seattle times

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/hemporg/public_html/news/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 34.

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: 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: Top Marijuana Advisor Steps Down

RandySimmons[JohnLok-TheSeattleTimes]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The bureaucrat who helped implement Washington state's recreational marijuana law -- and dismantle the state's medical marijuana program -- is stepping down.

Randy Simmons, deputy director of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, said this year's "difficult" legislative session played a factor in his decision, reports Bob Young at The Seattle Times.

Battles erupted as monied I-502 business investors lobbied the Washington Legislature to "fold" the state's medical marijuana industry into the recreational side; that happened, effectively channeling all patients through I-502 stores and shutting down access through medical dispensaries statewide. It was an unappetizing spectacle, with 502 merchants picking over the remains of the medical marijuana community, looking for more profits.

"It was a hard legislative session," Young complained, evidently feeling patients should have uncomplainingly been led down the primrose path of eliminating medical dispensaries. "I felt tired of all the battles going on."

Simmons, 63, is leaving his job at the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board at the end of August to take a senior administrator's job at the Washington Department of Revenue. He said he's looking forward to a less stressful job.

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: Seattle City Attorney Wants To Shut Down Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

PeteHolmesSeattleCityAttorney

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes was a big supporter of Washington state's marijuana legalization measure, Initiative 502, all along. Now it seems Holmes is so gung-ho on 502, he wants to extinguish current medical marijuana dispensaries, which existed for years before recreational legalization was approved in 2012, and force medicinal cannabis patients through the state's expensive recreational pot stores.

Holmes in a policy memo on Monday urged the Washington Legislature to fold medical marijuana into the state's recreational system, reports Evan Bush at The Seattle Times. He also pushed Seattle city officials to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries which he claims aren't following state law or city regulations.

"If you're a commercial (medical marijuana) operation lacking a 502 license, it's a felony operation. Period," Holmes said.

Holmes claimed some of the business aren't operating with proper permits, and that others have neglected to pay local business and occupation taxes. He said some of them opened after the Seattle City Council passed an intended moratorium on new dispensaries in the city.

The city attorney said he published the wide-ranging memo to clarify any confusion about medical marijuana laws. Holmes said he hopes his memo "reframes" the debate about medical marijuana.

Syndicate content