Seattle

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Washington: Marijuana and Athletics Coming To Seattle July 31 With The 420 Games

420Games[420games.org]

When Jim McAlpine first came out with The 420 Games, many people were skeptical. “Most people would just laugh at me as I explained my idea,” McAlpine said. “The stigma runs deep and people immediately go to the propaganda ingrained in their brain that says marijuana and athletics don’t mix. Well, that’s exactly why I started The 420 Games, because I knew all of those people were wrong.”

It appears McAlpine may be onto something. As the games head strong into a second year, Newsweek, TIME, The Atlantic, Elite Daily, and sports publications such as Runner’s World have been paying attention.

The 420 Games is a series of 4.20 mile runs in different cities. Dubbed “Going the Extra Mile for Cannabis,” the event is 1.1 miles longer than a typical 5K.

The event series developed to de-stigmatize cannabis and those who use it, has signed on several professional athletes, Olympic gold medalists and others who are now endorsing “The Games.” Ricky Williams, Heisman Trophy winner and NFL standout is currently The 420 Games main spokesman.

Marijuana and Athletics: Coming out of the Closet

Despite a long history of persecution by way of public criticism, penalties and in some cases the pursuit of criminal charges, more athletes are refusing to keep their medical cannabis use a secret.

Washington: Marijuana Sharing Law Passes House

SharingAJoint.jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When Washington state's marijuana legalization law, I-502, passed, it didn't take long until folks figured out it is the most badly written "legalization" law yet passed. It's so badly written, in fact, that under this purportedly "progressive" legislation, it's a felony to pass a joint to your significant other.

Since the people of Washington apparently didn't read the damn thing before they passed I-502, seemingly not making it past "legalization" and thinking "how bad could THAT be?", it now falls upon the hapless Washington Legislature to fix the mess -- and that's pretty damn scary to anyone who knows just how clueless is that body of lawmakers when it comes to cannabis.

But they get points for trying, at least when it comes to the sharing issue. House Bill 2494, "An act relating to penalties for marijuana offenses," on Monday passed the Washington House on a 73 to 24 vote, and has been referred to committee in the Senate, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle PI.

Washington: Lawmaker Says Black Market Weed Still Cheaper Than The Legal Stuff

MarijuanaTaxes[MedicalDaily-Shutterstock].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

State Rep. Christopher Hurst, who just last week wouldn't allow a committee vote on a marijuana home grow bill, said on Thursday that it's still cheaper to buy black market cannabis in his state than it is to go in a store and buy the legal stuff.

House Bill 2347, which Hurst (D-Enumclaw) is sponsoring, would reduce the tax on legal recreational marijuana from 37 to 25 percent, reports LaVendrick Smith at the WNPA Olympia News Bureau. The idea is to make legal marijuana prices more competitive with those on the black market, according to Hurst.

A reduced tax would be one of the most important ways of eliminating black market sales of marijuana, according to Hurst, who said the black market still makes up 65 to 75 percent of cannabis sales in Washington state.

"We can't get there if we price ourselves so much higher than the illicit market," Hurst said. "The criminals love the tax rate being high, because they don't pay it, and it makes it so the legal people can't compete with them."

Then again, nobody knows for sure what Rep. Hurst even means when he says "black market," since last year he said he viewed all medical marijuana dispensaries as black market dealers -- and they have openly operated in the state for more than a decade, with many paying taxes. With the shutdown of medical dispensaries looming, medicinal cannabis patients will be forced to go through the recreational system to buy marijuana beginning July 1.

Washington: The Marijuana Show To Hold Auditions In Seattle For Next Weed Millionaire

TheMarijuanaShow(GeorgeWashington)

The Marijuana Show, a reality cable TV show called “Shark Tank for Ganjapreneurs” by CNBC, is holding auditions for Season 3 in Seattle.

According to the show's producers, auditions will be held at the Cannabis Tech Meetup, February 3, at Club Sur at 7:30 PM in conjunction with the Seattle Cannabis Tech group meeting.

The first season offered $5 million and second season offered over $10 million. Producers are interested in cannabis, hemp, technology, ancillary, dispensaries and grows.

“Come pitch or judge to help decide who will get to pitch accredited investors and star in season three," said producer Wendy Robbins. "We wanted to create a power to the people pitch so we can involve the community to find the next marijuana millionaires.”

“This will be our most exciting season since we have access to amazing investors and will search the country finding the most innovative and lucrative businesses," said producer Karen Paull. "This season we also are able to offer loans to established businesses.”

Over the next six months, the show’s producers will be hosting live auditions in select cities including Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Austin, Boston, Washington DC, New York and Florida to find the next group of contenders. Two Minute Online pitches can be uploaded and voted on at www.grreenequitymedia.com.

Washington: Seattle City Attorney Promises Crackdown On Black Market Marijuana

PeteHolmesSeattleCityAttorney[ElaineThompson-MyNorthwest.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization gets rid of the black market, and makes it obsolete, right? Wrong, if your legalization law is written as badly as Washington state's.

I-502, the clunky cannabis legalization measure, was made even worse by SB 5052; last year, that execrable piece of legislation assisted the original measure in completing a coup de grace on medical marijuana dispensaries and farmers markets in the state.

The onerous taxation scheme and miles of red tape forced upon marijuana retailers by state rules -- along with a healthy dose of old fashioned greed -- mean that, ironically enough, cannabis costs more in legal marijuana stores than on the black market, thus ensuring that the illegal market continues to flourish, even as the state desperately tries to prop up its anointed retailers by arresting their competition.

That's right: in the eyes of recreational marijuana retailers, not just black market dealers, but medical marijuana dispensaries and farmers markets represent unwelcome competition. You can really see their point when you realize that I-502 store prices average roughly twice the going rate in dispensaries and three times that in farmers markets.

Most patients are on limited incomes as they struggle with chronic illness, and the I-502 store prices, along with the 37 percent tax, makes medicine just about unaffordable.

Washington: Marijuana Legalization 'Largely A Technicality'; Laws Still Target Poor

MarijuanaWelcomeNo[RollingStone]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana use has been legal in Washington state since 2012, but just how legal is it? To all appearances, legalization, as implemented in the state, has benefited mostly the wealthy, from those who've been able to afford the expensive licensing process for the recreational pot shops to the well-to-do weed consumers who don't have to worry about being busted anymore.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of ways for every-day pot smokers like me and you to run afoul of the law. For the masses, "legalization" in Washington feels like "more of a theoretical freedom," with cannabis governed under the same laws that prohibit public consumption of alcohol, reports Michael Thomsen at Slate.

"If you're smoking in plain public view, you're subject to a ticket," Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said back in 2012, just as legalization measure I-502 was going into effect.

In Washington state -- as in the rest of America, even "legalized" places -- publicly sharing a marijuana high with friends can land you a court summons, and possibly even a night in jail.

U.S.: Expert Warns Marijuana Genetic Patents Are Coming Soon

ReggieGaudino

In a recent podcast episode for Ganjapreneur.com, Reggie Gaudino of Steep Hill labs recently joined show host Shango Los for an interview to discuss the science and politics behind cannabis breeding, the realities of patenting cannabis strains, and how "Big Marijuana" is going to change the landscape of cannabis business when Federal law changes.

Reggie Gaudino is vice president of scientific operations and director of intellectual property at Steep Hill, a California-based laboratory that offers cannabis testing services.

According to Reggie, cannabis patents are not only on the horizon, but they're actually closer than most people would imagine. He predicts that the moment cannabis shifts away from its current Schedule I restrictions, major corporations like Monsanto and Dow Agrosciences are going to step in and attempt to overtake the market.

"The message that Steep Hill is trying to get out is... if you’re a breeder, the best thing that you can be doing right now is breeding your butt off," Reggie said. "The only thing left then is to put your stake in the ground and to really protect your strains so that when everything that’s on the shelves now becomes open source, you have something better to offer the community."

The full podcast episode is available via iTunes and at Ganjapreneur.com, where there are also full transcripts of this and previous episodes.

Washington: Seattle Mayor's Medical Marijuana Dispensary Plan Gets Resistance

EdMurraySeattleMayor[TheSeattleTimes]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's proposal for licensing medical marijuana dispensaries has run into opposition from some shop owners in the city who'd be zoned out of existence under the plan.

The mayor's proposal wouldn't allow Alex Cooley, a pioneer in medical marijuana in the city, to continue farming at his Sodo location, because it is too close to a child-care center, reports Bob Young at The Seattle Times.

"Why did I work voluntarily with the city to go through the front door, when all of my permits provide no value to me right now?" Cooley said at a Seattle City Hall meeting last week.

Cooley and other unhappy businesspeople at the meeting asked for changes in the mayor's plan to bring the city's longstanding, law-abiding medical marijuana dispensaries into compliance with the state's recreational marijuana system created by I-502.

The mayor's plan would reduce buffer zones between marijuana businesses and child-care centers and libraries from 1,000 feet to 500 feet; it would keep the 1,000-foot buffer in place for schools and playgrounds. It would also require pot stores to be at least 500 feet apart.

The plan would add 1,650 acres of available land in the city where legal marijuana stores could potentially locate. Some, including Cooley, believe the buffers should be further relaxed.

Washington: Almost Half The Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In Seattle Voluntarily Close

DispensarySeattleCrackdown[King5News]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Almost half of Seattle's medical marijuana dispensaries have voluntarily closed in just one month, according to city officials. Fifty-six of the city's 120 dispensaries are now shuttered, according to the city's Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) department, which handles enforcement.

"We're trying to get you to be in compliance and if you can't get on the legal path, you just need to close," said William Edwards, director of enforcement for FAS, reports Ryan Takeo at King 5 News.

The FAS said it sent a letter to all non-recreational marijuana businesses in August, informing them of the new city ordinance.

Some of the city's criteria includes paying all applicable taxes, having a Seattle business license before 2013, and applying to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) for a license.

City officials said they'd filed criminal complaints against three businesses. The maximum penalty for a criminal conviction under the ordinance is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to a city memo.

"If we have to, which the city is not interested in, to move towards a criminal complaint," Edwards said of the rather unusual situation under with "legalization" is resulting in less access for medical marijuana patients so that recreational marijuana stores can have less competition and greater profits.

Washington: Seattle IRS Agent Charged With Bribing Marijuana Store Owner

PaulHurley[LinkedIn]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Seattle-based Internal Revenue Service agent was charged on Monday with soliciting a bribe and accepting payment from a local recreational-marijuana business owner.

Paul Hurley, 42, allegedly asked for $20,000 cash from the I-502 store owner in exchange for giving lenience in a tax audit, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, reports Jessica Lee at The Seattle Times. Hurley was charged in U.S. District Court.

The owner of the marijuana store reportedly did not ask for leniency.

Hurley presented the business owner with a tax bill for 2013 and 2014 totaling more than $290,000, but claimed he had saved the businessman more than $1 million, according to prosecutors. The agent then asked for $20,000 in exchange for the "help," according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Photo of Paul Hurley: LinkedIn

Business deductions aren't allowed on federal tax returns for marijuana business, and the gross revenue is taxable because cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

The businessman contacted law enforcement, who witnessed two money exchanges between the man and the IRS agent. Hurley, who has been with the IRS since 2009, according to the news release, was arrested after the second money exchange on Monday.

Washington: State To Open Retail Marijuana License Applications With No Initial Cap

WashingtonStateMarijuana

WSLCB Says The Goal Is To 'Align' Recreational and Medical Marijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday announced that beginning October 12, it will accept new retail applications "using the priority criteria set forth in the law." According to the Board, there will not be an initial cap on the number of licenses issued.

"Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure that they have all of the required documentation before applying," the WSLCB announced. "Failure to provide required documentation in a timely manner will result in the application being withdrawn, however you will be able to apply again."

The WSLCB adopted emergency rules and issued new draft rules to begin the public process of "aligning" the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market (many activists would more cynically call it "eliminating" the medical marijuana market "in favor of" the recreational market).

The Board’s actions are the result of 2015 legislation, the so-called "Cannabis Patient Protection Act" (SB 5052, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers), which established a priority system for licensing existing medical marijuana outlets. The emergency rules, which are effective immediately, allow the WSLCB to begin the process of licensing new retail outlets that may sell both medical and recreational marijuana.

Existing recreational stores may also apply for an endorsement to sell both.

Washington: Marijuana Industry Recruiter Reveals How To Apply For Cannabis Jobs

DavidMurétViridianStaffing[Ganjapreneur]

With the legalization of cannabis in several states in the U.S., a viable commercial market has risen out of an industry which once operated entirely in the shadows. As investors and entrepreneurs pursue profits in the new legal industry, employment opportunities have begun to open up for everyday citizens as well.

In their latest podcast, Ganjapreneur has interviewed David Murét of Viridian Staffing, a Washington-based recruiting agency working to connect employers with job-seekers in the cannabis industry, about the emergence of these cannabis careers and the people who are seeking them out. Viridian has been hired by companies to find and place candidates in job roles ranging from entry-level to executive, in every sector and niche of the marijuana market.

In the podcast, Murét and show host Shango Los discuss what types of jobs cannabis companies are hiring for and what steps an average person can take to find employment with such a company.

"People will be very often surprised to find out that their skill sets are relevant to the cannabis industry," David said. "These companies need the same type of support as any other company does, be it sales, marketing, social media...almost anyone can find a home in this industry if they’re willing to put in the time and the effort."

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

I-502

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.

U.S.: Reps From 30+ Cities To Meet On Innovative Approach To Low-Level Drug Offenses

LEADLawEnforcementAssistedDiversion(logo)

LEAD Established Unique Collaboration Among Law Enforcement, Human Service Agencies, Business Leaders, and Community Members to Produce Nearly 60% Reduction in Recidivism in Seattle

Wednesday: Convening Hosted by Major Foundations and Seattle Police Department

Thursday: Convening Co-Hosted by Major Foundations and The White House

This week, government officials and community leaders from more than 30 city, county and state jurisdictions will gather to discuss an innovative program that brings together diverse stakeholders seeking to achieve better outcomes in public health and safety by diverting people from jail to services.

The program, known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, was pioneered in Seattle. Under LEAD, police divert individuals who commit low-level drug offenses to harm reduction based case management services. An independent evaluation found that it reduced the likelihood of reoffending by nearly 60 percent compared to a control group that went through the criminal justice system “as usual.”

LEAD’s successes and positive evaluations have sparked widespread attention and interest, especially in a moment when the police role in dealing with “quality of life” issues is controversial and the way forward after the War On Drugs is uncertain.

U.S.: Labels On Edible Marijuana Products Often Have Potency Wrong, Study Says

CannabisChocolates[FoodSafetyNews]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Most labels on edible marijuana products are inaccurate when it comes to levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, researchers reported on Tuesday.

An analysis of 75 products sold to patients in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles found that just 17 percent of the labels accurately described THC levels, reports Catherine Saint Louis at The New York Times. Sixty percent of the products had less THC than claimed on the packaging, and 23 percent of them had more THC than advertised.

"We need a more accurate picture of what's being offered to patients," said Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of hematology and oncology at San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Abrams wasn't involved in the study, which was published in JAMA.

Products with too little THC may fail to deliver symptom relief, and those with too much may make users feel uncomfortable or anxious.

Cannabis candy, drinks and baked goods from 47 brands were tested in the new study by the Werc Shop, a laboratory with branches in Washington state and California. The study was paid for by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine except for the cost of the testing, which was covered by the Werc Shop; the company's CEO, Jeffrey Raber, is listed as a study author.

U.S.: Native American Organics Announces Launch of Cannabis Company

NativeAmericanOrganics(logo)

The launch of a new national company which will partner and assist in producing high grade marijuana products will benefit Native American Indian tribes, according to an announcement from Native American Organics, LLC.

"The company will provide cultivation, manufacturing, dispensing, processing, testing and regulatory support to ensure transparent and uninterrupted operations," according to a Tuesday press release. In addition, the company will focus on research-based laboratory testing.

The new corporation is a partnership between Red Tipped Arrow, LLC, a 100 percent Indian-owned economic development company, and Wright Family Organics, LLC, a California-based medical marijuana research and operations organization.

According to the company, the focus of Native American Organics is to partner with and support Indian Tribes situated in states where medical and or recreational marijuana is legal. "Through deployment of state of the art technology and equipment, NAO will guide and assist tribes in gaining entry into the fast growing and highly competitive Cannabis market with a strong focus on the development of organic natural products," NAO announced.

"Cannabis has been used to aid and assist with issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which impacts American Indian Veterans who served our country with bravery and honor," NAO announced. "Other areas of concentration will include Epilepsy, Cancer, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's."

U.S.: Who Will Be The Next Marijuana Millionaire? The Marijuana Show Opens Season 2 Auditions

TheMarijuanaShow(GeorgeWashington)

After a successful first season, "The Marijuana Show" — which calls itself "the first-ever reality show about Cannabis" — is announcing Season Two auditions during Hemp History Week, with live auditions on June 18-19 and June 21.

Coined the “Shark Tank for Ganjapreneurs,” the reality-competition show offered over $5 million to contestants in Season One. The show profiles ganjapreneur hopefuls, giving each contestant the opportunity to pitch an idea to a panel of accredited investors, and then participate in a Boot Camp aka Bud Camp to develop a variety of cannabis technologies and products through mentorship, and ultimately access to millions of dollars in investment capital.

The Marijuana Show can be viewed online and will air fall 2015 on Dish, Comcast, Xbox, Samsung, Roku and several other streaming sites reaching over 50 million households.

Ganjapreneur hopefuls can audition online. Two-minute video pitches will be accepted from all over the country. Live auditions will take place in Seattle on June 18 and 19 by RSVP only and at Hempapalooza on June 21 in Brinnon, Washington.

Entrepreneurs who have unique products, an established business, permits, licenses, and sales are encouraged to audition to see if they can be the next Marijuana Millionaire. Wannabe Marijuana Millionaires should be able to present business plans and proof of licenses and permits, and they must be 21+ with valid ID.

Washington: Cannabis Transparency Project Provides Public Access To Marijuana Industry Data

WashingtonStateMarijuana

Members of the public now have unprecedented access to data about Washington state's legal cannabis industry through the Cannabis Transparency Project (CTP).

The CTP is an open source web application for processing and visually representing information released by the state as part of the Washington State Marijuana Traceability System database via a public records request, the Cannabis and Social Policy Center, in conjunction with the Cannabis Commodities Exchange, announced on Friday.

"The idea is to encourage transparency and legitimate trade practices in the industry by providing a user-friendly interface so that anyone can navigate through and discuss this large amount of data," said project developer Will Farley, CTO of CCX.

Farley said he hopes other developers will contribute to the project, so that this open resource can become "a powerful tool to inform the public about cannabis."

"This amount and type of data regarding cannabis has never been available for comprehensive analysis before," said CASP Executive Director Dr. Dominic Corva. "For the first time, for example, we can examine evidence for potency clustering and differentiation across dozens of cultivars. There are many, many other questions that can be answered using this information."

After using the system for a few days, CASP Affiliate Researcher Dr. Jim MacRae emphatically said, "In one week with this tool, I've been able to generate more meaningful insight into the state of cannabis potency testing in Washington than I was able to in three weeks using the tools I traditionally use.

Washington: Seattle Mayor Plans Crackdown On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

EdMurraySeattleMayor[TheSeattleTimes]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Apparently not content to wait for the scheduled extinction date of medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington -- set for July 1, 2016 -- Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Tuesday proposed legislation that could shut down dozens of dispensaries in the city.

Mayor Murray's plan would create a new business license specifically for medical marijuana dispensaries and create enforcement priorities for unlicensed shops, reports Evan Bush at The Seattle Times.

The plan follows the Washington Legislature's attempts to "fold" medical marijuana into the state's recreational cannabis system established under I-502 and SB 5052. The latter law, approved last month, calls for the Washington State Liquor Control Board (which will be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board) to "assess the merit" of medical marijuana dispensaries are license those which qualify by July 2016.

The LCB still hasn't come up with the rules for grading medical marijuana dispensaries, and many observers believe the ultimate goal isn't to license the businesses anyway, but rather to shut almost all of them down. It's not yet clear how many additional licenses Seattle might get, or which businesses could get those licenses.

Washington: Pot Shop Sells Marijuana-Infused Coffee Pods

FairwindsInfusedKeurig-StyleCoffeePods[NYDailyNews]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana-infused coffee has been around awhile, but now you can get cannabis-infused Keurig-style coffee pods.

Seattle recreational marijuana store Uncle Ike's Pot Shop has started selling "Catapult" K-Cup style coffees infused with cannabis, reports Meredith Engel at the New York Daily News.

The pods, made by Fairwinds Manufacturing, work in single-serving coffeemakers and include 10 milligrams of THC, the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. That's not a big dose, but it's the maximum allowed by Washington state in recreational cannabis edibles.

The pods cost $10 each, and that's a bargain, according to Uncle Ike's sales manager Jennifer Lanzador. "People might scoff at the price, but when you think of Starbucks (charging) $4, $5 a cup anyway, and you get the nice kick of THC, it's really not an expensive price at all," she said.

"It's delicious," Lanzador said. "Sometimes with edibles you'll get that real pot flavor, (but) I did not notice much of a pot taste."

With both energy-boosting and calming effects, it reminded her of a Red Bull/vodka cocktail, Lanzador said. "I had more energy, but I still had the relaxation you get from cannabis," she said, reports Mary Beth Quirk at Consumerist.

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