liquor control board

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Washington: State Gets More Applications For Growing Marijuana Than For Selling It


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Based on the first week's worth of applications, Washington state has more than enough people interested in getting licenses to grow marijuana. But so far there are applications for fewer than half the number of cannabis stores allowed by state regulations.

The application period for those who want to grow, process or sell marijuana in Washington state under the implementation of legalization measure Initiative 502 began on November 18, reports Jim Camden at the Spokane Spokesman-Review. Applications are filed with the state Department of Revenue, which processes the requests before sending them on to the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

The LCB is in charge of implementing and regulating recreational marijuana sales. On Tuesday, it released the names and locations from the 922 applications filed during the first week (for the list, click "Marijuana License Applicants" on this page. The Board said it will grant up to 334 retail licenses statewide, with limits in each county. So far 158 applications have been received for retail licenses; no applications have been received so far from 14 counties.

The amount of space allowed to be devoted to growing marijuana, statewide, has been limited to 2 million feet by the Board. Submitted applications from the first week alone for growing licenses total almost 6.8 million square feet.

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: BioTrackTHC Named State's Legal Marijuana Tracing System


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) has selected the firm BioTrackTHC, a division of Bio-Tech Medical Software, Inc., to provide a legal marijuana traceability system to the agency.

Accurately tracking cannabis throughout the entire supply chain (you'd think the stuff was radioactive by how much officials stress over it) is a major component of I-502, Washington's limited legalization initiative approved by voters last year.

BioTrackTHC's tracing system will assist the WSLCB with tracking and monitoring all marijuana cultivation, processing, testing, and retail transaction data by cannabis licensees through the supply chain to help prevent diversion, "promote public safety" (what are they gonna do, make sure a bale of it doesn't fall on someone?) and collect tax revenue (ah, so THAT's why they're so worried about it).

The WSLCB directly notified 785 vendors about the contract opportunity for tracing marijuana; out of 22 proposals submitted, BioTrackTHC was the highest scoring bidder, 1041.65 out of a possible 1200.

"We are absolutely thrilled," said Steven Siegel, CEO of BioTrackTHC. "We are very grateful to all of our existing clients, partners, and other industry friends who have given us invaluable feedback and insights into making BioTrackTHC the most robust and accurate seed-to-sale system on the market.

Washington: Medical Marijuana Advocates Mobilize To Protect Patient Rights Under I-502


Liquor Control Board Announces Its Intention To Ban All Personal Cultivation and Collective Gardens; Eliminate Affirmative Defense; Void All Current Doctors' Authorizations

"Health Before Happy Hour" campaign seeks state legislation to protect patient rights, preserve and license dispensaries

Medical marijuana advocates will hold stakeholder meetings across Washington State next week in advance of submitting written public comments on regulations being developed for I-502, the state's recreational marijuana initiative passed last November. Meetings hosted by the Washington chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will be held from October 27th-30th in Bellingham, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, and Yakima.

Beginning Monday, a working group established by I-502, which includes the Liquor Control Board, the Department of Health, and the Department of Revenue, will be accepting public input on draft regulations between October 21-November 8.

Among the work group’s proposed changes:
• Ban all personal cultivation and collective gardens
• Lower possession limit from 24 ounces to 3 ounces
• Eliminate the affirmative defense for proving medical necessity above possession limits
• Void all current doctors’ recommendations and require new evaluations under harder-to-meet definitions of qualifying conditions
• Restrict medical professionals to eliminate specialty cannabis practices and make recommendations equivalent to prescribing opiates

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.

Washington: Bank of America Will Accept Marijuana Money


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One of the biggest hurdles which, for years, has plagued the medical marijuana industry is the lack of access to banking services for cannabis businesses. Financial institutions just haven't been willing to accept them as customers, because under federal law, the government views handling money from cannabis transactions as "laundering drug profits."

Now with recreational legalization, the Washington State Liquor Control Board was in the same situation as has been faced for years by dispensaries, but now the Bank of America has agreed to let them deposit marijuana profits, reports The Huffington Post.

Bank of America has declared its willingness to deal with new marijuana related businesses, according to Jim McIntire, treasurer for the State of Washington.

"I mean, in fact, we're already taking some tax revenues, I believe, for medical marijuana," McIntire said. "So it's not a real issue in terms of their perception."

The Liquor Control Board's revenue stream will kick into gear this fall via applications for three different types of marijuana licenses -- growing, processing, and retailing -- and it will need a place to deposit all that money.

McIntire said his office has already had discussions, and that "Bank of America is fine with that," going to to say "they assure us that's not a problem for them."


Washington: Liquor Control Board Picks Firm For Seed-To-Sale Marijuana Tracking


BioTrackTHC to Provide Traceability Software

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) on Friday announced that BioTrackTHC is the apparent successful proposer to provide traceability software to the agency for its "seed-to-sale" marijuana tracking program. ("Apparent successful proposer" is the official term until contract terms are finalized.)

The traceability software will be able to trace cannabis products from start to sale and allows the WSLCB to monitor and track any plant or product in the system at any time. Accurately tracking licensee transactions and products is a major public safety component of Initiative 502.

Based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, BioTrackTHC is a software company which designs, develops and supports marijuana specific seed-to-sale inventory control systems. Their software is deployed in nearly 200 marijuana operations across seven states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

BioTrackTHC scored 1041.65 points out of a maximum of 1200, making them the highest scoring bidder, according to the WSLCB.

“Announcing the selection of a vendor for our traceability system is one more piece of the puzzle in creating a tightly controlled and regulated cannabis system for the state of Washington,” said I-502 Project Manager Randy Simmons.

Next Steps

There is a brief protest period where unsuccessful bidders can challenge the decision. The WSLCB will move simultaneously to negotiate the contract.

Washington: State Makes 1,000-Foot Marijuana Store Rule More Restrictive


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Prospective locations for legal marijuana stores under Washington state's legalization law, I-502, just got harder to find. The 1,000-foot buffer required between cannabis businesses and schools, playgrounds, parks and arcades will now be measured in a straight line, "as the crow flies," rather than along customary paths of travel such as streets and sidewalks.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board, in charge of implementing cannabis legalization in the state, has announced they will file an emergency rule on October 16, updating the 1,000-foot buffer required between a licensed marijuana store and a school, playground, park, arcade, and other places where those under 21 are present, reports KXRO.

Under the current proposed rules, the 1,000 feet limit is to be measured "along the most direct route over or across established public walks, streets, or other public passageway between the proposed building/business location to the perimeter of the grounds," in other words the distance was measured using actual streets and sidewalks.

"We've since learned that this measurement, as it pertains to marijuana, conflicts with federal law," Liquor Control Board Director Rick Garza said. "Although the emergency rule won't be filed until October 16, it is critical that we announce our intentions now so that potential licensees, local government and law enforcement will have clarity and predictability going forward.

Washington: Legislator Wants To Shut Down Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Under Washington state's new marijuana legalization Law, I-502, recreational marijuana will be heavily taxed and heavily controlled by the Liquor Control Board. The parallel world of medical marijuana is relatively unregulated in comparison, although state voters legalized it back in 1998. And in the opinion of Christopher Hurst of Enumclaw, a Democratic legislator and retired police commander who once served on a narcotics task force, that means medical marijuana shut be shut down.

Tight regulations for recreational marijuana are being written as we speak, and as state regulators craft those rules -- just as many in the medical marijuana community predicted last year -- they are just itching to control the MMJ sector, too.

So, could it really be that medical marijuana gadflies like Steve Sarich were right all along -- that the tepid form of "legalization" achieved by I-502 (with no home growing allowed, and only up to one ounce legalized) will cost patients their safe access to medicinal strains? Could 502 supporters such as New Approach Washington's Alison Holcomb, Washington NORML's Keith Henson, and Canadian pot princess Jodie Emery really have been that clueless -- or cavalier -- about the fallout from the law?

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: Marijuana Vending Machine Company Wants To Extend Its Reach To Recreational Market


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

As Washington state works on the rules for implementing its new marijuana legalization law, a California company heretofore involved in the medical marijuana business has expressed interest in bringing cannabis vending machines to the Evergreen State.

The vending machines are already in place in a few states, primarily California, where medical marijuana is legal, reports Cynthia Wise at KING 5.

As currently used, the machines require patients to scan a fingerprint, which will link that patient to an on-file authorization for medical marijuana. Medbox said it is working to adapt the machines for purchasers of recreational marijuana.

"We look forward to working with residents and existing small business operators in the State of Washington to assist them through the complex maze of regulations, obtain necessary permits and zoning approvals, and install inventory management systems that meet or exceed all state and local regulations," said Dr. Bruce Bedrick, CEO of Medbox.

Medbox has offered its "guidance, suggestions and consultation" free to officials in charge of developing and implementing a legal marijuana industry in Washington, according to Bedrick.

"States can profit handsomely from this new revenue stream, and Medbox is able to provide the systems and technologies that assure that taxes are collected, quantity limits are never breached, and there is adherence to all regulations," Bedrick said.

Washington: Liquor Control Board Sets Public Hearings For Marijuana Legalization Implementation


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor Control Board on Wednesday announced four public hearings across the state regarding the proposed rules for the implementation of Initiative 502 marijuana legalization.

The hearings are a required part of the rule-making process and provide an opportunity for stakeholders to offer public testimony on the proposed rules for I-502.

“Everything we’ve done regarding I-502 has drawn a crowd and we want to accommodate everyone,” said Board Chair Sharon Foster. “Having four hearings across the state allows us to do that.

"This is a chance for those who are impacted by, or anticipate being involved in, the business of marijuana to testify for the record about the proposed rules,” Foster said.

Washington regulators intend to charge $1,250 in license and application fees for marijuana growers and retailers, reports Jacob Sullum at Cannabis itself will be taxed 25 percent at each of three levels (growing, processing, and retailing). Home cultivation, unfortunately, is not permitted.

August 6: Shoreline Community College
Main Dining Hall
16101 Greenwood Ave N
Shoreline, WA 98133
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

August 7: Red Lion Hotel
Fir and Spruce Ballroom
2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW
Olympia, WA 98502
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

August 7: Central Washington University
Student Union Ballroom B and C
400 E University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Washington: Marijuana Leaf Logo Removed From State Pot Rules


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Evidently not yet having quite come to terms with the fact that marijuana is now legal, skittish regulators in Washington state have decided the pot-leaf logo designed for state-licensed cannabis merchandise gives the "wrong impression" of the Evergreen State.

Dropping the marijuana leaf as an official Washington state symbol was one of the changes contained in the newest version of rules proposed by a three-member panel working on regulations for the state's newly legal cannabis industry, reports Jonathan Kaminsky at Reuters.

The proposals, released on Wednesday, contain mostly minor revisions to an earlier plan. The rules govern cultivation, sales and taxation of marijuana, and will take effect when state-licensed retail cannabis stores open next year.

The abandoned pot-leaf logo, which was going to appear on any recreational marijuana or cannabis-infused product sold in Washington, featured a pot leaf inside an icon of Washington state.

The intent was to make it easy to identify any product containing cannabis, according to Washington State Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith.

An extremist anti-marijuana "drug prevention" hate group known as the Children's Alliance complained last month in a letter to the WSLCB that the logo could "reasonably be viewed as branding Washington 'The Marijuana State,' or as Washington proudly promoting marijuana use to the rest of the world."

Washington: Liquor Control Board Releases Legal Marijuana Rules


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

After Washington state voters last November approved Initiative 502, which legalized marijuana sales and possession of up to an ounce, the Washington State Liquor Control Board was put in charge of implementing the plan. On Wednesday, after months of public input, the WSLCB released their final proposed regulations.

Two public hearings (locations to be posted here) will be held August 6 and 8, with final rules being adopted on August 14 and taking effect on September 16.

Outdoor grow operations will be allowed under the proposed regulations, with the stipulation that eight-foot walls must surround them. Members of the board (and many members of the public who offered their input) felt that outdoor growing should be allowed, given the large energy usage of indoor grows.

Unfortunately, in order to have one of these outdoor grows, you'd need to become a state-licensed cannabis producer, and that would come with a $1,000 fee and its own set of bureaucratic headaches. Only a few of these licenses will be given out.

An interesting group of punishments for "Group 4 violations" ("violations involved in the manufacture, supply, and/or distribution of marijuana by marijuana producer licensees and prohibited practices between a marijuana producer licensee and a marijuana retailer licensee") are levied.

Washington: Liquor Control Board Wants Legal Marijuana Input From Users, Growers


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor Control Board -- which has been put in charge of implementing marijuana legalization in the state under Initiative 502, approved by voters last November -- wants input on rules and regulations for the newly legal cannabis industry.

The WSLCB has announced a couple of surveys to help with research their consultants at BOTEC Analysis Corporation are sponsoring, reports the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

One, by the RAND Corporation, aims to measure marijuana consumption throughout Washington, with questions about amount used, which products, and how much money spent. "The survey will be the most detailed yet on cannabis use habits," the board said.

It's confidential and short; about 15 minutes for heavy users, less for others, according to the board. "Not immediately clear if it will take heavy users longer because they have more questions to answer or because their response time is somewhat slowed from all that marijuana," quipped The Spokesman-Review.

The RAND Corporation survey can be taken by clicking here.

BOTEC isn't commenting on the survey, apparently to avoid doing or saying anything that would "shape" the responses.

Washington: Marijuana Czar Favors Limiting Amount of THC Produced Rather Than Plant Count


Pot Czar's Plan of Limiting Total THC Production Could Result In Low Quality Cannabis

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington state marijuana czar Mark Kleiman -- hired by the Liquor Control Board to advise the state on how to develop and implement a legal cannabis market, pursuant to the wishes of the voters as expressed last November at the polls -- said this week that he favors regulating the amount of pot that can be grown by setting an annual quota on total THC production.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

"If the board were going to regulate the amount of cannabis that is produced statewide or on the individual grower level, how should that be done?" Kleiman asked rhetorically in an interview with Jake Ellison of the Seattle PI. "It's no secret that I think the best way to regulate quantity is THC," Kleiman said. "If I were the czar instead of the mythical pot czar, I'd get rid of the tax and I'd set an annual quota on how much THC can be produced. I'd auction off the quota rights."

Washington: Medical Marijuana Patients Tell Liquor Control Board: Hands Off Our Medicine


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

From all over the Puget Sound area and throughout the state the medicinal cannabis patients came, and together, at the Washington state Capitol on Wednesday, they spoke with one voice: "Keep The Liquor Control Board Out Of My Medical Marijuana."

Dozens of cannabis advocates gathered in Olympia to protest efforts by the Legislature to include the medical marijuana industry under the state's new recreational cannabis law, Initiative 502, approved by voters last November.

Lawmakers are considering bills that would put the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) in charge of a study to see how "integration" of the two spheres -- medical and recreational cannabis -- would work. Investors in the state's newly legal recreational marijuana industry fear that medical cannabis could draw customers away from the highly regulated, stiffly taxed pot that will theoretically be available in state stores early next year.

"We have said that the medical marijuana market is a challenge to the success of the recreational market, the reason being that a certain percentage of people are buying it through the medical marijuana market for recreational purposes," claimed Brian E. Smith, speaking for the Liquor Control Board, reports Melissa Santos of the Tacoma News Tribune. "They would be competing with the recreational market, which is heavily taxed and highly regulated."

Washington: Medical Cannabis Patients To Rally At State Capitol To Protect Safe Access


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Residents who use cannabis as medicine, angry about an amendment that was quietly slipped into the state Senate and House budget bills, will be gathering from all over the state of Washington in Olympia at the Capitol Campus Wednesday, June 19. They say the rally is to "save medical cannabis in Washington."

The patients are upset about an amendment that would put the control of their medical fate in the hands of the state Liquor Control Board. This amendment could fundamentally change every section of the state's current medical cannabis laws, according to patient advocates.

These regulations would include limits on age, the amount of medication a patient could have, which conditions would qualify, where they could get their medication and who could actually grow it.

The Liquor Control Board has already stated publicly that they believe that the tax-free status of cannabis as a medication would be a ‘threat’ to the LCB’s projected revenue stream from recreational marijuana sales. Current state law does not tax medications that require a health care provider's signature. This law could single out cannabis as the only medication in the state targeted for taxation.

“I have a brain tumor and they’re going to decide how much medicine I need and then they’re going to tax it," said Ken Martin, a medical marijuana patient from Seattle. "I don’t pay tax on any of my other medications. This is nothing more than greed on the part of the LCB and the state Legislature.”

Washington: Board Delays Marijuana Rules After Extensive Public Input


The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) has delayed releasing draft rules for the implementation of recreational marijuana legalization in the state. Director Rick Garza blamed the delay on extensive last-minute public input on the rules.

The WSLCB on Monday issued dates for filing its recreational marijuana draft rules.

June 19 Board work session on proposed rules
July 3 Board files official draft rules (CR 102) with the state Code Reviser
August 7 Public hearing on draft rules
August 14 Board adopts rules
September 14 Effective date for rules
September 14 WSLCB begins accepting applications for all license types.

June 10 was the deadline for collecting public input on the board's first cut of draft rules that were released on May 16. "While the initial written comments on the rules were relatively light, the agency received extensive written comment over the weekend and throughout the day from public and private organizations," the WSLCB said in a Monday press release.

“In keeping with our goal of an open and transparent process for drafting the rules, we’re going to take an additional two weeks to consider the last-minute input we’ve received,” said WSLCB Director Rick Garza.

“The Board was prepared to issue the rules on June 19," Garza said. "However, it’s our responsibility to carefully review and consider the comments we received.”

Washington: Legal Marijuana Draft Rules Facing Opposition

Legalizing Marijuana.JPEG-04781.jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington state's proposed rules for newly legal marijuana aren't even 24 hours old yet, but are already under attack by critics.

The draft regulations -- 46 pages of them -- were released on Thursday, reports Oregon Public Broadcasting, and they cover everything from where cannabis can be grown to the criminal history of those who apply for licenses.

Under the proposed rules, anyone who wants to be involved in the legal marijuana business would have to submit to a background check. This even includes the financial backers of marijuana businesses; any felony convictions in the past decade would likely disqualify applicants.

The locations where cannabis will be grown has resulted in much discussion. The Board wants to limit grows to secure buildings or greenhouses, indoor cultivation only.

Another limitation in the proposed rules -- a ban on hash, hash oil and other concentrates extracted from cannabis, unless they're infused into an edible product -- is generating lots of controversy.

"I believe that the products that we're producing have received a bad rap because of the nickname BHO, butane extracted hash oil," Jim Andersen, who works with a company called XTracted, said.

Butane is often used to extract the THC, Andersen said, but he claimed if it's done right it leaves no chemical traces; he plans to fight the ban on marijuana extracts.

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