Category Archives: Local updates

SENSIBLE WASHINGTON: Lawsuits have been filed to stop Mayor Murray’s crackdown on medical cannabis in Seattle!

Vodis leaf

Lawsuits have been filed to stop Mayor Murray’s crackdown on medical cannabis in Seattle! Sensible Washington will be holding a press conference TODAY, September 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm at 119 1st Ave S Suite 260, Seattle, WA 98104. If you can attend, please show up to support! SaveWAMMJ will be there.

Sensible Washington reports:

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for his recent crackdown on medical cannabis!

And:

… lawsuits against the state are currently in the works!

No LCB in my THC - WA state
 

More information from the JointBlog: Firms File Multiple Complaints Against Seattle Mayor to Protect Cannabis Patient’s Rights

Four attorneys representing three different law firms have filed suit to stop Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s crackdown on patients and purveyors in medical cannabis. They will be holding a joint press conference on September 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm at 119 1st Ave S Suite 260, Seattle, WA 98104.

Mayor Murray recently forced an Ordinance through the city council. Nick Lacata, who is not seeking reelection, introduced the Ordinance; the brain child of David Mendoza, the mayor’s cannabis czar. The Ordinance is the Mayor’s attempt to shutter at least 58 businesses within a month, without regard to patient access, or dispensary owners’ ability to properly conclude their business affairs.
The Ordinance threatens referral to law enforcement agencies. It effectively overrides a 2003 Ordinance, passed by the voters rather than city council, which ordered the both the city attorney and Seattle Police Department to completely deprioritize cannabis enforcement. The Ordinance further threatens fines in excess of a $1,000 per day against purveyors who continue to serve their patients.

The City began enforcement efforts in earnest, conducting sting operations throughout late August. The city now intends to begin assessing penalties and potential criminal actions immediately, based on its clandestine efforts.

The legal theories challenging the Mayor’s crackdown are numerous, as the Mayor’s Ordinance uses several questionable mechanisms. Attorneys Douglas Hiatt, Aaron Pelley and Jeff Steinborn, have joined forces to fight the City’s Ordinances and will argue the city has no authority to conduct the current crackdown.

Mr. Sean Badgley and several members of his team at C3 Law Group PLLC, intend to argue the city in effect lied to the dispensary owners when it issued business licenses in 2015, thereby encouraging patients and businesses alike to believe the mayor took patient access seriously. The attorneys will ask a court to order the city to cease its crackdown in injunction hearings set as soon as possible..

C3 Law Group PLLC is a law firm dedicated to the legitimate cannabis industry. It advocates for a free and fair cannabis market, and routinely represents clients against the state and local governments. – TheJointBlog

Advertisements

KUOW: Marijuana Stores Could Double In Washington State

IMG_1149

KUOW Reports: Marijuana Stores Could Double In Washington State

Washington could get lots more pot stores.

State regulators will allow medical marijuana providers to seek retail licenses later this fall. There are no strict limits on how many new licenses could be granted, and there is no requirement that they focus on medical patients.

This sounds like it could mean more competition. But it also means that all pot stores will be on equal footing.

The passage of Initiative 502 in 2012 launched Washington’s regulated marijuana system. But officials watched in dismay as hundreds of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries sprouted on street corners around the state. Now under a new state law, “gray market” marijuana providers must get state retail licenses or close their doors.

Liquor and Cannabis Board spokesman Brian Smith said the number of new licenses his agency can grant is open-ended.

“We want to take those people now that are operating in the gray market, so to speak, and be able to move into the fully regulated state system,” Smith said.

He said legislators estimate that 800 dispensary owners may seek the new licenses, and perhaps 400 will be eligible to receive them. So far, the Liquor and Cannabis Board has issued 196 retail licenses since pot became legal.

Geographic quotas and lotteries made retail licenses scarce and valuable when I-502 was implemented. For these new applicants, the approach will be different. They will likely get a license if they meet certain criteria: That they opened before the passage of I-502, paid their taxes and obtained local business licenses.

Smith said the number of marijuana retail stores in Washington could more than double as a result. That’s daunting news for existing store owners, but Smith said that way the licensees will be playing by the same rules.

He said when store owners testified during the legislative process, they complained they were competing with “people down the street who weren’t paying taxes or otherwise abiding by the same regulations that they were.”

In Seattle’s SODO neighborhood, Maria Moses is still putting the finishing touches on her recently opened marijuana retail store, Dockside SODO. She’s thrilled that it has room for parking and space to accommodate the city’s burgeoning marijuana tourism scene.

“We have a Japanese-language tour group that is interested in making this their regular stop,” Moses said.

Moses owns both retail stores and a medical marijuana dispensary in Fremont. She said legislators talked about retaining products and expertise for medical patients.

To give medical advice and award tax breaks for authorized patients, store owners must get a medical endorsement from the state. “If all these places are really going to get a medical endorsement, I think it’s a great thing for patients,” Moses said. But it’s not clear they will.

“It sort of sounds like they’re opening up the recreational retail market, but they’re not requiring that you get a medical endorsement,” she said. “To me, that’s just a back door to open up more recreational shops.”

For existing retailers, the new competition comes with one more challenge – buffer zones. Marijuana businesses must still be 1,000 feet from schools and playgrounds under federal law, but in the future they could be just 100 feet from parks and child care centers.

Dispensary owner John Davis predicts Seattle officials will choose to shrink those buffer zones, perhaps as soon as this fall.

“As far as the arcades, the child care centers, the locals have the option of taking that [buffer zone] down significantly and the city of Seattle is likely to do that,” Davis said. “And will it open up more real estate? Yeah.”

Moses said that if that happens, there will be a scramble for new store locations. “That actually frees up quite a few places, because there are a lot of day cares in this city,” she said.

But her business partner Aaron Varney says after the money they’ve spent building out their new store, they’re in no position to move. “We’re in a location today because of the 1,000-foot rule and it was a location that needed a lot of work to upgrade into a suitable retail environment,” he said.

For dispensaries that don’t get a license, both Seattle and King counties have sent them letters telling them their time is up.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said, “My goal is for those stores to be out of business. They need to comply with the law.”

This summer his office sent letters to 15 dispensaries in Skyway and White Center telling them to close. He said five have done so but at least 10 remain open. He doesn’t plan to arrest these business owners, but his office is preparing civil lawsuits against them.

“The next step is to share a draft of that lawsuit with selected stores and give them a choice – do you want to be sued, hauled into court, pay a lawyer, or are you willing to voluntarily shut the doors on a certain date that we’ll negotiate?” Satterberg said.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board expects to issue its proposed rules for the new round of retail licenses later this month. State law requires that all marijuana businesses obtain licenses or close by next July.

Viper’s Club Brings Attention to Secret Law Enforcement Meetings on MMJ

Press Release from the Vipers Club: “Viper’s Club Brings Attention to Secret Law Enforcement Meetings on MMJ

To all concerned,

We are hearing from sources in Olympia that the WSLCB will be participating in daytime meetings with medical cannabis stakeholders for seven meetings during the month of November, including non-profits and law enforcement, in addition to the ones scheduled in the evenings for the public.

This is more than a little disturbing to hear, especially considering the 17 violations of the Open Public Meetings Act committed by the board found by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller as reported by the Associated Press and other major news media back in November of 2014.

The WSLCB has not shown good faith when it comes to the issue of public accountability and the patient community’s concerns have largely been ignored in the past.

It becomes even more alarming considering the aggressive nature of law enforcement against the medical community lately. Recent news coming from King County out of the White Center press conference our reporters covered shows an active role by the WSLCB, becoming more involved in medical cannabis than just age compliance checks, well before the July 2016 date when collectives are to be closed.

Since we represent the most highly affected stakeholders (chronically ill patients) of the medical cannabis rule-making, we wish to remind you of the agency’s duty to inform the public when and where they can attend those daytime meetings with law enforcement and nonprofits as required by law.

Kirk Ludden as sponsor and Executive Director of I-1372, while falling short of qualifying for the November 2015 ballot, represents the 27,707 people who signed the initiative.

We trust the WSLCB will be open, transparent and inclusive of the public in all matters going forward in this process and hope this reminder serves to underscore how much this issue will be watched by our group and others. Providing transparency with all public records and the agency rule making file is vital to serving the people’s best interests. We trust the LCB will include a public scheduling of all board meetings with the list of all daytime and evening events listed together well in advance so the public is well represented.

Sincerely,

Executive Directors:
Kirk L
Brian S
Gina G
John N

Directors:
Marc R
Arthur W
Chris B (Registered Volunteer Lobbyist)
Stephanie V (Registered Volunteer Lobbyist)
Hugh N
THE VIPER’S CLUB

CC: Washington State Representatives
Media networks