liquor control board

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Washington: Marijuana Edibles Warehouse Opening Soon In Seattle


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's been almost two years since Washington's voters legalized marijuana, albeit in a limited way, through approving I-502, and next week a Seattle-based company will begin selling cannabis infused edibles to licensed retailers.

Db3 Inc. passed the Washington State Liquor Control Board's Infused Edible Operation Inspection, reports Alex Rozier at KING 5 News, and became the first company licensed to provide infused edibles in the state. The company's warehouse is located on the 2400 block of Airport Way South in SODO.

The cannabis-infused products will be marketed under the brand name Zoots; Db3 has a two-tier license that allows them to both grow and process marijuana, manufacturing the edibles.

The company says it will offer seven different products, with more added as time goes by. Some of the initial offerings will be single shots, drink additives, chews, bites and melts.

The single shot energy drinks will contain 5, 10, and 30 milligrams of THC (one wonders why a more substantial dose isn't included, but perhaps they hope to sell several of the 30-mg size to those who have a higher tolerance). The bites will be infused with 5 or 10 milligrams of THC.

For more information on Db3, visit

Washington: First Recreational Marijuana Edibles Sold Legally


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The very first edible recreational marijuana products are now being sold legally in Washington state, a month after cannabis itself went on sale in state-licensed stores.

Due to strict regulations from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, no kitchens had been approved for producing marijuana edibles last month when cannabis sales began on July 8.

Al Olson, the marijuana editor at, bought the first approved edibles in Bellingham, Washington, at a store called Top Shelf Cannabis, reports Katy Steinmetz at Time. Olson bought about $200 on Green Chief "Crazy Carnival Nuts," "420 Party Mix," and "Twisted Trail Mix," as well as on a vaporizer pen and vape pen battery.

The marijuana-infused nut clusters, trail mix and party mix cost around $25 per bag.

Top Shelf opened at 10 p.m. on Wednesday in order to be the first store to sell the products, owner John Evich said, reports Trevor Hughes at USA Today. "It's something interesting and fun," Evich said. "Going down a list of menu items -- I think it's something new for people."

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: State Faces Serious Marijuana Shortage As Shops Prepare To Open


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's been almost a year and a half since Washington state voters approved Initiative 502, the limited marijuana legalization measure, in 2012. But there still isn't a single state-licensed cannabis store open in the state -- and once the shops finally open, presumably next week, Washington could then face a marijuana shortage.

What's wrong with this picture? How did Colorado get so much more right in implementing legalization than did the weed-friendly Evergreen State? Well, Colorado -- unlike Washington -- built its recreational marijuana infrastructure on the already existing medical marijuana system, rather than foolishly opting, as did Washington, to build an entirely new system from the ground up.

Wait a minute, you may be saying. That's just crazy. They had, in place, a system of retailing marijuana -- and proprietors experienced in doing so -- but they are completely eliminating that system and turning the business over to a new set of retailers? Yes, you're getting the idea -- and that has resulted in a bureaucratic nightmare, reports Jordan Larson at Vice.

Producers, processors and retailers have had trouble getting the necessary licenses and space to retail, warehouse, and grow cannabis.

Washington: Retail Marijuana Stores Expected To Open On July 8


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The first group of about 20 retail marijuana stores will open in Washington state on July 8, if all goes according to plan. Of course, we were also told that the first stores would already be open by now, so a wait-and-see attitude might be best.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board plans to issue the first retail marijuana licenses on Monday, July 7, and the new licensees will use the first 24 hours to get the cannabis into their store tracing program, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle P.I. Once that's done, the stores can open on July 8, according to Brian Smith, communications director for the LCB.

Pricing at the stores, opening as part of the implementation of limited legalization measure I-502, isn't expected to be very consumer-friendly. "I would assume $20 to $25 a gram until the producers reduce their prices," said Michael Perkins, who said he expects to open a store in Seattle on July 8.

Perkins said that even at those prices, "I expect to run out of product."

Washington: Some Marijuana Entrepreneurs Who Didn't Win License Plan Lawsuits


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Some entrepreneurs who spent months and thousands of dollars on their dream of opening a retail cannabis shop are very disappointed that they didn't get a license in Washington state's marijuana lottery. Some of them are so disappointed, in fact, that they plan to sue.

Ryan Kunkel and Joel Berman, owners of the Have A Heart chain of medical cannabis dispensaries, with seven locations in the Puget Sound area, applied for recreational marijuana retail licenses in Seattle, Ocean Shores and Snohomish County, reports Valerie Bauman at Puget Sound Business Journal. The men said they have invested more than $250,000 already in their effort to open recreational marijuana stores.

Kunkel and Berman plan to file a lawsuit against the Liquor Control Board this week; they are unhappy with the method the LCB used for its license lottery. They argue the Board allowed people to game the system by applying multiple times for the same location, effectively giving themselves more chances to win a license.

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: Suquamish Tribe Approaches State About Marijuana Sales


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Suquamish Tribe of Washington state is exploring the idea of selling marijuana on their reservation at Port Madison.

The native American tribe proposed a deal with the Washington State Liquor Control Board earlier this year that would allow cannabis sales by the tribe and tribally-approved businesses, reports Tad Sooter at the Kitsap Sun.

The liquor board hasn't taken any formal action on the tribe's proposal, according to spokesman Brian Smith. Because the reservation is under federal rather than state jurisdiction, and marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the WSLCB will defer to the federal government on cannabis policies affecting the tribe, Smith said.

"I would not expect us to issue any licenses without some defining statement from the Department of Justice," Smith said on Wednesday.

Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman said the tribe hopes to discuss with the Liquor Control Board how they can become involved in legal marijuana sales. The tribe has a "responsibility to explore business opportunities that may help raise funds for its people and government," Forsman said in a statement released to the media.

"[T]he production and sale of marijuana on our tribal lands is simply something we are exploring and thought it vital to approach the Liquor Control Board as part of that process," Forsman said. The chairman noted that cannabis remains prohibited on the reservation under tribal law.

Washington: Liquor Control Board Announces Lottery Process For Marijuana Store Licenses


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington State University and private sector audit firm to produce ordered lists of applicants

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday approved staff’s recommendation for a lottery that will select the "apparent successful applicants" for marijuana retail licenses.

The independent, double-blind process will happen April 21-25, according to the WSLCB, and will produce a list of applicants that the agency will use to continue its retail licensing process. The agency said it expects to begin issuing retail licenses no later than the first week of July.

Initiative 502 directed the WSLCB to limit the number of marijuana retail stores by county. In its rules, the WSLCB limited the number of stores statewide to 334.

The most populated cities within each county are allotted a maximum number of stores, with the remainder at large within the county. The rules further state that if the WSLCB receives more applications for a jurisdiction than there are stores allocated, the state would use a lottery process for producing a ranked order of applicants.

Well, surprise, surprise: There are hella more prospective marijuana store applicants than there are licenses available. And many of the unsuccessful applicants are going to be quite upset, some of them after spending tens of thousands of dollars getting ready to go into the marijuana business. Expect a spate of bitter lawsuits on the horizon.

Washington: Native Americans Fight Marijuana Legalization On Tribal Land


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Yakama Nation tribe of Native Americans is fighting the implementation of Washington state marijuana legalization law I-502 on ancestral land.

If the tribe has its way a large chunk of Washington will reject the new state law, reports

The 10,000-member tribe has already said cannabis will remain illegal on about 1.2 million acres of reservation in central Washington, but the tribe is now considering "a bold move that could test the limits of tribal sovereignty" by trying to keep marijuana illegal on another 10.8 million acres of tribal land, Jonathan Kaminsky of Reuters reports.

The tribe ceded the latter lands under an 1855 treaty with the U.S. government, but retained hunting, food-gathering and fishing rights there.

"Marijuana is the biggest problem for our people up to age 40," claimed an amazingly clueless George Colby, who unfortunately seems to have talked the Yakama Nation into allowing him to (badly) represent them as an attorney. "It's a bigger problem than alcohol," he claimed, absolutely proving himself to be a bullshitting blowhard.

At least six local governments in the state are also trying to keep out marijuana businesses, even under legalization. Two of those lie on the Yakama's ceded lands, so they'll have allies in the tribe in their quixotic anti-pot fight.

Washington: Liquor Board Issues First Recreational Marijuana Licenses


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor Control Board on Wednesday issued the state's first licenses to produce and process recreational marijuana during a Board meeting at its headquarters in Olympia.

The licenses were issued to Sean Green of Spokane, who will be doing business as Kouchlock Productions.

"This is a historic day," said Board Chair Sharon Foster. "The hard work and preparation this agency has done has laid the foundation to make this pioneering endeavor a success."

Kouchlock Productions is licensed to produce and process -- but not sell -- recreational marijuana. It holds a restricted tier-three license to produce marijuana initially up to a maximum of 21,000 square feet.

The company is one of more than 2,800 producer license applications that the WSLCB is currently processing. Licenses will be continuously issued as they are ready.

The WSLCB will update weekly its list of pending and active marijuana licenses on the Frequently Requested Lists page of the public records section of its website.

Washington: Liquor Control Board Limits Marijuana Licenses To One Per Applicant


Board to limit individual production, will begin issuing producer and processor licenses soon

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (Board) on Wednesday approved staff’s recommendations to limit the number of individual marijuana producer licenses to one (from the previous limit of three) and initially limit production at 70 percent, clearing a path for the agency to begin issuing producer and processor licenses.

“Today’s Board action clears an obstacle and allows the agency to begin issuing marijuana producer and processor license in the coming weeks,” said Board Chair Sharon Foster. “We believe this is the most fair and equitable way to get the market up and running.”

Single Production License Limited to 70 Percent

In its enforcement guidelines issued August 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice required states to ensure a tightly regulated and controlled market to prevent diversion of product to other states, sales to minors and other concerns.

The Board used available consumption data supplied by its consultant, BOTEC Analysis Corporation, to craft production limits in its rules to meet initial consumer demand without over-supplying. The rules are based on BOTEC’s input that the state can capture just "13 to 25 percent of the overall market in the first year of recreational sales."

"Additional production is likely necessary for the state to capture an increasing percentage as the market refines and matures," the Board drily noted. "Agency rules allow for flexibility to meet an evolving controlled market."

Washington: House Approves Bill To Gut Medical Marijuana Law


"Right now, you're taking everything away from them" ~ Rep. Cary Condotta

By Steve Elliott

Each time lawmakers scheduled and considered House Bill 2149 during the daytime, medical marijuana patients crowded the hearing rooms, protesting the changes they said would destroy safe access in the state. So the Washington state House waited until just before midnight Monday night to approve a measure gutting the state's medical cannabis law, claiming the move is necessary to "bring it into line" with the still-unimplemented legal recreational marijuana market created by Initiative 502.

HB 2149 passed shortly before midnight Monday on a 67-29 vote, reports Rachel La Corte at It now goes to the Washington Senate, which is already considering similar measures on how to "reconcile" the two marijuana systems, medical and recreational, which, ironically, voters were told would remain separate.

Changes under the bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Eileen Cody, include reducing the amount of marijuana patients can possess from 24 ounces to just 3 ounces; reducing the amount of plants patients can grow from 15 to just six plants, three of which may be flowering; entirely doing away with collective gardens, effectively eliminating dispensary access; and establishing a patient registry.

Washington: Attorney General Says Cities, Counties Can Block Legal Marijuana Stores


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington state's anemic marijuana legalization law is looking weaker by the minute. Now it appears much of the state won't even have local access to cannabis -- Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced cities and counties can block licensed, legal marijuana businesses from operating.

Just how much of the state will have actual marijuana stores remains an open question after Atty. Gen. Ferguson issued the long-awaited opinion on Thursday.

Ferguson said Initiative 502, the limited legalization measure approved by state voters in 2012, allows local governments to ban retail marijuana shops, grow operations, and processing facilities from their jurisdictions, reports Gene Johnson of the Associated Press.

The opinion was requested by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which was put in charge of implementing marijuana legalization by I-502. The LCB is concerned that such local bans could severely restrict access to legal marijuana, making it difficult to move people from the black market.

Several localities, including unincorporated Pierce County, Lakewood and Wenatchee, already have enacted bans on cannabis businesses. These jurisdictions have local ordinances requiring businesses to "follow state, federal, and local law," and of course marijuana remains an illegal, Schedule I controlled substance under U.S. federal law.

Washington: Cannabis Consumers, Businesses Invited To Take I-502 Medical Patient Impact Survey


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It is clear, according to Seattle-based patient advocacy group Cannabis Action Coalition, that the Washington State Legislature will attempt to eliminate or significantly change the state's medical cannabis laws during the 2014 session.

The CAC, a nonprofit organization, is conducting a survey to identify the impacts the adopted rules and recommendations implementing Initiative 502 will have on medical cannabis patients and small businesses in Washington.

The information from this survey will be used by the group to create a report to educate the Legislature, Liquor Control Board, and members of the public on the potential effects the I-502 rules and recommendations will have on medical cannabis patients, dispensaries, medical clinics, and small businesses.

Patients and cannabis consumers are invited to complete the survey by Monday, January 13, and send it on to others as well. All responses will remain confidential and will not be identified by individual participant.

Here is a link to the I-502 Medical Patient and Small Business Impact Survey:

(Graphic: The Weed Blog

Washington: More Than 3,700 Marijuana Business Applications Filed In State


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Upwards of 3,700 marijuana business license applications have now been filed in Washington state, including 867 proposed retail stores which will sell cannabis to adults, the Liquor Control Board announced on Tuesday.

According to the WSLCB, it has received 3,746 applications to grow, process or sell marijuana under I-502, the recreational cannabis legalization law approved by Washington voters last year, reports The Associated Press. The one-time window for applications closed last week, but there's still a backlog of unprocessed submissions, according to LCB spokesman Mikhail Carpenter.

Carpenter wouldn't analyze the applications, claiming it's too early to know how many of them are viable. "It's really hard to tell how many of these are legitimate," he said.

He claimed that it appeared some applicants hadn't actually identified a location for their business.

State employees have already started the process of reviewing the mountain of applications. Washington hopes to start issuing marijuana licenses by the end of February.

Marijuana license applicants must undergo background checks, be state residents, and have their business areas inspected by state officials.

Along with the 1,670 cannabis cultivator applications and 1,209 processor applications were also applications for 867 retail marijuana stores. Washington plans to limit the number of pot stores to 334, so many areas are expected to face a lottery for retail licenses.

Washington: Liquor Control Board Bans 'Legal' Marijuana From Bars


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana's supposed to be legal now in Washington state, but apparently it's not as legal as alcohol. The Washington State Liquor Control Board on Wednesday adopted a rule change making it illegal for any business with a liquor license to allow on-premises cannabis consumption of any kind.

The rule change goes into effect 30 days from unanimously board vote, according Liquor Control Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter, reports Jeremy Pawloski at The Olympian. That would mean that marijuana smokers who light up in Frankie's Sports Pub in Olympia will be breaking the law after January 17.

Frankie's, for a year now, has allowed bar patrons to smoke weed in an upstairs private room. Owner Frank Schnarr says that members can legally smoke there after Washington state voters approved I-502, making it legal for adults 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana.

Washington bars -- that is, except for Frankie's -- ban smoking of any kind, but Schnarr won a legal battle to allow his patrons to smoke tobacco in an upstairs room, if they pay $10 annual dues to become "Friends of Frankie's."

Business is booming at the bar since he started allowing marijuana smoking, Schnarr said. There are now about 13,500 "Friends of Frankie's," he said.

Schnarr said he planned to ignore the Liquor Control Board rule change. Carpenter said the LCB will enforce the rule.

Washington: Study Says State Marijuana Users Smoked 6 Million Ounces In 2013


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington state marijuana users smoked more than 6 million ounces of pot this year, according to an official government study.

The RAND Corp. study, aimed at figuring out how much cannabis is smoked by heavy users on a typical day, was released on Wednesday. A team of researchers calculated that the Evergreen State's roughly 750,000 marijuana users will have consumed between 135 and 225 metric tons of weed in 2013, reports Gene Johnson at the Associated Press.

The team came up with the median figure of 175 metric tons, which is 6 million ounces, enough for about 340 million half-gram joints, or 170 million the way I roll 'em.

According to the RAND study, "Before the Grand Opening," half the weed in the state is consumed in just its three most populous counties: King County (which includes Seattle) uses about 30 percent of Washington's marijuana, while Pierce to the north and Snohomish to the south smoke about 11 percent each.

Washington: Board Reverses Itself; Recommends Medical Marijuana Patients Can Grow At Home


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a major victory for the medical marijuana community, the Washington State Liquor Control Board, under heavy patient pressure, on Wednesday reversed itself, signaling they will recommend to lawmakers that medical marijuana patients continue to be allowed to grow cannabis in their homes.

The LCB's previous recommendation that home growing be outlawed, in order to force patients to conform to recreational legalization measure I-502, had produced outrage in Washington's medical marijuana community. I-502 is the recreational cannabis legalization measure approved last year by state voters.

Board members now say they recommend that patients, or their designated providers, be allowed to grow up to six plants, three flowering and three nonflowering, reports Bob Young at The Seattle Times. Currently, patients are allowed to grow up to 15 plants at any stage of growth. Unexplained was why the 15-plant limit -- reached by the Legislature after extensive discussion -- was abandoned.

"We're all in agreement on home grows," said chair Sharon Foster of the three-member board. Members on Wednesday worked on changes they'd like to make to their recommendations, but didn't take formal action.

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