Story Summary

Voters say ‘Yes’ to marijuana measure

In the Nov. 6 general election, Washington voters approved Initiative 502, which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana.

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REDMOND, Wash. — People in one Eastside neighborhood feel like they’re fighting an uphill battle against the legal pot industry and the King County Council.

redmondridgeThey’re worried a huge marijuana-processing facility could wind up in the middle of their Redmond Ridge neighborhood. Homeowners say they are concerned the business could mean a drop in property values and a rise in crime.

“If this could happen here, this could happen anywhere in unincorporated King County,” said Jen Boon, president of the Redmond Ridge Homeowners Association.

Dozens of concerned Redmond Ridge residents skipped the shopping on Black Friday to plan their fight against the county’s proposed pot-zoning ordinance.

“All I’m saying is find a remote area that doesn’t impact the neighborhoods and community,” said neighbor Ruti Gupta.

Thousands of families live in this section of unincorporated King County.

Not one person who attended the emergency community meeting showed support for the proposed pot business or zoning boundaries.

“(It’s) a small seed of salmonella during Thanksgiving dinner and dropping it in everybody’s plate,” said neighbor Ram Krishnan.

“It may be in unincorporated county, but it’s not less populated,” said Gupta. “It’s not a farmland.”

A company named Red Ridge Farms has applied for a license to process marijuana inside a Redmond Ridge building.

The location sits well beyond the required 1,000-foot buffer from schools and parks, but the neighboring homeowners don’t want any part of the state’s great pot experiment.

“How could you put big marijuana production and distribution and not anticipate increased crime?” asked Boon. “What is the council going to do with that increase of crime?”

The King County Council will hold a public hearing about the zoning boundaries at 2 p.m. Monday. Hundreds of people from across the King County are expected to attend.

TACOMA — Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy has vetoed the County Council’s measure that would prohibit marijuana businesses from operating until Congress removes pot from the list of federally controlled substances, The News Tribune of Tacoma reported Monday.

pottAccording to the newspaper, McCarthy said she vetoed the ordinance because it conflicts with state law, which permits the licensing of marijuana businesses.

The council voted 4-3 to pass the ordinance Nov. 5.

Council Chairwoman Joyce McDonald, R-Puyallup, told the News Tribune that the council will vote Dec. 10 on whether to overturn the veto.  An override requires five of seven votes.

 

SEATTLE — A local pot activist has received a city permit to hold a one-year I-502 anniversary marijuana party Dec. 6 outside at Seattle Center, the Seattle Times reported Friday night.

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Boston resident and professional sociologist Keith Saunders lights up his bong at the Seattle Center in December 2012.

Activist Ben Livingston paid $1,900 to use part of the Seattle Center grounds for about eight hours on Dec. 6 to hold an adults-only, open to the public pot party for up to 500 people.  Washington’s law legalizing recreational pot took effect on Dec. 6, 2012.

Because he is holding the party behind a double fence on the Seattle Center grounds, Livingston will meet the state law restriction against smoking pot in public, the newspaper said.

Livingston’s party will start at 3 p.m. and run until 11 p.m., the newspaper said.

The Times said Livingston has invited local musician Jim Page, new City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, City Attorney Pete Holmes, and City Councilman Nick Licata.

 

 

 

Local News
11/20/13

Pot business applications in Washington: 700 and counting

OLYMPIA — More than 700 people have applied for marijuana business licenses so far in the state.

There are three applications available, to grow, process or sell marijuana.

marijuanaThose applying to get into the legal weed business range from farmers to former Microsoft executives, to people looking for a career change.

“I believe being first to market in this industry is going to be key,” said Daniel Curylo, who has spent nearly $500,000 transforming a property in Shelton into a marijuana processing plant. It is set up to grow pot indoors and outside. There are several plants right now for medical marijuana, but he’s also hoping to get one of those licenses so he can grow and process for retailers.

“We’re taking a very big risk,” Curylo said. “Well, this whole venture is one big risk.”

It is a risk that may be well worth it. Curylo believes he’s on the ground floor of a billion-dollar industry. He’s learned a lot about business while working in the tech field during the past 10 years. He was also once a professional gold prospector. Now Curylo is panning for a new and different kind of treasure. He was one of the first people to apply for a grow and processing license.

On Wednesday, investigators for the state Liquor Control Board began processing those applications.

“It’s exciting,” said Jodi Murphy, an investigator, as she looked over her first application of the day. “Nobody’s ever done this before.”

The state is accepting applications until Dec. 20 and licenses will be issued in early 2014.

Local News
11/20/13

Pot applications steadily coming in

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OLYMPIA — More than 500 people have applied for pot licenses so far in the state.

There are three applications available, to grow, process, or sell marijuana.

Those applying to get into the legal weed business range from farmers, to former Microsoft executives, to people looking for a career change.

The state is accepting applications until Dece. 20 and licenses will be issued in early 2014.

The Liquor Control Board is discussing the process this afternoon, and will have more information.

Local News
11/18/13

More than 300 people apply for pot business licenses on first day

potOLYMPIA, Wash. – A total of 299 people completed online applications by mid-afternoon Monday for marijuana business licenses, and additional people applied in person across the state, the Washington State Department of Revenue announced.

Monday was the first day to apply for producer, processor and retailer marijuana licenses in the state. Applicants have through Dec. 19 to submit their application, which is available through the Business Licensing Service.

Applicants also applied in person at Revenue’s 12 offices across the state. The first day of the marijuana business licensing window went smoothly, with small numbers of people applying in person.

The numbers of online applications submitted by mid-afternoon Monday for the three licenses are:

  • Producer – 16
  • Processor – 62
  • Retailer – 70
  • Producer and processor ‑ 151

The Department of Revenue is encouraging applicants to apply online, which is convenient, can be done in the privacy of their home and provides several payment options, including debit cards and credit cards.

Those who plan to form a corporation or limited liability company must first establish their corporation with the Secretary of State’s Office. This is a necessary step before filing an application with the Business Licensing Service.

Licenses will be approved by the state’s Liquor Control Board. The Liquor Control Board will begin processing the licenses Wednesday, but there is no date for final approval.

There is no limit on the number of growers and processors, but the state will license only 334 retail stores.

SEATTLE — Green Ambrosia, the medical marijuana store in Ballard, is closing down this weekend because, the owner said, it would be in violation of the state rules set up for the sale of recreational pot stores.

 

marijuana-plants-imageGreen Ambrosia owner Dante Jones said his shop would be in violation of the I-502 regulatory system so, instead of fighting it, they have no choice but to shut down.

The Washington Liquor Control Board initially tried to loosen the 1,000-foot buffer zones from schools and parks so there would be more areas where pot stores could set up shop. But after the federal government expressed concern, the board reversed its decision. The 1,000-foot rule is measured by a straight line and not by the common path of travel. That restriction means many medical marijuana stores are too close to schools, park and other entities protected by the 1,00o-foot rule.

Green Ambrosia, under the new rule, is too close too an elementary school.

Jones predicted that 95 percent of medical marijuana stores will be closed by the time state-regulated retail stores are open for business.

In Washington, 334 retail pot shops were approved by the board. Forty will be allowed in King County and 21 in Seattle.

The first batch of retail stores are expected to open by June.

Local News
11/06/13

Council: No pot in Pierce County

TACOMA — The Pierce County Council voted Tuesday night to prohibit all recreational marijuana businesses from operating in the county until Congress removes pot off a list of federally controlled substances, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.

The measure effectively creates a ban on pot businesses in areas outside urban centers in the county, the News Tribune reported. Production, processing and retail would be limited to areas like Tacoma and Lakewood. The ordinance sets up a potential dispute between Pierce County rules and state law.

CR Douglas: New pot rules would outlaw dispensariesThe ordinance must be signed by county executive Pat McCarthy within 10 days before it goes into effect. If she chooses not to sign the ordinance and execute an executive veto, the council could override her veto with a 5-2 vote.  It is unclear whether or not McCarthy will sign the ordinance.

Opponents said the ordinance was against state law. Keith Henson, a marijuana reform proponent, told the News Tribune the ordinance, which passed by a narrow 4-3 vote, will surely face a challenge in state court.

The council’s attorney Susan Long said the county could cite marijuana businesses that operate within the county before pot is taken off the federal drug list.

“We don’t have the right to overrule federal law,” Council man Jim McCune (R-Graham) told the News Tribune.

Opponents said any citation would go against state law.

More than 60 people packed into Pierce County’s Council chambers to speak about the issue Tuesday night, the News Tribune reported.

 

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