized marijuana is to get the gray market and criminals out of it.

"If someone has to drive 30 miles to buy their joint, they're not likely to do that," Urquhart said. "They're going to buy it from their old dealer who's not licensed, who's not paying taxes."

Urquart, a former narcotic investigator, says he supports legalization because "the war on drugs just wasn't working." And, so far, he said, none of the negative scenarios of increased crime and addiction have come true.

Washington: Rowdy News Conference Announces Closure Of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and Sheriff John Urquhart must have envisioned quite a different news conference than the one which actually happened Wednesday morning, when they announced the closure of medical marijuana dispensaries operating in King County.

The medicinal cannabis dispensaries, which in some cases after years of smooth operation have now been suddenly defined as "unlicensed" in a money grab by I-502 recreational marijuana store operator, represent the only safe and affordable access to cannabinoid medicines for many limited mobility and low income patients in King County.

The dispensaries have to shut down in 30 days, if they don't have a license -- oh, and did we mention that there aren't any licenses available?

Satterberg and Urquhart -- who maybe expected to be hailed as heroes at their news conference -- were joined by Russ Hauge of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), at the Sheriff's Office White Center Storefront. But that's not what happened, reports Gwen Davis at the West Seattle Herald.

They were greeted by a vocally hostile crowd of about 30, with hecklers screaming at the prosecuting attorney and the sheriff as they were trying to give their prepared speeches, which were rendered mostly inaudible.

"You are horrible people!" one woman yelled at Satterberg.

Washington: Seattle's New Approach To Drug Offenses Produces Nearly 60% Reduction In Recidivism


LEAD Establishes Unique Collaboration Among Law Enforcement, Human Service Agencies, Business Leaders, and Community Members

Interest in LEAD Grows Among Major Cities Across the Nation, Including New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, and Albany

According to a new, independent study by a University of Washington evaluation team, one of the nation’s most innovative and promising approaches to ending the War On Drugs and mass incarceration has been shown to produce a dramatic drop in recidivism.

In 2011, Seattle launched "Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion" (LEAD), a bold new harm reduction-oriented approach to address low-level drug and prostitution crimes and break the cycle of addiction, joblessness and homelessness. Under LEAD, police officers exercise discretion to divert individuals for certain criminal offenses (including low-level drug sales) to a case manager and a comprehensive network of services, instead of booking them to jail and initiating the standard criminal justice process.

LEAD established a unique collaboration between multiple stakeholders who all work together to find new ways to solve old problems. Stakeholders include police, district attorneys, mental health and drug treatment providers, housing providers and other service agencies, the business community, public defenders, elected officials, and community leaders.

Washington Sheriff Endorses Oregon Marijuana Regulation Measure


Second sheriff endorses Measure 91: “The evidence keeps coming in: Our new approach is working”

The Sheriff of King County, Washington, which includes the greater Seattle area, has taken the unprecedented step of endorsing a marijuana regulation measure on the ballot in the state next door.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart supported I-502, Washington state’s successful 2012 initiative to regulate marijuana, and he said he supports Oregon’s Measure 91 because, he said, Washington state’s regulated approach to marijuana is working.

“Month by month, tax dollars are going to schools and police, not the drug cartels,” Urquhart says in a new ad from Oregon’s Yes on 91 campaign (you can view the ad at the bottom of this article). “Wasteful arrests are way down. DUIs are down. Drug prevention programs are getting funds. Strict regulations are working.”

Washington: Marijuana Businessman Sues Liquor Control Board Over Denied License


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Washington marijuana businessman is suing the state's Liquor Control Board, saying the agency rejected his application to retail cannabis over a minor technicality. The suit alleges that the board put him and his partners at risk of substantial financial loss.

The suit, filed by Pete O'Neil in King County Superior Court, seeks to overturn the Liquor Control Board's decision to deny a license for C&C Cannabis to sell marijuana in Lynnwood, Washington, reports Valerie Bauman at Puget Sound Business Journal. The application was rejected for only having an electronic signature, instead of both a written signature and an electronic one, according to O'Neil, who manages C&C.

Officials at the Washington State Liquor Control Board refused to comment on ongoing litigation.

The board could be subjected to dozens or even hundreds of similar lawsuits as it makes its way through the first year of implementation of I-502, a limited legalization measure approved by 54 percent of Washington voters in 2012. The first cannabis stores opened on July 8, and more are gradually opening for business as the supply from growers increases; 334 retail licenses were awarded statewide.

More lawsuits by disappointed entrepreneurs like the one filed by O'Neil are expected. Many business people feel wronged by what they say is a system which set them up for failure.

Washington: Seattle's Lone Marijuana Store Plans To Reopen July 25


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Seattle's only state-licensed marijuana store -- closed after quickly running out of pot last week, in its first few days of business -- plans to reopen again late next week.

"We will be open on the 25th with enough product to remain open, with continuous supplies from then on," claimed Cannabis City manager Amber McGowan, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle PI.

Cannabis City was the first marijuana shop in Seattle to open, on July 8, and made it just three days before running out of weed. McGowan said the store is waiting until the 25th to reopen so that they can actually stay open for business instead of closing and reopening every few days.

By the 25th, McGowan said, "we expect to have two consistent large volume suppliers on board, with a third a few days later; with that, then, we hope to be able to conduct a more normal type business operation with no future closures ... that's the plan, at least."

The shop will only have ready-to-smoke marijuana flowers for sale this month; McGowan said they plan to have cannabis oil and vape pens in August.

Two other marijuana stores are almost ready to open in Seattle, according to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which was put in charge of implementing limited legalization measure I-502 in the state.

Photo of Cannabis City owner James Lathrop at his shop in Seattle: Elaine Thompson/AP

Washington: Allegations Surface of Rigging In Marijuana License Lottery; Lawsuits Possible


By Steve Elliott
Seattle Weekly

The winners have been announced in Washington state's lottery for marijuana retail licenses, and those whose names weren't drawn are predictably unhappy. Beyond being dissatisfied with the results, there are also rumblings from some quarters about the lottery process being rigged.

Entrepreneur Shy Sadis -- who applied for licenses to open marijuana stores in Bellingham, Tacoma and Snohomish County -- wasn't chosen to receive any licenses, and he told the Seattle Weekly's Nina Shapiro that he's going to talk to his lawyers about suing the Washington State Liquor Control Board over "gaming the system" to favor certain winners.

The state will only allow a limited number of licenses for marijuana stores in each jurisdiction around the state, as it implements cannabis legalization measure I-502. Seattle, for instance, is allocated 21 stores (it currently has close to 200 medical marijuana dispensaries, which is why the LCB is gunning to shut those shops down next year). The state also limited to three the number of licenses each business can hold.

Sadis said he had considered the "straw application" approach, in which people he knows would act as straw applicants who would apply for licenses on his behalf under their own names, increasing his odds of getting picked.

Washington: Liquor Control Board Announces 334 Marijuana Stores Will Open In State


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Up to 334 retail marijuana stores will be allowed in Washington state, the Liquor Control Board announced on Wednesday, and each county in the state will have its own cap on stores.

King County will be allowed 61 stores (21 of them in Seattle); Pierce County can have up to 31; Snohomish will be capped at 35 (five of them in Everett); Thurston County will have 11 (two each in Olympia and Lacey); Whatcom County will have 15 (six in Bellingham); Kitsap County will be allowed 10; and Clallam County will have six, report Austin Jenkins and Martha Kang at KPLU. Mason County will be allowed five stores, and Jefferson County will get four, reports The Kitsap Sun.

The entire state can produce, at most, 40 metric tons, or two million square feet, or marijuana per year, according to the WSLCB in its revised proposed rules for recreational cannabis. That amount is supposedly based on state research about the amount of cannabis consumed in Washington state prior to legalization, reports SF Gate.

Washington: DEA Serves Search Warrants On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal agents on Wednesday raided several medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington, just eight months after voters in the state approved the legalization of cannabis.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's Seattle office confirmed that "several search warrants were executed today involving marijuana storefronts" in the Puget Sound area, reports M. Alex Johnson at NBC News.

The number of raids remained unclear on Thursday afternoon; Seattle marijuana attorney Douglas Hiatt said he personally knew of four raids.

"What we heard from a DEA agent that talked to one of my clients that was at the scene was that there were 18 targets or 18 places that they were going to hit," Hiatt said, reports Drew Mikkelsen at KING 5.

Despite that estimate, the names of only four raided collectives -- Seattle Cross, Tacoma Cross, Key Peninsula Cross, and Bayside Collective -- have been circulated. All four storefronts were among about 20 dispensaries raided by the DEA in November 2011, reports KOMO.

Washington: Shooting At Growhouse Leaves 1 Dead, 1 Critical

Washington: Shooting At Growhouse Leaves 1 Dead, 1 CriticalBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One person is dead and another is critically wounded after a shooting at a marijuana grow house in SeaTac, Washington, early Monday morning.

A woman called 911 just before 3 a.m. to report the shooting, according to King County Sheriff's Sgt. Cindi West, reports Kelly Koopmans at KOMO.

Deputies discovered one person dead inside the home in the 3000 block of South 146th Street in SeaTac. Another person who had been shot was taken in critical condition to Harborview Medical Center.

There were two attackers, and both escaped, according to Sgt. West. No description was immediately available.

About 50 cannabis plants were inside the House, according to West. Officers are trying to determine if the shooting happened during a robbery attempt.

The name of the person who was killed had not been released as 9 a.m. on Monday.

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