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Washington: Lawmakers Say Inflatable Tube Men Can't Sell Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On April 20, the unofficial cannabis holiday, Washington lawmakers voted to ban the use of "inflatable tube displays, persons in costume, or wearing, holding, or spinning a sign with a marijuana-related commercial message" by retail businesses selling cannabis products.

The marijuana bill also has some positive aspects as well, such as allowing Washington residents to share marijuana with other legal adults for the first time, and allowing cannabis retailers to operate five dispensaries. Presently they are limited to three dispensaries.

The stated purpose of this prohibition of marijuana-promoting blow-up ads is to protect children. Current regulations already prohibit marijuana advertisements from using cartoon characters, toys or other depictions deemed "especially appealing to children or other persons under legal age to consume marijuana."

But Washington legislators felt that a number of outdoor advertisements from recreational dispensaries were flouting the spirit, if not the letter of the law.

Images of a billboard put up by Clear Choice Cannabis in Tacoma were circulated around the Washington legislature as proof of cannabis businesses potentially targeting children. It featured a cat wearing a "thug life" collar along with text saying "I'm so high right meow."

Washington: Breath Test For Marijuana Coming Within A Year, Researchers Say

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When Washington voters approved I-502, the ballot initiative which legalized recreational marijuana in the state, most of them didn't think the DUI provision in the language wouldn't be a big deal; after all, they voted for it anyway. Those who warned about the unscientific 5 nanogram per milliliter cutoff point for THC -- a "bright line" based on numbers rather than actual impairment -- now have more reason than ever to worry, as a "breath test" is expected in the state within a year.

Researchers at Washington State University said they're about a year away from having a portable breath test that police can use to detect if someone recently used cannabis, reports Melissa Santos at the Tacoma News Tribune. Notice I said "recently used cannabis," not "impaired by cannabis"? That's because the test will reveal nothing about impairment -- but sadly, it will be used to charge people for exactly that.

Herbert Hill, a WSU chemistry professor working on the project, said his team has completed the first round of testing of the cannabis breathalyzer and has made some improvements. A second round of testing is about to begin, and Hill said police should have the device to use in the field sometime in 2016.

“For it to be used to help the arresting officer make a decision I hope is about a year away,” Hill said on Tuesday.

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

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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: Compliance Checks Show 4 Recreational Marijuana Stores Sell To Minors

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Four Western Washington recreational retail marijuana businesses this month failed compliance checks conducted by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB).

Officers, working with underage investigative aides, checked 22 businesses for sales of marijuana to minors. The first checks represent an 82 percent no-sales-to-minors compliance rate.

The four businesses will be cited for selling marijuana to minors. The individuals who sold the marijuana will be referred to their respective prosecuting attorney’s office for potential criminal prosecution.

The WSLCB and local authorities regularly conduct compliance checks of area businesses licensed to sell alcohol. The checks, conducted May 15-18 in Skagit, Snohomish, Kitsap, Pierce and Cowlitz Counties, were the first marijuana compliance checks.

The checks followed a recent communication to all licensees that enforcement officers were beginning compliance checks and recommended best practices for avoiding an illegal sale.

Compliance checks are proven tools to reduce the sale of age-restricted products to minors, according to the WSLCB. Investigative aides assist officers with compliance checks. These individuals are from 18 to 20 years old. They must either present their true identification or none at all if asked by a clerk.

Liquor enforcement officers are empowered to issue Administrative Violation Notices to businesses that fail compliance checks. Fines or temporary license suspensions can be issued depending on the severity of the infraction or the frequency with which a business has been cited.

Oregon/Washington: National Cannabis Industry Association Hosting Events

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The National Cannabis Industry Association will host education and networking events this week for industry stakeholders and organization members. MJ Freeway is sponsoring the NCIA events in Portland, Oregon (on Monday) and Tacoma, Washington (Tuesday).

The Cannabis Industry Reception in Portland will serve as a networking opportunity for interested parties in the state's marijuana industry who want to meet NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith and members from within the state. Attendees can potentially join the organization themselves, and can learn more about the NCIA's activities both at the state and the national level.

The Oregon reception will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Monday, September 30, at the Paragon Restaurant in Portland.

The Washington Educational Series Event will focus primarily on the state's legalization of retail marijuana sales through I-502, exploring the implementation of the legislation and its impact throughout the country. Also presented will be information about what NCIA itself is doing to advance the industry's interests.

The Washington event opens its doors at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 1, at the Pacific Grill in Tacoma.

For more information about either event, or to register for either, visit the NCIA events page at http://thecannabisindustry.org/events.

Washington: Judge Again Orders Police To Return Man's Marijuana

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two months ago, Tacoma Municipal Court Judge Jack Emery told police to give the man his marijuana back. Police refused. Judge Emery on Thursday repeated himself with emphasis: He gave the cops one week to comply with his February 28 court order and return the cannabis to Tacoma resident Joseph L. Robertson, or face possible contempt of court charges.

"Appeal or comply," Judge Emery told Assistant City Attorney John Walker, reports Sean Robinson at The News Tribune of Tacoma. "Or next week, show up, and I would advise you to bring counsel."

The ruling -- a procedural victory for Robertson -- will likely set the stage for a precedent-setting case.

Police seized the marijuana back in May 2012 after they had pulled Robertson over for speeding. The officer who made the traffic stop claimed he smelled marijuana inside Robertson's car, and later he found a small amount of weed inside the vehicle.

Robertson was ticketed for driving without a license and misdemeanor marijuana possession and released. City prosecutors dismissed the possession charge in December after Washington voters approved the legalization of small amounts of marijuana in November.

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