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Law Washington state has legal cannabis


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Washington Marijuana Information
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Washington, coincidentally nicknamed The Evergreen State has become one of the most marijuana friendly areas of the country. Medicinal cannabis has been legal since 1998 and on Nov. 3, 2012, Washington residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana. The general attitude towards the herb is very relaxed, especially in the Seattle area. Every August, when Seattle hosts the iconic Hempfest, you will see the Seattle Police cruising around on bicycles handing out munchies along with the laws about marijuana use in the state of Washington.

Initiative 502 is the law passed that allows for the cultivation and recreational use of weed for individuals 21 and up. In the years since legalization, a number of legal recreational marijuana shops have appeared all over Washington – here is a map to find one near you. Shopping at one of these stores to ensure that your purchases are legal. You can also examine the packaging of your pot products to ensure legality – each legal item will be clearly labeled with the total THC percentage. Edibles serving sizes will not exceed 10 milligram serving sizes. You should always be able to receive a receipt following your purchase at a recreational store.

There are limits to how much marijuana you can purchase and possess at one time. You can only hold one ounce of marijuana flower (28 grams), 7 grams of extract for inhalation, 16 ounces of infused product in solid form, or 72 oz. in beverage form for both edibles and topicals.

If you drive after smoking marijuana, you can be arrested and convicted of a DUI so do not get behind the wheel if you have partaken. Washington has a legal limit of 5 Nanograms/mL of blood and it applies in a similar fashion to the .08 Blood Alcohol Content test. Seattle has a lot of public transportation, and you can always call a cab or use UBER/Lyft. Transporting weed across state lines is illegal and strongly discouraged.

If you find yourself in need of help regarding a DUI, here is a list of qualified lawyers: Washington

The best advice we can give for tourists looking to partake in the cannabis culture is discretion. It’s best to keep your marijuana use out of public areas, but if you must smoke out in the open, a discreet vape pen is your best option.

Washington Medical Marijuana Law


Law Signed:
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Intractable pain
  • Persistent muscle spasms, and/or spasticity
  • Nausea
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizures
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Any "terminal or debilitating condition"
Those entered in the state's voluntary patient database may possess: 48 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form; 3 ounces of useable marijuana; 216 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form; or 21 grams of marijuana concentrates.

Those entered in the state's voluntary patient database may cultivate, in his or her domicile, up to 6 plants for the personal medical use and possess up to 8 ounces of useable marijuana produced from his or her plants. If the health care professional determines that the medical needs of a qualifying patient exceed the amounts provided, the health care professional may specify on the authorization that it is recommended that the patient be allowed to grow, in his or her domicile, up to 15 plants, yielding up to 16 ounces, of usable marijuana for the personal medical use of the patient.

If a qualifying patient has not been entered into the medical marijuana authorization database, he/she may grow, in his or her domicile, up to 4 plants for the personal medical use of the qualifying patient and 6 possess up to six ounces of useable marijuana in his or her domicile.

More information on patient possession limits »

No, but retail providers may also engage in the sale of medial cannabis.

  • Wash. Rev. Code §§ 69.51A - 69.51A.901 (2007)
  • Wash. Rev. Code §§69.51A.010, 69.51A.040 (2007)
Yes, designated provider is a person who has been designated in writing by a patient to serve as a designated provider. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. The provider must also possess either authorization from the qualifying patient's health care professional or has been entered into an authorized database. The provider must only provide cannabis to the expressed patient.

  • A voluntary registration system is in effect. To date, an estimated 12,000 patients are registered with the program.

Washington State Department of Health
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WIRE: Washington retail cannabis sales spiked 79 percent on 4/20

Posted on April 25, 2017 by SueVo in News, Wire // 0 Comments


SEATTLE Lemonhaze.com, the leading real-time provider of cannabis data, released live market data for April 20, 2017, the de facto “black Friday of the cannabis market.”

“April 20th is the fourth biggest sales day of the year for Washington marijuana retailers behind only New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving,” remarked Brian Yauger, president of lemonhaze.com.

For April 20, 2017, lemonhaze.com calculated a 79 percent jump in daily sales revenue, compared to the average daily sales for the first 19 days of April. Lemonhaze also calculated a 73 percent jump in daily sales compared to the average Thursday in 2017.

“420 was a monster success this year. We had all hands on deck and still barely kept up with it. It’s the best holiday of the year,” according to Alden Linn, owner of World of Weed retail shop in Tacoma.

Recreational marijuana is one of the fastest-growing industries in the county. Currently Washington State has 365 active retailers compared to 251 this time last year. In the last year, there has been a 45 percent increase in the number of cannabis retail stores in Washington, and a 61 percent increase in sales between April 20, 2016 and April 20, 2017.

According to retail owner Ian Eisenberg of Uncle Ike’s, Washington’s second largest retailer in 2016,

“420 was bonkers! Two years ago, it was primarily pot heads celebrating 420. This year it was moms, dads, grannies and everyone else excited about getting high! God bless America!”

About Lemonhaze.com

Lemonhaze.com publishes hourly live charts of the top selling cannabis products in Washington State across nine categories including packaged flower, pre-rolls, cartridges and edibles. The charts lock at 4:20pm each day. Lemonhaze.com sources information via live data connections with well over 100 licensed cannabis retailers, processors, and producers in Washington State.
WIRE: Washington retail cannabis sales spiked 79 percent on 4/20

Posted on April 25, 2017 by SueVo in News, Wire // 0 Comments


SEATTLE Lemonhaze.com, the leading real-time provider of cannabis data, released live market data for April 20, 2017, the de facto “black Friday of the cannabis market.”

“April 20th is the fourth biggest sales day of the year for Washington marijuana retailers behind only New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving,” remarked Brian Yauger, president of lemonhaze.com.

For April 20, 2017, lemonhaze.com calculated a 79 percent jump in daily sales revenue, compared to the average daily sales for the first 19 days of April. Lemonhaze also calculated a 73 percent jump in daily sales compared to the average Thursday in 2017.

“420 was a monster success this year. We had all hands on deck and still barely kept up with it. It’s the best holiday of the year,” according to Alden Linn, owner of World of Weed retail shop in Tacoma.

Recreational marijuana is one of the fastest-growing industries in the county. Currently Washington State has 365 active retailers compared to 251 this time last year. In the last year, there has been a 45 percent increase in the number of cannabis retail stores in Washington, and a 61 percent increase in sales between April 20, 2016 and April 20, 2017.

According to retail owner Ian Eisenberg of Uncle Ike’s, Washington’s second largest retailer in 2016,

“420 was bonkers! Two years ago, it was primarily pot heads celebrating 420. This year it was moms, dads, grannies and everyone else excited about getting high! God bless America!”

About Lemonhaze.com

Lemonhaze.com publishes hourly live charts of the top selling cannabis products in Washington State across nine categories including packaged flower, pre-rolls, cartridges and edibles. The charts lock at 4:20pm each day. Lemonhaze.com sources information via live data connections with well over 100 licensed cannabis retailers, processors, and producers in Washington State.

CANNABIS is safe!
Leafly Investigation: Is Washington's Top Cannabis Lab Inflating THC Numbers?

Tobias Coughlin-Bogue
April 28, 2017
A recent complaint submitted to regulators at the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) by a group of industry members accuses Peak Analytics, the state’s largest cannabis testing lab, of consistent and large-scale inaccuracies. The complaint alleges that Peak has been sweetening its THC content tests—reporting artificially high THC levels—and rejecting an abnormally low proportion of cannabis samples for microbial contamination.

If true, the alleged practices would give Peak Analytics a significant competitive advantage over rival labs by making a client’s cannabis batches appear cleaner and more potent than they actually are.

In an emailed statement to Leafly News, a Peak representative said the lab “meets all state, local, and WSLCB mandated regulations” and that its testing methods are scientifically valid.

The complaint was provided to Leafly by the Washington Cannabis Laboratory Association, a group of state-licensed testing labs formed last year to promote industry standards.

The Cannabis Laboratory Association’s data analysis of 2016 testing results showed a significant discrepancy between the results of potency tests conducted by Peak Analytics and potency tests carried out by the state’s next five largest labs. On average, Peak’s flower samples clocked in at about five percentage points more THC than its competitors.


(Amy Phung/Leafly)
“These data indicate that Peak Analytics is producing data for flower well outside what should be considered industrywide normative outcomes,” the complaint reads. In other words, the flower across Washington’s cannabis market simply shouldn’t yield those results.

“Traceability data demonstrate that this over-reporting is consistent through time and across grow spaces,” the complaint continues. “The data depicted in the graph represent tens of thousands of samples.”

If the lab has been artificially inflating THC content in its reports, then customers purchasing cannabis produced by the lab’s clients may have gotten less than they paid for.

The complaint also includes three other items of evidence alleging that Peak has been producing untrustworthy results:

  • A cannabis farmer took samples from the same flower lot to eight different labs, with the results showing a 13% spread in the results. Peak was the lab providing the highest THC percentage of the eight labs, a full 5.6% higher than the nearest lab. The results were published in a Feb. 17 position paper by the Cannabis Farmers Council (CFC).
  • In a competitive retail market, where higher potency can result in greater sales, Peak’s practices have become so well known that some retailers now allegedly use the lab specifically to secure inflated potency percentages and a higher-value product. “Retailers have noticed that when their marijuana vendors switch testing services to Peak Analytics their potency values go up by 1.5 x,” the complaint claims. “Some retailers have begun requesting their buyers test at Peak Analytics, knowing that it sells better with higher numbers.” Growers and processors contacted by Leafly News confirmed that the practice is common.
  • A data scientist and independent cannabis industry watchdog, Jim MacRae, published data that he says corroborates these claims. MacRae’s data, collected between September 2015 and December 2016, shows a similar gap in potency results between Peak Analytics and its competitors, as well as a gap in microbial fail rates. In every month that MacRae collected data for Peak except December 2015, the lab failed less than 5% of samples. By contrast, labs that MacRae deemed to be objective—based on his assessment of historical testing results—never failed fewer than 10% of samples.

Is it possible this is all a fluke? A methodological difference?

Nick Mosely doesn’t think so. Mosely is chief science officer at Confidence Analytics, one of Peak’s competitors and a party to the complaint.

“While it is true that in many areas of our work, cannabis science is in need of standardization,” Mosely told Leafly, “it is also true that adequate standards already exist for the relatively simple task of measuring THC in a flower or concentrate.”

“Given that the lab in question is testing the same population of marijuana flower as are the rest of the labs in Washington, it’s hard to imagine a good excuse for having such obviously biased THC results.”

Overall, the evidence presented against Peak suggests a consistent pattern of inflating THC results and almost never failing cannabis for microbial growth, which the complaint alleges is a clear indication of unethical and potentially illegal behavior.

“Not only is the motive obvious,” the complaint says, “the evidence indicates that they took—and continue to take—the opportunity to provide consistently biased results despite having been notified in a documentable way.”

Reached via email Friday, Peak representative Tom Hubbell sent the following response:

Peak Analytics Laboratory Testing Services, LLC. meets all state, local, and WSLCB mandated regulations. Our methods are validated based on the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and were approved by scientific examiners from the R.J. Lee Group as part of our WSLCB certification. We were recertified for the second time in November 2016 by the WSLCB under the advisory of the RJ Lee Group, at which time our data, methods, instrumentation, SOPs, and personnel were all evaluated and approved. We participated in and passed the proficiency tests in the fall of 2016 that was approved by the WSLCB and administered by Emerald Scientific and NSI Lab Solutions.

We are currently participating in the Spring 2017 ILC/PT for potency and residual solvents offered by Emerald Scientific and approved by the WSLCB. The microbial PT was taken through NSI Lab Solutions and approved by the WSLCB. The testing for the spring round of ILC/PT’s will be completed and submitted before May 5th. Results for the spring round of ILC/PT’s are available in early June. We fully expect to pass the spring round of proficiency tests.

Peak Analytics wholeheartedly supports the standardization of the QA cannabis testing industry in the state of WA. A group of certified labs, in cooperation with The Cannabis Alliance, has formed to identify challenges in the industry, open dialogue amongst industry members, and establish potential opportunities for collaboration. The discussions will focus around quality assurance standardization and advancement. We are looking forward to actively participating in the group that meets for the first time on May 15th in Ellensburg.

If the allegations are true, cannabis consumers are being swindled on a massive scale. THC percentage is the primary metric consumers use to make purchasing decisions. And in the case of microbial screening, underreporting the presence of biological contaminants might put consumers and medical patients at risk of serious harm. Earlier this year, two young leukemia patients in California, who had recently consumed cannabis, developed severe lung infections from the same type of fungus. One man died of the rare infection. Subsequent testing of medical marijuana samples from Northern California dispensaries revealed the widespread presence of bacteria and fungi—including the rare fungus that killed the patient.

Unethical lab behavior ultimately cheats consumers, but it also cheats the industry as a whole. If one lab is caught cheating, consumer confidence in the system breaks down. If cheating goes undetected or unpunished, market forces create incentives for other labs to cheat.

“It is an immeasurably large financial burden to our industry when some labs are allowed to continue even when the discrepancy is obvious,” the complaint says. “It leads to a terrible imbalance in the data [Washington’s cannabis industry] collectively produces, it disrupts the supply of quality marijuana, and it creates misperceptions among the public about how to correctly select and dose marijuana products.”

Those misperceptions also put cannabis suppliers between a rock and a hard place. Because customers see THC as such an all-important measure of cannabis quality, retailers are hungry for products that are extraordinarily high in THC.

(Cont with extensive additional great content but too long to post in whole)
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That above was some great information about testing. I've wondered about some of the THC levels. @Baron23. Now that this has been discovered they realize they can't get away with what they were doing. I'm glad there are folks keeping an eye on things. The moldy weed is unacceptable plus dangerous.

There's probably still cannabis out there from this lab in stores. I wonder what the stores are doing about this? I will ask when I go shopping, which will be soon.
Wow... This is really discouraging. It's one thing to hear a small, independent lab isn't accurate. But when it's the top lab? Makes you wonder what the kick back was; doesn't it?
That above was some great information about testing. I've wondered about some of the THC levels. @Baron23. Now that this has been discovered they realize they can't get away with what they were doing. I'm glad there are folks keeping an eye on things. The moldy weed is unacceptable plus dangerous.

There's probably still cannabis out there from this lab in stores. I wonder what the stores are doing about this? I will ask when I go shopping, which will be soon.

Hi gals - not sure if you read the rest of the article via the link (oh shit, which you couldn't do because I never embedded the link which is now corrected), but there was much more discussion of the impact of test results on cultivators ability to market their product....THC levels in particular. So, "what was the kick-back". Its dispensaries only wanting to buy product that has been tested by the 'high THC' lab and not others. As I said, I embedded the link now in the title and suggest reading the rest of it. Not good, IMO, but greed has seemed to stand the test of time so why am I surprised and disappointment by this behavior?
So, "what was the kick-back". Its dispensaries only wanting to buy product that has been tested by the 'high THC' lab and not others. As I said, I embedded the link now in the title and suggest reading the rest of it. Not good, IMO, but greed has seemed to stand the test of time so why am I surprised and disappointment by this behavior?
I read the rest of the article. Thanks for providing the link. :smile:

My point, before, was that the kickback wasn't just that. The dispensaries only wanted to buy product that had been tested at a high THC content by this lab. So who was growing that cannabis? Was it also one of the 'biggest' growers or the smaller grows? I have a funny feeling that this is all 'big business.' Just my :twocents:

And it's not that I'm against people who form a business based on a large grow. It's when principles are put aside for profit that I have issue.
I read the rest of that article too. I read about what's going on in CA. The testing is a problem all over. I'm just glad that it's being talked about. Hopefully something can be done. I read an old article from 2015 in WA regarding testing and problems, they need to get it together.
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Washington State to enforce proficiency testing on marijuana testing labs

According to New Cannabis Ventures, after a bit of friction ensued pertaining to the efficiency and accuracy of enforced cannabis lab tests and a public call for action by Steep Hill, Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has instituted a set of emergency rules in relation to proficiency testing:

Emergency Rule-making
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board approved Emergency Rules to create WAC 314-55-1025Proficiency testing and WAC 314-55-1035 Laboratory certification – Suspension and revocation.

WAC 314-55-1025 Proficiency testing

Proficiency testing is an industry standard with labs and permits the Board to have knowledge regarding whether labs can accomplish dependable, accurate, valid results, and will facilitate uniformity and consistency of labs testing marijuana in Washington.

WAC 314-55-1035 Laboratory certification – Suspension and revocation

Supplies outlets for the LCB to suspend or deny a laboratory’s certification if the lab fails to abide by the conditions for certification, does not consistently acquire accurate results, or engages in activities that make the lab ineligible to continue to be certified to test marijuana.

The emergency rules became effective April 6, 2016, and expire August 4, 2016. During that time the Board will pursue permanent rulemaking on the topic.

The rules mandate that the labs pass a test in each area that it claims proficiency (pesticide, microbial, potency, residual solvent, heavy metal, mycotoxin, foreign matter and/or moisture content detection) and then pass at least two out of the three next successive rounds of testing. The labs will be tested at least twice a year. WSLCB has also imposed several additional grounds for suspension besides failing to pass on-going tests. Three violations within a three-year period would result in license revocation.

Download the emergency rules: Washington Cannabis Lab Proficiency Testing

I've read where the labs can get different results depending on where they take the sample from the cannabis plant. Certain areas yeald different results. They should take 3 samples from a plant in different areas and take the median score. Just my opinion. Often the higher THC levels are at least 2 or 3 dollars more per gram. It looks like I've probably been been ripped off a time or two. I want stated on the label who did the testing on my product.
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Washington State Cannabis Laws: Change is Coming
By Daniel Shortt on April 23, 2017

The Washington State Legislature recently passed SB 5131, which contains many tweaks to Washington’s cannabis laws. The measure now awaits signature by Washington Governor Jay Inslee. Here are ten ways SB 5131 could change Washington’s marijuana market if Governor Inslee signs it into law:

  1. Homegrown Marijuana. SB 5131 would allow licensed marijuana producers to sell immature cannabis plants, clones, and seeds to qualifying patients who enter the state’s medical marijuana database. Patients who choose not to enter the database may grow up to four plants in their homes under current Washington law and it’s not clear how those patients would legally acquire immature plants, clones, or seeds in light of SB 5131. Additionally, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (“LCB”) must examine the viability of allowing recreational users to grow their own marijuana in a way that complies with the enforcement priorities outlined in the Cole Memo.
  2. Retail License Ownership. Under this bill, a retailer or individual “with a financial or other ownership interest in” a retail license can own up to five retail licenses. Current Washington State law limits an individual from having an ownership interest in more than three licensed retailers.
  3. Forfeiting applications. The bill would require the LCB forfeit retail licenses that have been issued but are not operational and open to the public after two years unless the delay in opening and getting operational is due to circumstances beyond the licensee’s control. However, the LCB may not require forfeiture if the licensee has been unable to open because of a town or county’s moratorium prohibiting a retail cannabis store or because zoning, licensing or other regulatory measures prevent the retail store from opening.
  4. Processing Hemp. The LCB must study the viability of allowing licensed processors to process industrial hemp grown in Washington. This could eventually lead to legislation that would allow processors to purchase cannabis plant material from farmers licensed to grow industrial hemp. Currently, processors may only purchase products from licensed cannabis producers or other processors.
  5. Advertising. SB 5131 would make the following substantial changes to cannabis advertising laws in Washington.
    1. Advertising to Kids. The bill would prohibit marijuana licensees from taking “any action directly or indirectly to target youth in the advertising, promotion, or marketing of marijuana and marijuana products, or take any action the primary purpose of which is to initiate, maintain, or increase the incidence of youth use of marijuana or marijuana products.” This includes prohibiting using toys, movie or cartoon characters, or other images that would cause youth to be interested in marijuana. It also prohibits using a “commercial mascot” which is defined as “a live human being, animal, or mechanical device used for attracting the attention of motorists and passersby so as to make them aware of marijuana products or the presence of a marijuana business.” This includes inflatable tube displays, persons in costumes, and sign spinners. Cities and counties would be free to further restrict marijuana advertising.
    2. Outdoor Advertising. Billboards visible from any street, road, highway, right-of-way, or public parking area cannot be used to advertise cannabis, except that a marijuana retailer may use a billboard solely to identify the name or nature of its business and directions to its retail store. Outdoor signs could not contain depictions of marijuana plants, products, or images that appeal to children. Outdoor advertising would be prohibited in “arenas, stadiums, shopping malls, fairs that receive state allocations, farmers markets, and video game arcades.” A limited exception would allow outdoor advertising at events where only adults are permitted.
  6. Gifting Marijuana. Adults twenty-one and over would be allowed to deliver marijuana to other adults so long as the marijuana is offered as a gift without financial remuneration and so long as the amount of marijuana gifted is no more than the amount an adult can legally possess in Washington — one ounce of useable marijuana flower.
  7. Licensing. This bill would allow a licensed marijuana business to enter into licensing agreements or consulting contracts “with any individual, partnership, employee cooperative, association, nonprofit corporation, or corporation” for goods or services, trademarks, and trade secrets or proprietary information. Licensees would be required to disclose these agreements to the LCB.
  8. Public Disclosure. SB 5131 would exempt trade secrets and other proprietary information of a licensed marijuana business from disclosure under Washington’s Public Disclosure Act.
  9. “Organic” Weed. The bill instructs the LCB to adopt regulations for marijuana similar to products certified as organic under federal regulations. The organic standard is granted pursuant to federal regulations and because marijuana is illegal under federal law, it cannot qualify under those federal standards. The LCB would adopt regulations so that marijuana could be grown in a way that mimics organic products. The products then could be labeled as compliant with the state’s standards.
  10. Tribal Oversight. SB 5131 would require the LCB receive approval from a federally recognized Indian Tribe before granting a license on tribal land.
Governor Inslee is likely to sign SB 5131 into law, though he may veto certain parts of the bill. Stakeholders in Washington’s cannabis market should keep an eye on this legislation and prepare to make changes necessary to comply with SB 5131 if and when it gets signed.
Governor Legalizes Smoking Weed With Friends and Allows State To Certify "Organic" Cannabis
by Lester Black • May 16, 2017 at 2:50 pm


This is not a photo of Governor Inslee sharing weed with someone. Although as of today, he would be allowed to! GETTY IMAGES

Earlier today, Governor Jay Inslee signed that big "omnibus bill" of pot laws that cleared the Washington legislature last month. The omnibus bill combined more than a dozen different legal changes to cannabis law in our state, including forward progress on legalizing growing pot at home and creating the country’s first state-run organic certification program for weed.

only private companies had provided any organic certification.

The Department of Agriculture is now setting out to create the rules for the new program. Kathy Davis, a spokesperson for the department, couldn't give an estimate for when the first pot farm would be certified, saying in an e-mail that the rulemaking process could "take several months to as long as a year. No certifications will be issued until the rules are complete and have been adopted."

The department hasn't lined up a replacement for the term "organic," so I put a few ideas in a poll at the end of this post. If you have better ideas than mine, put them in the comments. The state is seeking comment from outside stakeholders on what the term should be and program's rules. Feel free to send your ideas to organic@agr.wa.gov.

And there's plenty of other stuff in the bill the governor signed today, including:

Medical weed patients can now buy seeds and pot plants from producers. After the state shuttered the medical system in 2015 patients lost this ability, forcing them into the black market to find seeds. This returns that right to patients.

• LCB will study the feasibility of allowing every adult over 21 the right to grow pot at home. We are the only state with recreational legalization that doesn't allow this. The LCB will now be forced to say why we should or should not be able to grow our own pot.

• Weed businesses can no longer depict pot plants or cartoons on any billboards.

• The state will study legalizing industrial hemp production. It is still illegal to grow hemp, the version of the cannabis plant with no psychoactive effects but big industrial potential, even though we allow drug version of cannabis. This law forces the state to study how to legalize hemp and what the possible effects of legalizing hemp would be.

Since we can't use the word "organic," what term should the state use?

    • Organja
    • Certified Dank
    • Superb Herb
    • Raw Reefer
    • Maui Earth-Friendly Wowie
    • All Natural Nugs
    • Pesticide-Free Pakalolo

Washington's Top Cannabis Lab Hit with Suspension

In late April, Leafly News reporter Tobias Coughlin-Bogue reported that complaints had been submitted to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) by a group of industry members that accused one of the state’s largest cannabis testing labs of “consistent and large-scale inaccuracies.” According to the Cannabis Laboratory Association, a group of state-licensed testing labs that was formed to promote industry standards, data analysis of 2016 testing results showed significant differences between the results of potency tests conducted by Peak and potency tests carried out by some of the other large testing labs in the state.

At the time, a Peak representative said the lab met “all state, local, and WSLCB mandated regulations” and that its testing methods were scientifically valid.

Three months later, there’s been a change in the lab’s state licensing status. Late last week, the WSLCB confirmed that Peak Analytics’ lab certificate was suspended by the Board on July 26.

According to a WSLCB spokesperson, Peak was the subject of an audit by the RJ Lee Group, an industrial forensics analytical laboratory and scientific consulting firm out of Pittsburgh. The WSLCB told Leafly that the audit found some deficiencies in need of improvement. The RJ Lee Group recommended that the WSCLB suspend Peak Analytics’ certificate pending the fixing of the deficiencies.

Peak has the opportunity to put the company’s license back in good standing by correcting the issues RJ Lee Group brought up in the audit. If the lab does that, the RJ Lee Group would then check to see if those issues were fixed—and recommend that the LCB recertify the lab.

When asked for comment, Peak Analytics sent this message to Leafly via email:

On June 15th, 2017 an audit was performed by the WSLCB in conjunction with the RJ Lee Group at Peak Analytics Laboratory (Peak). The findings from the audit were delivered to Peak on Monday, July 24th 2017. Peak provided validation studies, documentation, and additional information requested in the audit findings to the RJ Lee Group on Tuesday July 25th 2017. The documents and data in response to the findings are currently in a technical review process. Peak Analytics is working closely with the RJ Lee Group to address and correct the findings as quickly as possible. We greatly appreciate the continued support we have received from our colleagues and are confident that this is just a bump in the road and we will make it through stronger than ever!

It’s not known whether the deficiencies uncovered by the RJ Lee Group were connected to the concerns raised by many of Peak’s competitors earlier this year, as previously reported by Leafly News.

Cities not seeing much tax revenue from marijuana; Legislature diverting it to fund education

More than three years after recreational marijuana sales began in Washington, cities are seeing less and less of the pot revenue the state once promised.

As cities struggle with budgets, they’re going to feel the pain from money they aren’t getting, said Association of Washington Cities government relations advocate Candice Bock.

Of the $550 million in marijuana taxes expected to be generated next year, cities where sales are allowed had been expected to share in $15 million of the state’s revenue in each of the next two years and $20 million starting in 2020. But now the state says it will only share $6 million statewide for the foreseeable future.

That’s in part because legislators voted earlier this year to use part of the revenue to boost basic education funding as required by a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling.

As it now stands, Yakima expects to get $124,000 each year.

“Seventy percent of our budget goes to public safety, so we probably wouldn’t have it earmarked to go there, but that is where it will get used. That’s the only place we’re growing in the budget,” said Yakima interim budget and finance director Tara Lewis, who added she understands the state’s need to divert the money to schools.

Lewis compared the money to coming home from work with an additional $100.

“We appreciate any revenue we can pick up, obviously, but for the city of Yakima (decreasing the money going to cities) wasn’t a good idea,” she said.

To the south, Union Gap has reaped more than half a million dollars since 2014 because it allowed marijuana retail earlier than other cities and thus got a larger share of the revenue. The city has funneled that money into youth programs including a summer camp, skate park and padding a reserve fund for playground equipment and other park improvements.

“It’s all about providing a positive structured environment so children can use a positive decision making skills,” said City Manager Arlene Fisher-Maurer. “There’s a hope that as they get older they make the right decisions.”

But there could be more money for cities in the future.

Bock said if the state sees an increase in general revenue, legislators could increase the marijuana money going to cities.

Lawmakers say if the next revenue forecast in February is $18 million more than the last forecast, the share of marijuana taxes going to cities could rise to $15 million.
So take that, Jeff "I can't ever get my facts right" Sessions.

Teen Use of Marijuana Did Not Rise in Washington State After Legalization

“Preliminary” findings from a new report cultivated by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) indicate that youthful marijuana consumption did not increase after voters passed the state’s adult use marijuana initiative in 2012.

As part of the passage of Initiative 502, the WSIPP is obligated to produce recurring reports for the legislature’s review in “2015, 2017, 2022 and 2032.”

These insightfully compiled data points are intended to provide a glimpse of the overall cost-benefit analysis of Washington state’s legalization efforts, examining teenage marijuana use and the state’s drugged driving data, as well as looking for any increased marijuana use among parents.


Washington state: Youthful cannabis use since legalization

“The report arrives shortly after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticized implementation of legal pot in Washington,” according to the Seattle Times.

“In my overall appraisal, there’s not much evidence I-502 has caused changes in the outcomes we looked at, said Adam Darnell, the report’s lead researcher.” Darnell contradicts the AG’s recent letter that cites findings from a 2016 report by the Northwest High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

Per the HIDTA report, the youth impacts of legal marijuana in Washington are:

  • One in five 10th grade students reported riding with a driver who had used marijuana – 9% reported driving within three hours of consumption
  • During 2013-2014, 48% of statewide student expulsions and 42% of suspensions directly involved marijuana
  • 98% of the student drug violations within the Seattle Public Schools from September 2013 to May of 2014 involved marijuana
  • In 2014, youth under the age of twenty made up 45% of statewide Poison Center calls – since legalization in 2012, these calls have increased to 80%
  • Youth treatment admissions for marijuana have remained between 66% and 70% of overall admissions since 2010
But an up-to-date “snapshot” examining the ramifications of legalized marijuana by the WSIPP indicates the following:

  • I-502 did not elevate cannabis abuse treatment admissions
  • I-502 did not increase youthful marijuana use
  • I-502 led to increased cannabis sales and consumption over the past 30 days for respondents 21 and older who reside in certain counties
The report generated by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy utilized data gathered by the Washington Healthy Youth Survey (HYS). Administered on a bi-annual basis on even numbered years, the HYS found youthful marijuana consumption “in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12,” has been “stable or fallen slightly” since I-502 was passed by Washington’s voters.


Marijuana Use among Washington State Adolescents Remain Stable

Down dramatically, Washington’s data indicates the number of state-funded admissions for abuse of marijuana in the Evergreen State has fallen since 2008; the number fell in the three years following the enactment of I-502, tumbling from 7,843 in 2012, to just 6,142 in 2015 (the most recent year available).
Washington state looks at options for personal pot grows
While adults in Washington can buy recreational marijuana from scores of stores, it remains illegal to grow your own without a medical card.

But now the state is investigating options that could allow such grows.

Opponents say home grows would be difficult to regulate and would decrease retail sales, which, in turn, would reduce state revenues.

But supporters note that Washington is the only one of eight states allowing recreational marijuana sales that doesn’t allow residents to grow their own plants. Allowing home grows, they say, is simply the next logical step.

Under orders from the Legislature, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board is conducting a survey with three potential options allowing home grows.

“Ultimately, we’ll take the feedback from the public, other states — we’re meeting with people in the industry and just had a meeting from the Association of Washington Cities earlier this week — and present it to the Legislature,” said board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter.

The three options are considered a starting point to give residents and stakeholders something to respond to could be tweaked after the board gets feedback.

The options are:

• Tightly regulate recreational home grows and require residents to enter their plants into a state traceability system.

• Locally control recreational home grows, which doesn’t require residents to register their plants — but they must have a local permit.

• No change to the current system, allowing home grows only for medical marijuana patients and cooperatives.

Officials are expected to present the study findings to legislators no later than Dec. 1.

A main concern of opponents, including police, is the ability to regulate who is doing the growing, said Colorado Municipal League deputy director Kevin Bommer. Colorado is one of the seven states that allow any residents older than 21 to grow cannabis.

“There are plenty of news articles about homes being used as grow houses and, in some cases, coordinated by multiple people who are using it to traffic black- market marijuana in and outside Colorado’s borders,” he said. “That’s not very good for neighborhoods and communities.”

In the seven states allowing home grows, residents are restricted to a limited number of plants, among other restrictions. It’s unclear how often the rules are violated as police tend to concentrate on large-scale operations.

The survey option requiring residents to register their plants, in theory, could crack down on residents breaking the law. But some are skeptical that people would actually register their plants.

“How many people are really going to barcode their plants and put them in the traceability system? (Allowing home grows) is pandering to the black market,” said Ken Weaver, the owner of Slow Burn, a marijuana shop in Union Gap. “But don’t get me wrong, I think people should have the freedom to grow what they wish and consume what they wish.”

Others say home grows will reduce the number of people buying pot from retailers — decreasing taxes the state and cities are collecting.

“If a person is growing it on their own, obviously they won’t buy it at a store, so that’s a lost sale,” said Bommer, whose state legalized recreational home grows at the same time as recreational sales — making it hard to draw more than anecdotal conclusions on the impacts. “But we have multiple states that border Colorado and people flying in for marijuana tourism. So how much do Colorado residents growing their own versus buying marijuana impact retail sales? Who knows?”

At least two local retailers aren’t too worried.

“If commercial growers can’t compete with home grows, they shouldn’t be in business,” said Liz Hallock, owner of Sweet Relief, a recreational and medical marijuana store in Yakima.

Weaver said he believes an individual’s right to grow trumps the possibility of it hurting retail sales.

Some argue that people who could benefit from medical marijuana either can’t get a medical card allowing them to grow and can’t afford to buy at pot stores.

John Ramos, who’s a part of a local medical marijuana growing collective, supports home grown.

“If people can grow their own brew, they should be able to grow their own weed,” he said.

Former Yakima resident and marijuana advocate Jedidiah Haney likens it to people who grow organic produce: They know what’s in their marijuana because they grew it.

Hallock said the recent kidnapping and killing of a Cheney pot store worker shows a need to allow people to get marijuana legally without going to a store.

“We have steered too far from the free market model towards a police model that restricts supply to people who cannot afford the rec shops,” she said in an email to the board. “How many people are going to be murdered over marijuana this year in Washington? Is it really worth a little bit more tax revenue to shut down all access points to supply in favor of corporate need?”

In ordering the survey, the Legislature said any new recommendations must adhere to a 2013 U.S. Department of Justice memo.

The memo said states legalizing marijuana must maintain strict regulations tracing plants and products to ensure they’re not moved out of state or given to minors, gangs or cartels.

Carpenter said the Legislature could wait several years to take any action.

“In 2013 we did a study about the integration of medical marijuana and how to best regulate it and then the actual legislation for medical marijuana didn’t come around until 2015,” Carpenter said.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.....and how much home brewed beer ends up being sold in a black market or to minors.....this is a non-problem, IMO.

Washington State Gets an Earful on Legalizing Home-Grown Marijuana

Allowing folks to cultivate a little pot at home is a divisive subject among those engaged in the state’s legal marijuana industry, a regulatory panel learned Wednesday.

Growers, retailers, financiers and consumers voiced support, opposition and caution about lifting the state’s ban on home grows in a public hearing conducted by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.

The three-member panel is studying the idea at the behest of the Legislature. Its recommendations are due by Dec. 1.

Many of the nearly three dozen people who testified Wednesday endorsed legalizing home grows but opposed options under study because they impose too many regulations or give cities and counties too much power to ban them even if made legal by the state.

Several speakers said they use marijuana for medical reasons and want to grow at home. But they opposed the approaches under consideration out of fear they would, in the words of 74-year-old Diane Vasarkovy of Thurston County, be “policed in my own garden.”

As of Wednesday roughly 500 people had submitted written comments spanning a wide divide of opinion.

“Home grows should continue to be prohibited. The public passed the law with certain strict boundaries in place to protect the public. Eliminating these boundaries erodes these protections,” Sharice Lee, an intervention specialist at two high schools in Vancouver, wrote in an email.

Joel Colvos wrote he doesn’t use marijuana but it “seems silly to have legalized selling it but not being able to grow some at home. It’s just a plant. This is like legalizing tomatoes at the store but not allowing them to be grown at home. Please legalize!”

Washington voters in 2012 legalized marijuana use for adults 21 years and older. And a year ago the state merged its recreational and medical marijuana industries under one regulatory scheme.

However, of the eight states with legal markets for growing and selling marijuana for recreational use, Washington is the only one where home grows are not allowed.

Some in Washington voted against the initiative in 2012 because it did not expressly permit home grows, said Bailey Hirschberg, director of the Thurston County branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.

One of the state agency’s tasks in the study is to figure out if the state can allow home grows without breaching guidelines in the Cole memo issued in August 2013 by the Department of Justice. Its author was then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

In states where growing and selling marijuana is legalized, federal authorities said they want strict regulations tracing the product from seed to sale to prevent its diversion out of state or into the hands of drug dealers and cartels for illegal distribution. The memo also requires strong enforcement to prevent minors from getting access to marijuana.

Three options are getting looked at in the study of which two would allow home grows and one would not.

Under the first option, a household would need a permit for a home grow and would be limited to four plants. The state would regulate it like a large scale grower. All plants would need to be entered into the state traceability system and law enforcement could seize and destroy plants if they discover a household growing more than four plants.

The second option limits a household to four plants as well but does not require them to be entered into the state’s traceability system. While it contains the same requirements as the first option for such things as security and preventing minors from getting access to marijuana, it allows local jurisdictions to enact more restrictive rules including outright prohibitions.

The third option would ban home grows while preserving the ability of patients to grow marijuana for medical use. Current law allows a medical patient to have up to six plants if they have authorization from a medical provider, or up to 15 plants if they register with the state Department of Health Medical Marijuana Authorization Database and have a recognition card.

Jessica Johnson of Numerica Credit Union, a firm which serves marijuana businesses in Eastern Washington, endorsed that one, saying it ensures Washington does not run afoul of the Cole memo.

If home grows are allowed, she told the board, “it is our belief it would stretch enforcement resources beyond capacity and result in a loss of integrity in the strength of the state’s regulatory framework.”

Some in the marijuana industry fretted about a potential drop in customers; others didn’t. Several said it didn’t make sense to subject a household with four plants to the same regulatory oversight as one of their operations.

And Kevin Oliver, a licensed marijuana producer, pointed out the irony that he can’t do at home what he does at work.

“I grow tons of it but I can’t grow any of it in my own house,” he said.

Wednesday was the lone public hearing but comments will be accepted in writing or by email to rules@lcb.wa.gov until Oct. 11.
Washington's cannabis-tracking snafu could disrupt sales

Last week, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) threw the state’s cannabis industry into panic with the announcement that its new traceability system, MJ Freeway’s Leaf Data, wouldn’t be ready until Jan 1. The development set the stage for a two-month gap between software systems, as the contract with the state’s current provider, BioTrack THC, will expire on Oct. 31.

With US Attorney General Jeff Sessions already critical of Washington’s legal cannabis program, failure of the state’s track-and-trace monitoring could be devastating. One of the key provisions of the Cole memo, a Department of Justice document outlining enforcement priorities around state-legal cannabis, is that states ensure cannabis isn’t being diverted out of state or to the illegal market. Without a tracking system, however, that’s impossible to demonstrate.

In other words, as Washington’s cannabis industry switches systems, Sessions is likely to be watching closely.
The LCB tried to extend its contract with BioTrack, but talks fell apart after BioTrack cited unaddressed security concerns and the LCB dismissed them as unfounded.

That impasse triggered the LCB’s contingency plan: a system of spreadsheets submitted on a weekly basis. Use of the manual system sparked rumors of product shortages, and many observers worried the industry’s ability to function during an incredibly busy harvest season might grind to a halt.

Jim MacRae, a data scientist who monitors the Washington cannabis industry, has called the situation the “Great Traceability Meltdown of 2017,” and has theorized that, under the spreadsheet system, there could be “pickup trucks full of bales of fine Washington Cannabis driving out of the state.”

BioTrack’s Plan B
This past Thursday, in something of an end run around the state, BioTrack CEO Patrick Vo sent an open letter to the industry announcing that the company would continue operating its traceability system independently. Under the arrangement, cannabis businesses would be able to continue transferring products and tracking production as usual.

“We have no intention of giving the federal government any reason to give this industry a hard time,” Vo wrote. “BioTrack understands that even with manual spreadsheets, there needs to be some method of communication and data exchange between licensees regardless of which third-party commercial system you use.”

The Cole memo mandates that legal states keep close track of their cannabis, ensuring that none is shipped across state lines or diverted to the black market. The fear is that cannabis could get lost under the spreadsheet system, as state regulators would be responsible for manually reconciling records rather than an automated software system that covers all licensees.

“If someone is manually keying in, ‘Okay, I received Manifest #123, I have a dozen brownies with identifier #456, I have two dozen vape cartridges under #789,’ and they mis-input something—intentionally or from honest human error—it’s going to be a lot more difficult to track that down,” Vo said.

The LCB, for its part, has downplayed the transition. Brian Smith, the LCB’s director of communications, told Leafly that the state will collect exactly the same data it currently does, just on a less regular basis.

Data on destruction and transportation of cannabis will still be collected daily, he noted. And while he acknowledged it wasn’t an ideal system, he predicted that traceability enforcement—by far the agency’s highest priority for cannabis—wouldn’t suffer.

“We believe that we will enforce and we will be reviewing records, and we believe that most of our licensees will try and follow this new procedure correctly,” Smith said. “It’s too bad. We wish that there was more time and they wouldn’t have to make a change like this and it would happen automatically, but there is a period for two months that this will be in effect.”

Coordination is Key
Vo at BioTrack said it isn’t so much that the LCB won’t have access to the necessary data for enforcement, it’s that the data won’t be of much use to them if it’s not coordinated across the industry.

“The system we’re putting up just allows coordination,” he said. “If I’m using [the BioTrack inventory management client] and you’re using GreenBits, our systems can still exchange information. It’s going through the same switchboard.”

Having that information reconciled in real-time is crucial to the LCB’s ability to conduct traceability enforcement, he said. Reconciling by hand all the data submitted via spreadsheets could be prohibitively time-consuming for the LCB’s enforcement staff

“This is one of, if not the, busiest time for these licensees,” Vo said. “Even taking malicious diversion aside, the licensees have so much activity that there’s definitely a potential for creating a high-risk environment with respect to errors and inconsistencies.”

Cannabis businesses in Washington, meanwhile, universally agreed that maintaining a consistent traceability platform was essential for the industry to function.

“The worst possible outcome in all of this is a splintered solution, some of them free, some of them paid, with different processors having to integrate with different solutions in order to work with different retailers,” Bob Ramstad, owner of Seattle retailer Oz, wrote in a forum discussion about the situation.

As of Monday, BioTrack still plans to maintain the tracking platform, which will be offered free to all state licensees for 30 days. After that, the company plans to charge each licensee a $50 subscription fee, which it says will go to cover costs.

How the independent system will interface with the LCB is still undetermined. BioTrack spokesman Jeffrey Gonring said that having the central BioTrack system generate the necessary spreadsheets for all licensees, instead of leaving it up to the various third-party software providers, was a possibility, but that it wasn’t currently part of the system.

At least, Vo concluded, there is a system.

“Please remember that we are attempting to surf a wave in the wild here, so I can guarantee you that there will be turbulence as we go,” he wrote in his open letter.

“However, my team and I believe that this is our best option to avoid industry Armageddon and we will all band together to navigate these unpredictable waters as best we can.”
I think it's time for a little good news after today's announcement re: Sessions....

Eastern Washington Medical Marijuana Growers Acquitted on Four of Five Federal Charges
by Heidi Groover • Mar 3, 2015 at 7:08 pm


Rhonda Firestack-Harvey (center), her son Rolland Gregg (right), and Rolland's wife Michelle (left) were found guilty of growing marijuana, but not guilty of the four other federal charges they faced.HG

Considering the overwhelming evidence that they grew marijuana and the plainness of the federal law banning pot of any kind, a family of medical marijuana growers in Eastern Washington were handed the best realistically possible verdict from a federal jury late today.

The three remaining members of the group known as the "Kettle Falls Five" were found guilty of growing marijuana, but acquitted on all the other crimes they were accused of: conspiracy to grow and distribute, distribution, owning firearms "in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime," and—for one of the defendants, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey—maintaining a "drug-involved premise."

The jury found that the group grew fewer than 100 plants (but more than 50), which defense attorney Jeffrey Niesen says is likely to result in less than the five-year mandatory minimum they were facing for 100 plants or more. And, now that they'll no longer be in front of a jury, the family will be able to argue at sentencing that they were growing the plants for medical use.

The bigger threat to these defendants was the charge of owning guns "in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime," as prosecutors put it. Obviously, "drug trafficking" is not the reason this family owned guns, and thankfully the jury could see that.

A conviction on the firearms charge would have tacked on a further five-yearmandatory minimum prison sentence to whatever they got for the pot. The sentencing doesn't happen until early summer. If these defendants had been convicted of both the growing charge and the gun charge, defense attorney Niesen says, the judge would likely have been unwilling to reduce the mandatory minimum sentences when the time came.

When the case was handed over to the 12 jurors this morning, Niesen told me, "If we win that one [firearms] count, we really have won the case."

So, according to their own lawyer: They won.

After the court clerk read the verdict, Assistant US Attorney Earl Hicks tried to convince the judge to immediately send Rhonda to prison or require her to undergo electronic home monitoring, but the judge said he would only hear such a request through a written motion. Rhonda, whose 71-year-old husband, Larry, was dropped from the case after recently being diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer, said she was ready to make her case at sentencing, which is scheduled for June 10.

"Now," she told me, shivering in the evening air outside the federal courthouse in Spokane tonight, "we get to tell our truth."

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