Saturday, December 14, 2013

Recreational Marijuana Timeline

When licenses are issued in February, there will be a 15-day “don’t ask, don’t tell” period where cannabis producers may obtain seeds, starts and non-flowering marijuana plants from anywhere, without question. So, many of the first pot plants that people will be smoking recreationally, and legally, next year have already been planted.

As of November 18, cannabis entrepreneurs have 30 days to submit business license applications. The Washington State Liquor Control Board will review and process applications as they are received, however, retail applications will be held until the application deadline to determine whether or not the number of applications exceed the number of licenses allotted. In which case it will be necessary to conduct a lottery to decide who gets a license.

The State legislature will convene on January 13, 2014. The liquor board is planning to lobby for three pot-related bills at that time. The first one would allow selling pot among producers, and limit hash transactions to seven grams. The second bill would allow the liquor board to employ minors to conduct stings on pot businesses, and the third bill would make a state police force out of liquor board enforcement employees.

Once the agency has approved pot-growing licenses, in February or March, the first batch of plants will reach their final destinations. The state plans to license two million square feet of recreational cannabis production-enough for 200,000 full-grown plants.

Approved pot businesses have up to a year to activate their license, but it is expected that some of the 334 shops will try to open as quickly as the first crop can be harvested and processed, in May or June.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Election 2013: Landslide Victory for Legal Marijuana

Voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing possession of marijuana in the 2013 elections in Portland, Maine and three Michigan cities, proving the accuracy of recent polls that indicated a clear majority of Americans supported marijuana legalization.

The Portland initiative legalized recreational use of marijuana by adults age 21 and older, and allows them to legally possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana and paraphernalia. And while it legalized activities for the purpose of acquiring the possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, it prohibits recreational use in public places including school grounds.

The Portland Press Herald reports that 70 percent of voters approved the measure. While the votes attest to public willingness to make these changes, the real tests will come in 2014 for Alaska and Oregon, and many other states in 2016, when legalized and taxed recreational markets come up for votes.

Voters in Lansing, Jackson and Ferndale, Michigan approved the legalization of the use or possession of up to an ounce of marijuana on private property by anyone age 21 years or older. Lansing residents voted to amend the city’s charter to legalize the possession, use and transfer of an ounce of marijuana by a 63 percent majority. Jackson passed a similar measure by 60 percent and Ferndale voters approved one as well by a 69 percent majority.