Monday, May 25, 2015

State's Official New Liquor and Cannabis Board

Big changes are coming to the state Liquor Control Board, including a name change.

The same law that will change the Liquor Control Board's name July 24 to the "Liquor and Cannabis Board" also directed the agency to decide which unlicensed medical-marijuana shops and grow operations to legitimize by July 1, 2016.

The process will involve a merit system, the Olympian reported.

The agency assumes 825 unlicensed medical shops will apply for a license and half will receive one.

First dibs would go to people who have been in the medical-marijuana industry since before 2013, have paid their taxes and applied for one of the recreational licenses. Next up are applicants who didn't apply for a recreational license but meet the other requirements. Everyone else falls into a third tier.

Research the agency is doing now will help decide for sure whether a lottery is needed. It will also help decide if sellers should be able to apply at any time for a marijuana license, as they may for a liquor license, rather than within only a short window.

Many of Washington's more than 1,000 - maybe more than 2,000 - unlicensed medical marijuana shops won't qualify for special consideration because they are too new.

Regulators should license as many new growers, processors and retailers as possible that have a history of good behavior, said Alex Cooley, vice president of Seattle medical-marijuana grower and processor Solstice and a supporter of the law.

"Many people have been doing this for up to 10 years now and have been serving their communities and taking care of many sick people and doing it in a compassionate way," Cooley said.

Much of the work to implement the law falls to the state Department of Health. The agency will define what qualifies as medical-grade marijuana and choose a contractor to set up a registry for patients. People who join the registry will get protection from arrest and less stringent limits on how much marijuana they can possess.

The health department will complete at least two tasks by July 24, when some parts of the law take effect, said Chris Baumgartner, who leads a unit of the agency that deals with medical marijuana. It will develop a form for medical providers to authorize marijuana use and tell providers how to report numbers of authorizations.

The law calls for providers who write more than 30 authorizations in a month to report the number to the department.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Oregon Police May Retire Pot-Sniffing Dogs for Being to Good





The two drug-sniffing canines that work for Medford police could face early retirement because they are too good at detecting marijuana, which will become legal July 1.

The issue arises because drug-sniffing dogs are often used to provide leads - probable cause - that can allow police to search people or property for drugs. If a suspect were carrying marijuana and heroin and a dog trained to smell both indicated the presence of a drug, any arrest could be invalidated, because the dog may have been smelling legal marijuana.

Because it's difficult to retrain a dog on what to search for with its nose, one or both dogs may be phased out. Medford police have requested $24,000 in the upcoming city budget for new dogs trained to smell only heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, and not marijuana. Each dog costs $12,000, an amount that includes extensive training and certification.

Law enforcement agencies across the state are facing similar issues after voters approved Ballot Measure 91 last November, which made pot legal for anyone 21 and older.

Oregon State Police has eight drug-sniffing dogs used to detect drugs in vehicles, buildings, storage facilities, luggage and other locations.

Statewide there are 150 dogs working for various law enforcement agencies, according to the Oregon Police Canine Association. About 60 of the dogs are assigned to drug enforcement.

While some dogs are being phased out, larger police agencies are keeping dogs that can help find large amounts of marijuana, which would still be illegal under the new law.

Some agencies are sending their dogs to work at county jails, where marijuana will remain illegal.

Even though their days as drug dogs may be numbered, Narc, a Belgium malinois, and Cody, a Lab mix, are still as focused on their jobs as ever. Johnson said it's likely one of the dogs will continue to work, particularly in counterfeit cases in which money can carry the smell of drugs or in cases in which it's believed marijuana has been transported across state lines. Drug dogs typically work for about 10 years.

Narc is trained to sit when he smells a drug, while Cody essentially freezes in one position to alert his handler.

Cody, who still looks like a puppy, is 5 years old, while Narc is a little younger. In addition to the two drug-sniffing dogs, Medford police have two patrol dogs that are used to search for people.

The first dog used by Medford police was Oxer, who was proficient in drug sniffing and on patrol and has a plaque in front of City Hall commemorating his service. Oxer served from 1990 to 1999.

Cody's handler, Officer Levi Friend, said he'd be happy to keep the dog if the agency decides it's time for his retirement.

The dogs will get a good home, police Chief Tim George promised. They definitely would not be euthanized, he said.

George said the ability to detect marijuana will become a mostly unneeded skill as more residents of Jackson County grow both medical and recreational cannabis in an area that's known for producing high-quality marijuana.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lawyers Turn to Business of Pot

Lawyers and pot dealers have long intersected in criminal court, but as marijuana goes mainstream, attorneys have been working to keep sellers and growers legit.

Marijuana divisions are popping up at law firms to advise pot shops on where they can locate, what their websites can say and how to vet new clients.

Marijuana has become a multi-billion-dollar industry. California and more than 20 other states have legalized the drug for medical use, and the pot business has gotten a boost from more recent approvals of recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and Washington, D.C. Pot advocates hope growth continues, as they push for voters to approve recreational pot in California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts next year.

The drug remains illegal under federal law, however, and the American Bar Association's rules of professional conduct prohibit lawyers from assisting in criminal conduct.

With this in mind, attorneys say they focus on providing advice about what state marijuana laws do and don't allow, and decline to answer questions about how clients can bend the rules.

But for law firms with other practice areas, there is also concern about how non-pot clients will view their marijuana work.

At the Seattle, Washington-based law firm of Harris Moure, the marijuana practice group has a completely separate brand - Canna Law Group - with its own website.

Marijuana law, in many ways, is no different from other legal practices, attorneys say. It involves contracts, real estate transactions, trademarks and regulatory compliance. What is unique, though, is the constant prospect of running afoul of the law.

The legal issues that come up also often have little or no precedent, said Dan Garfield, an attorney at Foster Graham Milstein & Calisher in Denver, Colorado.

Garfield, whose firm got into the marijuana field several years ago, was recently working on an appeal of a federal court's ruling that a couple did not qualify for bankruptcy protection because their assets largely stemmed from marijuana enterprises.

For marijuana entrepreneurs, legal guidance can bring peace of mind.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Snohomish County To Rule On New Pot Rules

The Snohomish County Council may decide next month whether to change the rules for marijuana businesses.

On Wednesday the council delayed action on the issue, opting to decide May 6 whether to allow licensed recreational marijuana operations in some rural areas. The council will take more public comment from people at that meeting.

On March 4 council members extended for six months a moratorium on new marijuana operations in certain rural areas after hearing hours of testimony from people in the industry and concerned neighbors. The council plans to enact permanent rules before that moratorium expires.

Voters in 2012 approved Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana in Washington.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Washington State Joins Colorado in Fighting Anti-Pot Lawsuit

The state's top legal official is formally urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a lawsuit by Nebraska and Oklahoma that challenges Colorado’s marijuana laws, saying it could threaten Washington state's own fledgling system for regulating pot.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson made his arguments in a “friend of the court” brief filed on Friday.

Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a lawsuit with the high court in December, claiming that Colorado’s Amendment 64 legalizing marijuana under state law is preempted by federal drug laws. They ask the court to hear the case under its “original jurisdiction” over lawsuits between states.

Washington state’s legal brief urges the court to reject that request.

“I am disappointed that Nebraska and Oklahoma took this step to interfere with Colorado’s popularly enacted initiative to legalize marijuana,” Ferguson said. “I filed this brief to protect Washington’s interests and the will of Washington’s voters from interference by other states.

“If the Supreme Court takes the unfortunate step of agreeing to hear this case, it will threaten every state’s ability to make its own decisions about how best to regulate marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes,” he added.

The lawsuit by Oklahoma and Nebraska officials claims that marijuana purchased in Colorado is being brought into neighboring states where it remains illegal.

"This contraband has been heavily trafficked into our state," Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said. "While Colorado reaps millions from the sale of pot, Nebraska taxpayers have to bear the cost."

Some law enforcement agencies in western Nebraska, along the Colorado border, have complained that marijuana from the neighboring state has drained their resources.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt says Colorado's legalization of pot has hindered his state's efforts to enforce its anti-marijuana laws. Pruitt said marijuana poses health and safety risks to children and teens.

But the brief filed by Washington state argues that the Supreme Court should not take up the lawsuit based on its own longstanding policies regarding disputes between states.

Ferguson argues that the lawsuit does not involve Oklahoma's or Nebraska's "sovereign interests," but is a simple policy dispute over how best to regulate marijuana and therefore not an issue for the Supreme Court.

Ferguson also argues that the lawsuit should be heard first in a lower court.

"That venue would allow the states to resolve their dispute without immediately impacting other jurisdictions around the country the way a U.S. Supreme Court decision could," Ferguson said in a prepared statement.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Seattle Launches Pot-Prevention Effort Aimed at Teens

More than two years after Washington legalized marijuana, community groups in Seattle are launching a citywide effort aimed at preventing use of marijuana and other drugs by teens.

The campaign, with support from the Seattle City Attorney's Office, aims to spread positive messages that most kids don't use drugs or alcohol. The messages, which also ask parents to talk to their kids about marijuana, are being displayed on nine billboards around the city, some of them donated by Clear Channel Outdoor.

After announcing the campaign at Aki Kurose Middle School in south Seattle on Wednesday, City Attorney Pete Holmes called the effort "an antidote to the fear-based messaging of the war on drugs." He contrasted it with an anti-marijuana youth campaign in Colorado, which told teens that if legal pot's an experiment, "Don't be a lab rat." That effort featured oversized rat cages placed outside parks, libraries and schools - a bit too reminiscent of jail cells for Holmes' taste.

In Seattle, organizers are asking students to take part in their "Above the Influence" contest, including taking selfies showing what inspires them not to use drugs or alcohol. Prizes include Seattle Seahawks and Sounders tickets.

Last June and July, as the state's first licensed pot shops were preparing to open, the Department of Health scraped together $400,000 from other programs to run a statewide radio and online campaign targeting parents. But this is the first effort aimed at youth in Seattle since Initiative 502 passed.

Meanwhile, a newly published University of Washington study suggests further public messaging about the state's marijuana law might be warranted: Just 57 percent of parents in a small, ongoing survey of 115 low-income families in Tacoma knew that 21 is the legal age for recreational pot use, and just 63 percent knew that growing marijuana at home isn't allowed.

The study found 71 percent of 10th graders knew the legal age, but fewer than half knew the legal limit for marijuana possession - up to an ounce of dried bud.

The legal-pot law itself directs some tax revenues from legal marijuana sales to prevention efforts, but Health Department spokesman Donn Moyer said the state hasn't yet disbursed money to the agency for that purpose.

Mike Graham-Squire, a manager at the social services organization Neighborhood House, said the Seattle campaign has so far totaled $60,000, including $15,000 from the city. They are looking for additional sponsors.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Illegal Pot Store Could Be Fined $1k a Day

A Parkland recreational marijuana store that's flouting the county's pot ban was served with a notice of violation on Wednesday.

Owners of The Gallery received their state license last week and officially began selling marijuana on Sunday, despite a countywide ban on recreational marijuana sales.

"Our intention is not to pick a fight with the county or poke anyone in the eye,"  Gallery co-owner Tedd Wetherbee said on Sunday. "We don't want to do that -- we just want to say, 'Let us do business, let us pay taxes to the state and let us do what we've been licensed to do by the state.'"

The county responded Wednesday by serving the shop a notice of violation for operating without a required permit. County officials say the business is in violation of county code by "operating without a tenant occupancy permit." The business owners have two weeks to appeal the notice, according to the county.

On Sunday, Wetherbee said the business is here to stay and pointed to a dozen nearby medical marijuana dispensaries that are operating illegally.

"We're licensed by the state to do business. We're doing absolutely nothing illegal," he said last week.

Washington's Initiative 502 legalized marijuana in 2014, but Pierce County created an ordinance that says recreational pot shops won't be allowed until marijuana is "removed from the schedule of controlled substances by the federal government."

The Gallery could be fined up to $1,000 a day for operating without the proper permits, according to the county.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.