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Washington

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 12, 2014

    Washington state-licensed marijuana retailers sold an estimated $3.8 million in cannabis products in July, the first month during which such sales were allowed under state law. The sales are estimated to have already generated more than $1 million in tax revenue.

    To date, the state’s Liquor Control Board has issued marijuana retail licenses to some 40 facilities. However, only 16 of those stores reported sales in the month of July, according to the Associated Press. Under state regulations, the Board may issue a total of 334 licenses to retail facilities statewide.

    Similar state-licensed stores have been operating in Colorado since January 1. For the month of June, Colorado retailers sold a record $24.7 million worth of cannabis goods.

    Voters in both states in 2012 approved ballot measures regulating the commercial production, retail sale, and adult use of cannabis.

    Voters in Alaska and Oregon will vote on similar measures this November.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 16, 2014

    A new District ordinance reducing marijuana possession penalties to a $25.00 fine-only violation goes into effect at midnight tonight.

    Washington, DC City Council members overwhelmingly approved the legislation, entitled “The Simple Possession of Small Quantities of Marijuana Decriminalization Amendment Act,” this past spring. The measure amends District law involving the possession or transfer of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (formerly punishable by up to 6 months incarceration and a maximum fine of $1,000) to a civil violation (punishable by a $25.00 fine, no arrest, no jail time, and no criminal record).

    Offenses involving the public consumption of cannabis remain classified as a criminal misdemeanor under DC law, punishable by up to six-months in jail and a $500 fine. The possession of cannabis-related paraphernalia will be re-classified as a violation, not a criminal offense.

    An analysis published by the American Civil Liberties Union reported that the District possesses the highest percentage of marijuana possession arrests per capita in the nation.

    Weeks ago, Congressman Andrew Harris (R-MD) introduced a language to undermine the implementation of this act. However, that provision remains pending and is strongly opposed by the White House.

    The District’s $25.00 fine-only measure is similar to existing ‘decriminalization’ laws in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont where private, non-medical possession of marijuana is treated as a civil, non-criminal offense.

    Five additional states — Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio — treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense.

    Three states — Alaska, Colorado, and Washington — impose no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 8, 2014

    Proponents of a District initiative to permit the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana by those age 21 or older have turned in 57,000 signatures to the DC Board of Elections. The total is more the twice the number of signatures from registered voters necessary to place the measure on the 2014 electoral ballot.

    District of Columbia election officials will meet in mid-August to certify the measure for the ballot.

    The proposed ballot initiative (Initiative Measure 71) seeks to remove all criminal and civil penalties in regard to the adult possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to six plants (no more than three mature).

    Nearly two out of three District residents favor legalizing the possession and use of marijuana by adults, according to a January 2014 Washington Post poll.

    Even if approved by District voters this fall, members of the DC City Council still possess the authority to amend the measure. Members of Congress could also potentially halt the law’s implementation. Federal lawmakers possess oversight regarding the implementation of all District laws.

    This spring, DC city council members approved legislation reducing minor marijuana possession offenses to a $25 civil fine. That ordinance is scheduled to take effect later this month. However, federal legislation seeking to undermine this measure is presently pending in the US House of Representatives.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Washington’s first state-licensed retail cannabis operators opened for business this morning.

    The state’s Liquor Control Board issued 24 marijuana retailer licenses late last week. (Under state regulations, the Board may issue up to 334 licenses to retail facilities.) Of those, six opened for business today – the first day legal sales were permissible – according to the Associated Press.

    Retail sale prices for a gram of cannabis ranged from $10 to $20 per gram on opening day, according to news reports. Prices are expected to fall once additional retailers open and once existing retailers obtain additional supplies of the product.

    Similar state-licensed stores have been operating in Colorado since January 1.

    Voters in both states in 2012 approved ballot measures regulating the commercial production, retail sale, and adult use of cannabis.

    Voters in Alaska and Oregon will vote on similar measures this November.

    Said NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri: “Every day in America, hundreds of thousands of people engage in transactions involving the recreational use of marijuana, but only in two states – Colorado and Washington – do these transactions take place in a safe, above-ground, state-licensed facility where consumers must show proof of age, the product sold is of known quality, and the sales are taxed in a manner to help fund necessary state and local services.”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 2, 2014

    Washington’s first wave of state-licensed cannabis retail stores are anticipated to open for business next week. Initiative 502, approved by a majority of voters in November 2012, authorizes the establishment of state-licensed cannabis producers and retail sellers.

    The state’s Liquor Control Board is expected to begin issuing licenses on Monday, July 7. An estimated 20 retail stores are anticipated to open their doors later in the week. Similar state-sanction stores have been operating in Colorado since January 1.

    With only a small number of stores likely to be operational at first, regulators anticipate that consumers’ demand for legal cannabis may initially outpace supply. In Colorado, retailers struggled initially to meet consumer demand, resulting in temporarily inflated retail prices for cannabis. Prices have steadily fallen in Colorado as additional retailers have opened for business.

    Since the passage of Initiative 502, police filings for low-level marijuana offenses have fallen from over 5,000 annual arrests to just over one hundred.

    [UPDATE: Here is a list (c/o of the Seattle Post Intelligencer) of the first 24 state-licensed stores:

    WHIDBEY ISLAND CANNABIS COMPANY — 5826 S KRAMER RD STE, Langley
    WESTSIDE420 RECREATIONAL — 4503 OCEAN BEACH HWY, Longview
    VERDE VALLEY — 4007 MAIN ST, Union Gap
    TOP SHELF CANNABIS – 3857 HANNEGAN RD, Bellingham
    THE HAPPY CROP SHOPPE — 50 ROCK ISLAND RD, East Wenatchee
    SPOKANE GREEN LEAF — 9107 N COUNTRY HOMES BLVD, Spokane
    SPACE – 3111 S PINE ST, Tacoma
    SATORI/INSTANT KARMA — 9301 N DIVISION ST, Spokane
    NEW VANSTERDAM — 6515 E. MILL PLAIN BLVD, Vancouver
    MARGIE’S POT SHOP — 405 E STUEBEN, Bingen
    MAIN STREET MARIJUNA — 2314 MAIN ST, Vancouver
    HIGH TIME STATION — 1448 BASIN ST NW, Ephrata
    GREEN THEORY — 10697 MAIN ST STE B, Bellevue
    GREEN STAR CANNABIS — 1403 N DIVISION ST, Spokane
    FREEDOM MARKET — 820A WESTSIDE HWY, Kelso
    CREATIVE RETAIL MANAGEMENT — 7046 PACIFIC AVE,Tacoma
    CASCADE KROPZ — 19129 SMOKEY POINT BLVD, Arlington
    CANNABIS CITY — 2733 4TH AVE S, Seattle
    BUD HUT — 1123 E STATE ROUTE 532, Camano Island
    AUSTIN LOTT — 29 HORIZON FLATS RD, Winthrop
    ALTITUDE – 260 MERLOT DR, Prosser
    4US RETAIL — 23251 HWY 20, Okanogan
    420 CARPENTER — 422 CARPENTER RD, Lacey
    2020 SOLUTIONS – 2018 IRON ST, Bellingham
    ]

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