Archive for Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana regulations proposed in two separate bills

By | January 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

Lawmakers have been saying for the past few years that medical marijuana needs clear regulations as the state allows retail marijuana shops, which were made legal by the passage of Initiative 502.

The Senate in 2014 passed a medical marijuana bill written by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, with a number of amendments by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, but the House did not vote on it.

This session, Rivers and Kohl-Welles once again proposed different bills that would create a medical marijuana system alongside the recreational market.

Rivers introduced Senate Bill 5052 before session. Among the proposed rules are:

  • Establishes a registry for patients and for medical marijuana stores.
  • Barring smoking products and smokable marijuana to be sold as medical products.
  • Exempting medical marijuana products from use tax and sales tax.
  • Allowing medical marijuana patients to have up to six plants — a reduction from the 15 allowed now – and allowing patients to grow their own marijuana.
  • Replacing collective gardens with registered growing cooperatives, where only members could participate with no monetary payment.

Rivers’ original language called for a medical marijuana retail license, but Rivers said Thursday she would change her bill to establish three types of stores: those that sell both medical and recreational; and those that just sell one or the other.

Kohl-Welles earlier this week held a press conference announcing Senate Bill 5519. SB 5519 would phase out the collective gardens and dispensaries and do away with the medical authorization system. The medical products would be available in marijuana I-502 retail stores.

  • Making low-THC, high CBD products tax-free
  • Making available an additional endorsement to show that a store has expertise in medical marijuana.
  • Allowing medical marijuana patients to have up to six plants.
  • Creating a waiver for marijuana patients who need more than six plants. The waiver also would allow for people to purchase of retail marijuana without sales tax.
  • Permitting anyone 21 and older to grow up to six plants or fewer for their own personal use. People may give to one ounce of usable marijuana that they’ve grown to another person without compensation.
  • Would not create a registry for patients.

Kohl-Welles emphasized that her bill shares similarities with Rivers’ bill.

“My colleague on the other side of the aisle, Sen. Ann Rivers, is also working hard on this issue and her legislation has many commonalities with mine,” Kohl-Welles said in a statement. “I anticipate that we will find a way to pass legislation that combines the best of both of our proposals.”

Rivers’ bill was heard Thursday, which also was Medical Cannabis Lobby Day at the Capitol.

Retailers, collective garden organizers, activists and patients testified to Rivers’ bill on Thursday both for and against the bill.

Ryan Day of Federal Way was one of the speakers on Sen. Ann Rivers' medical marijuana bill.

Ryan Day, who grows medical marijuana that stops the seizures of his six-year-old son, Haiden, said that getting rid of the collective garden system would make it difficult to provide his son’s treatment when their plants at home haven’t fully grown.

The type of cannabis that Day grows does not cause a high, which makes it hard to obtain on the recreational market, he said. Day said that he wants to work with lawmakers to create a system that gives options other than recreational marijuana stores for patients to get medicinal cannabis.

“I went to a recreational store. The interior reminded me of the basement in ‘That ’70s Show,’ ” Day said after the meeting.

TVW took video of the press conferences and the public hearing:

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles press conference

Senate Health Care Public Hearing

Sen. Ann Rivers press conference

2014 Roundup: What bills passed, what didn’t pass during session

By | March 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Washington State Legislature adjourned shortly before midnight on Thursday, the final day of the regular 2014 session. It’s the first time since 2009 that lawmakers finished their work without going into an overtime special session.

Here’s an overview of what lawmakers accomplished — and didn’t accomplish — during the session.


Supplemental budget: Both chambers agreed on a supplemental operating budget that spends about $155 million, including $58 for K-12 books and supplies. It also adds additional money to the mental health system, early learning and prisons. It does not include any new taxes or tax breaks, nor does it include teacher pay raises.

Dream Act/Real Hope Act: The Dream Act allows undocumented immigrants to apply for state need grants to help pay for college. The House passed its version of the Dream Act on opening day. The Senate renamed it the Real Hope Act and added $5 million to the state need grant. It was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee in February.

Homeless fees: As part of a last-minute deal, lawmakers agreed to extend until 2019 a $40 document recording fee that people pay during real estate transaction, such as buying or refinancing a house. The fee supports homeless shelters, affordable housing and other services and was scheduled to sunset unless the Legislature took action.

24 credit diploma: Starting with the class of 2019, high school students will have to earn 24 credits for a diploma. The current minimum is 20 credits, although some school districts require more than the minimum. The bill will also provide more opportunities for students to take career and technical classes that meet graduation requirements.

Tanning beds ban: Teenagers under the age of 18 would no longer be allowed to use tanning beds in Washington. Senate Bill 6065 bans minors from using tanning beds, unless they have a written prescription for UV radiation treatment from a doctor. Tanning salons would be fined $250 for violations.

Domestic violence: Washington residents under domestic violence restraining orders will soon be barred from owning guns. The bill says that someone who is under a protection, no-contact, or restraining order related to domestic violence must surrender his or her guns to law enforcement.

Drones: The Legislature approved a bill that puts limits government agencies that use drones, or remote-controlled monitoring devices, for surveillance. An agency may only use a drone after getting a warrant or under several exceptions, such as a fire or other emergency.

Religious holidays: State employees will be allowed to take two unpaid days off a year for religious reasons, and public school children will be excused for two days under a bill approved by the Legislature.

Military in-state tuition: Veterans and active duty military members will soon qualify for in-state tuition at Washington colleges and universities without having to first establish residency. Senate Bill 5318 waives the one-year waiting period for veterans, military members and their families.

Short-barreled rifles: Washington gun owners will soon be allowed to own a short-barreled rifle under a bill approved by the Legislature. It is currently a felony to own a gun with a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches, or to have a modified gun that is shorter than 26 inches overall. (more…)

Medical marijuana rules pass Washington Senate

By | March 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Senate passed rules on medical marijuana over the weekend, and the bill is headed to the House.

Medical marijuana has been legal but largely unregulated since voters approved it in 1998. Medical marijuana has come under scrutiny by the federal government as the state prepares for legal recreational marijuana to go on sale in licensed stores, expected to start later this year.

Senators Ann Rivers, R-La Center, and Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, both sponsored bills this year that would combine the largely unregulated medical marijuana system with the more regulated recreational marijuana system, under the Liquor Control Board.

“This bill is the very best attempt to protect our patients and their rights and their access to their product while making sure that we meet the Initiative 502 guidelines that we voted on as an electorate,” Rivers said.

The Liquor Control Board also would be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board under the bill.

The Senate passed Rivers’ bill, SB 5887, on Saturday, with a number of amendments from Kohl-Welles, on a vote of 34-15.

The rules would include:

  • Medical marijuana would be exempt from sales and use tax, but still subject to a 25 percent excise tax.
  • Patients could have three ounces of marijuana, which is more than the one ounce allowed under recreational rules.
  • Cooperative grows could include up to four participants.
  • Individuals could grow up to six marijuana plants, or up to 15 if prescribed by a doctor.
  • Medical products could be purchased from retail marijuana stores with a special endorsement.
  • Starts a patient and provider registry and restricts access to the registry.

Kohl-Welles described the rules as  a start. Kohl-Welles’  SB 6542, which passed 40-8 on Saturday, would establish a committee that explores the cannabis industry, including a subcommittee on medical marijuana.

“With the regulated, licensed non-medical market opening this year, we are in uncharted territory with regard to legislating on this issue. I voted in favor of this bill because we need regulations regarding medical marijuana. But for the sake of patients, there is still work that needs to be done,” Kohl-Welles said in a prepared statement.

Rivers also said she expects the laws will be adjusted in coming years.

“The use of medical marijuana became legal in 1998, so I realize this bill would create a big change for people who are used to it being unregulated. But by not taking action to standardize quality and access, we are endangering patients who truly need a safe, legal, and consistent source of medical marijuana,” Rivers said in a prepared statement.

Sen.  Brian Dansel, R-Republic, objected to the bill, saying the bill was not what voters intended when they passed Initiative 502. Dansel also questioned whether local jurisdictions would have enough funding to deal with the impacts of the proposed regulations on the health and judicial system.

Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, shared the latter concern, and voted against the bill.

“I was under the impression we were going to have the revenue share with cities and counties who are stuck with the enforcement of this issue,”  he said.

On ‘Legislative Review:’ Hemp farming, marijuana bans and lightbulb recycling

By | January 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

On Thursday’s edition of “Legislative Review,” we have details on two bills that would legalize hemp farming in Washington state. Supporters say the state is missing out on a lucrative hemp industry that produces everything from clothing to fuel.

We also recap debate in a House committee over a bill that discourages local governments from banning I-502 marijuana businesses. The bill was introduced in response to a Pierce County ban on pot businesses within its unincorporated areas. Plus, we have details on a recycling program for lightbulbs containing mercury.

Watch the show below:

On ‘Legislative Review:’ Medical marijuana bills, capital budget hearing & wage bills

By | January 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

On Tuesday’s 15-minute recap of legislative activities on “Legislative Review,” we have highlights from a hearing on two competing medical marijuana bills.

In addition, legislators heard public testimony about Gov. Jay Inslee‘s proposed supplemental capital budget, which pays for the construction of public buildings and other projects. We also have details from a hearing the House Labor committee on four wage bills, which supporters say will crack down on wage fraud.

Watch the show below:

Competing medical marijuana bills heard in Senate committee

By | January 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle) have introduced two different bills that would regulate medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana, which has been legal but largely unregulated since voters approved it in 1998, has come under scrutiny by the federal government as the state prepares for legal marijuana to go on sale in licensed stores.

Medical marijuana advocates say that patients’ needs won’t be met by the I-502 recreational marijuana market.

Both senators say they want to protect patients’ rights.

Sen. Ann Rivers (left) and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles speak to the Senate Health Care Committee about their different bills on medical marijuana.

“What this bill is not is an attack on medical marijuana. In my dad’s waning days, the only thing that brought him comfort was medical marijuana so I really want you to know that,” Rivers said at the Senate Health Care Committee meeting on Tuesday, which held a public hearing on both bills.

Kohl-Welles says the legislature must move past the stigma of medical marijuana and come up with a solution.

“My most important point to bring to you is we need to preserve access for legitimate patients that is safe, reliable and secure while also protecting public safety,” she said.

Both senate bills allow the following:

  • Patients can buy 3 oz., which is more than 1 oz. recreational limit
  • Patients can purchase without paying excise tax

SB 5887  by Rivers:

  • Allows 6 plants to be grown at home
  • Creates patient registry
  • Issues authorization cards

SB 6178 by Kohl-Welles:

  • Allows 10 plants to be grown at home
  • Creates verification cards for patients
  • But does not create a patient registry

A mix of supporters and detractors testified at Tuesday’s hearing. (more…)

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana initiatives seek patient protections

By | January 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Medical marijuana advocate Kirk Ludden says patients who use medical marijuana products have fallen through the cracks as the state creates new laws for recreational pot.

So, Ludden, of Seattle, has filed several voter initiatives addressing medical marijuana laws this week, which address some of concerns over the recommendations made by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the Department of Health and the Department of Revenue, which held hearings on the topic last year.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, as in past years, has plans to introduce protections for patients to state’s medical marijuana law in this year’s legislative session, she told Business Insider. And Rep. Eileen Cody, D-Seattle, already has introduced HB 2149, which will address medical marijuana laws and will be heard at the House Health Care and Wellness Committee at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

But, Ludden is tired by what he sees as past political interference that have curtailed attempts to restore the intentions of Initiative 692, the 1998 medical marijuana initiative. He said that he hopes the voters will have a chance to weigh in again on medical marijuana.

“This initiative would be the way we get our law back,” he said.

While recreational marijuana was decriminalized following the passage of Initiative 502 in 2012, marijuana has been available to patients with a doctor’s prescription after the passage of I-692.

While I-502 doesn’t change any medical marijuana laws directly, legislators asked the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the Department of Health and the Department of Revenue, to write new recommendations for medical marijuana.

WSLCB officials released recommendations in December, including the creation a medical marijuana registry for patients and providers, limiting the number of plants in a patient’s possession to six and subjecting medical marijuana to the same state tax as recreational marijuana.

Ludden says the recommendations drawn up by the Washington State Liquor Control Board doesn’t preserve the intent of the original medical marijuana initiative, and could be harmful for patients.

“We aren’t sex offenders,” he said. “There’s no reason for a patient to put his name on a list.”

Ludden added that a 25 percent state excise tax applied to marijuana could make the herb too expensive for patients, who have to pay out of pocket to buy it.

Ludden has filed several initiatives to the voters this week, which include protections such as establishing a separate state board for medical marijuana, exempting medical marijuana from the excise tax and allowing patients to grow up to 15 plants. You can see the initiatives as filed on the Secretary of State’s website.

Supporters of the initiatives, which have not yet been assigned numbers, will have to collect at least 246,372 signatures of registered voters and turn them in to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office by July 3 in order to make the November ballot.

You can watch a 2013 hearing on medical marijuana recommendations in TVW’s archives.

Eyman initiative demands constitutional amendment vote on tax hikes

By | January 6, 2014 | 0 Comments

Initiative activist Tim Eyman proposed a new voter initiative Monday that would cut $1 billion a year from the state budget unless the Legislature sends voters a constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote to raise taxes.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled last year that the two-thirds “supermajority” requirement violates the state constitution because a bill requires a simple majority vote of the Legislature to pass. The high court said a constitutional amendment would be necessary to implement the two-thirds requirement.

If voters approve Eyman’s initiative, the proposal would cut the state’s sales tax from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent, or about $1 billion dollars a year, unless the Legislature puts a two-thirds constitutional amendment on the ballot by April 2015. If the constitutional amendment reaches voters by April 2015, the sales tax reduction never will go into effect.

“Our initiative gives the Legislature an impossible-to-ignore financial incentive to let us vote. It’s elegant, legal, and easy to explain,” Eyman said in a press release.

Eyman’s initiative was among six filed at the Secretary of State’s office Monday. Other initiatives filed Monday include:

  • Two other Eyman-sponsored  initiatives, including one that would restore $30 car tabs and eliminate cameras used for issuing tickets for speeding and red-light violations, and another that would outlaw such cameras unless approved by voters;
  • Two medical cannabis initiatives that would create legal protections for patients with prescriptions for medical marijuana;
  • An initiative that would show state support for a U.S. Constitutional amendment to prevent corporations from being considered citizens.

The full text of the initiatives filed Monday are available on the Secretary of State’s website.

Initiative sponsors have until July 3 to submit 246,372 valid signatures from registered Washington voters before they would appear statewide in the November general election.

Washington begins accepting applications for marijuana businesses

By | November 18, 2013 | 0 Comments

At 70, retired state worker James Brown is embarking on a new career: Marijuana grower and processor.

The Olympia resident was one of a handful of people who submitted paperwork in person at the Dept. of Revenue on Monday morning, the first day that entrepreneurs could apply for a marijuana business license.

James Brown (right) asks questions about the marijuana application process Monday at the Dept. of Revenue

“It’s a new adventure,” said Brown, who already has financing and a construction plan in place for his pot-growing operation in Thurston County.

“We’re ready to start putting out product,” he said.

Representatives from the Liquor Control Board, Dept. of Revenue and Secretary of State’s office were on hand to answer questions people had about the application process.

They said most people appeared to be applying online — more than 50 applications were submitted online in the first hour alone.

Monday was the first day of a 30-day window to apply to become a marijuana producer, processor or retailer. There’s no limit on the number of producers or processors, but the state has capped the number of marijuana retail stores at 334.

The Liquor Control Board will begin reviewing the applications later this week. An application could be denied if the applicant has a criminal history, questionable financing or an objection from the local government.

Marijuana retail stores are expected to open in June as part of Initiative 502, which legalized pot in Washington state.

Going into the marijuana business isn’t just about money for Brown. He says it will provide supplemental income to his retirement and social security benefits. But mostly, it “gives me something to do.”

Brown, who is retired from the Dept. of Labor and Industries, said he saw the benefits of marijuana after members of his family suffered injuries in three separate car crashes.

For more about the marijuana application process, tune in to “The Impact” on TVW on Wednesday at 7 & 10 p.m. to meet a Seattle resident applying for a license and see his operation site.

Medical marijuana advocates want the Legislature to allow home grows

By | November 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

Medical marijuana patients in Washington say they should be allowed to continue growing pot at home or in collective gardens, arguing that they have special needs that won’t be met by the state’s legal market.

More than 100 patients packed a hearing Wednesday evening to testify on a set of recommendations proposed by three state agencies on how to regulate the medical marijuana industry. The meeting was raucous at times, with speakers frequently interrupted by cheers or jeers.

The Liquor Control Board, Department of Revenue and Department of Health released a draft proposal in October of their recommendations, which would effectively eliminate the medical marijuana dispensaries that are common throughout the Puget Sound.

The state agencies have called for eliminating home grows, reducing the amount of pot that a patient can possess to three ounces (the current limit is 24 ounces) and creating a mandatory state-run patient registry.

“These recommendations are awful and unacceptable,” said Philip Dawdy of the Washington Cannabis Association at Wednesday’s hearing.

Dawdy and others argue that the legal I-502 market will not be able to handle the needs of medical marijuana patients, who prefer products with high cannabidiol (CBD) levels — which provides relief from chronic pain — but low in THC, the psychoactive component.

Home grows and collective gardens are the source of “innovation” in the medical marijuana industry, Dawdy said.

The Liquor Control Board has received more than 850 written comments about medical marijuana during the public comment period that ended this week. An additional 122 people signed up to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.

The agency said the No. 1 concern it received was about the elimination of home grows. Patients also said the three ounce limit was too small, and asked for medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open.

The Liquor Control Board will adopt revised recommendations in December. A final draft will be forwarded in January to the state Legislature, which is expected to take action on the issue next session.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, is drafting legislation to regulate the medical marijuana industry. A legislative aide spoke on her behalf at Wednesday’s meeting, saying that Kohl-Welles wants to allow home grows and collective gardens.

Kohl-Welles supports the three ounce limit, but prefers a voluntary patient registry instead of a mandatory one.

TVW taped Wednesday’s public hearing — watch it here.

On TVW this week: Marijuana discussions, state Supreme Court returns

By | September 9, 2013 | 0 Comments

Here’s what will air on TVW this week:

Monday at 9 a.m.: The House Local Government Committee is holding a work session to discuss the Growth Management Act. The meeting will air live on television and the web.

Tuesday at 9 a.m. & Thursday at 9 a.m.: The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for the first six cases on its fall docket — the list of cases is available here. TVW will carry the arguments live on television and the web.

Tuesday at 11 a.m.: TVW will be live with a press conference by Gov. Jay Inslee as he launches his new “Results Washington” lean management initiative. Inslee’s chief of staff, Mary Alice Heuschel, and Wendy Korthuis-Smith, director of Results Washington, will also be a the press conference.

Tuesday at 11 a.m.: The House Government Accountability committee is holding a work session on the latest rules proposed for legal marijuana. They will also discuss the medical marijuana industry. Watch the live webcast here.

Wednesday at 7 & 10 p.m.: “The Impact” looks at the impact legal marijuana could have on cities around the state and why some are saying no. Plus, the “Initiative on Initiatives” — how I-517 could change the way petitions work in Washington.

Thursday at 7 & 10 p.m.: On “Inside Olympia,” host Austin Jenkins interviews the new state Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchinson, as well as Kim Mead, the new head of the state’s largest teachers’ union.

Friday at 10 a.m.: The Clemency and Pardons Board is scheduled to hear testimony from seven people, including Marriam Oliver, who was one of five teenagers convicted in the 2001 beating death of Jerry Heimann. Oliver is seeking a commutation of her 22-year sentence, while the others scheduled to testify are asking for pardons.

In addition, TVW will live webcast all of the legislative hearings scheduled for this week — links to the individual webcasts are available on our schedule page.

Senate approves measure banning EBT use for medical marijuana

By | March 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

The state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would add medical marijuana to the list of items prohibited from purchase when using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

EBT cards work much like bank debit cards and are used by people who receive federal food aid and state cash benefits to pay for items related to childcare. The Legislature has already banned EBT card purchases for tattoos, body piercings, alcohol and tobacco.

“Something that is not appropriate for children shouldn’t be purchased with money intended for children,” said Sen. Mike Carrell (R-Lakewood), the sponsor of Senate Bill 5279.

Sen. Jeannie Darnielle (D-Tacoma) introduced an amendment that would have excluded qualifying medical marijuana patients from the proposed restrictions. The amendment failed to gain enough support on the floor.

“I find it so difficult to believe that we would allow someone to buy an aspirin, to buy lotion, to buy things that make living pain-free, and can not recognize that medical usage of marijuana are absolutely appropriate to people of all economic status,”  Darnielle said.

The measure passed by a 39-10 vote. It now heads to the House for consideration.

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Workers’ comp debate on the Senate floor; Plus, the future of medical marijuana

By | February 5, 2013 | 0 Comments

On Monday’s “Legislative Review,” we have the highlights from the Senate floor debate over three workers’ compensation bills. Plus, a bill that aims to regulate the medical marijuana industry once Initiative 502 goes into effect.

Inslee ‘encouraged’ after meeting with AG about marijuana initiative

By | January 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

Gov. Jay Inslee said there is no reason the state should put the brakes on the state’s implementation of Initiative 502 after meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

Inslee and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the meeting was encouraging, but said the conversation did not reveal if the federal government plans to mount a legal fight over the initiative, which legalizes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by persons 21 and older.

“He said nothing about what direction he’s heading or where he’d like to end up,” Inslee told reporters during conference call. “We want to give him time to fully understand the specifics.”

Inslee said he and Ferguson briefed Holder on the state’s intentions for licensing and regulation.

“He appears to be very interested in making a calm, cool and collected decision,” Inslee said.

The implementation of the new law, which would legalize and tax both the growing and sale of cannabis, is well underway with the Washington State Liquor Control Board beginning public meetings around the state this week.

Ferguson said Holder is aware of the time constraints the state is under.

“It was made clear that there are deadlines coming up soon. The Attorney General understands the need for some clarity in the coming months,” Ferguson said.

Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana last November. It remains illegal under federal law.

Inslee was visiting Washington, D.C., to attend President Obama’s inauguration on Monday.

Should offenders be allowed to smoke marijuana while on community supervision?

By | January 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

On Monday’s edition of “Legislative Review,” we recap an interesting debate in the Senate Law and Justice Committee about whether or not judges should have the ability to prohibit criminal offenders from smoking marijuana while they’re out on community supervision.

Judges have long had the ability to prohibit offenders from drinking alcohol, and some prosecutors want to add marijuana to that list. Marijuana activists testified in opposition to the bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, saying that it “violates the spirit” of I-502, the initiative passed by voters that legalized marijuana in Washington state.

Plus, we cover a hearing from Friday about the problem of binge drinking among college students and proposal that would create special DUI courts on college campuses.

Bill would ban EBT use for medical marijuana

By | January 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

Legislation would prohibit the purchase of medical marijuana using funds from state-issued EBT cards.

Medical marijuana would be added to the list of items prohibited from purchase when using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards under proposed legislation heard today in a Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee hearing.

The EBT cards, which work much like bank debit cards, are used by people who receive federal food aid and state cash benefits to pay for items related to childcare.

Sen. Mike Carrell (R-Lakewood) said the cash given to recipients is strictly intended for the needs of a child.

“I’m not against medical marijuana. It’s just simply that it’s an inappropriate use of money that supposed to benefit children. Somebody taking medical marijuana doesn’t benefit the child,” he said.

In 2011, the legislature banned EBT card purchases for tattoos, body piercings, alcohol and tobacco. The bill also banned bars, casinos and strip clubs from accepting EBT cards after an investigation revealed that a significant number of the state-issued cards were being used at casinos.

Under the new legislation, businesses licensed to sell liquor would be required to reconfigure their ATM machines to no longer accept EBT cards.

Lonnie Johns-Brown with the Welfare Advocates Group told the committee that disabling the ATM machines at stores selling liquor may limit access for recipients following the rules.

“Our biggest concern is to make sure people can actually access cash,” she said.

Members of the committee agreed EBT card regulations remain difficult to enforce.

“It is simply sending a message that this is money for children, not for adults,” Carrell said.

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Schools Superintendent: Don’t bring marijuana to school

By | December 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

Superintendent of Schools Randy Dorn

Marijuana has been legal for less than a week in Washington state, but already there’s “anecdotal reports” of more kids using it than before, according to a press release today from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn.

Public schools must abide by federal rules to get funding. Dorn issued a warning saying that the new legalization law has “no effect on federal law,” and any student caught on a school campus with marijuana will be disciplined according to “local district policy.”

Read the full press release here.

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Senator urges liquor control board to speed up new marijuana law

By | November 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

The state Liquor Control Board has a year to come up with the rules for the state’s new marijuana legalization law — but that doesn’t mean they should take that long to do it, said Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle.

In less than a week, it’ll be legal for adults in the state to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Prosecutors in several Washington counties have dropped pending marijuana possession cases in advance of Dec. 6, the day the law goes into effect.

“During that year where it’s legal on the street, my fear is that gangs — who are nobody’s friend — are going to take over the market and entrench themselves the longer that period of time goes,” Kline said at a Senate labor committee today during a briefing on the issue.

Speaking to representatives from the liquor board, Kline said: “I know you’ve got a year and you want to do this deliberately, but the request on my part is deliberate speed.”

Alison Holcomb, who headed the I-502 campaign to legalize marijuana, disagreed. She said the year gives the liquor control board time to be “thoughtful” about creating a legal framework for the new law.

“There’s been an unregulated market for marijuana for over 100 years in this country,” Holcomb told the committee. “Patterns of enforcing our criminal laws have had absolutely no effect.”

Members of the committee also got an update on I-1183, the initiative passed by voters that got the state out of the liquor business.

Grocery stores have been allowed to sell liquor since June. Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, said she’s worried about an increase in thefts at the stores — including one Safeway that was robbed of $90,000 worth of high-end liquor.

“I was concerned about young people, but it turns out this is a professional organized crime process underway,” Keiser said. “It’s not young people. It is professional thieves getting high-end liquor off the shelves.”

Keiser said local police departments have asked for additional funding to investigate the liquor crimes. “This is a cost to the public tax dollar,” said Keiser, who said additional police work should be considered when looking at the “big view” of the cost of liquor privatization.

Watch the full meeting below:

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Scuffle at the Capitol: Rick Steves pro-marijuana event draws I-502 protestors

By | October 12, 2012 | 0 Comments
Rick Steves

Rick Steves

A scuffle erupted at a marijuana pro-legalization rally today at the Capitol rotunda, where travel guru and celebrity Rick Steves was speaking in favor of I-502, a measure that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.

More than a dozen protestors opposed to the initiative attempted to drown out Steves and other speakers, including a visibly angry Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia.

The protestors were largely complaining about a DUI standard in the initiative that would make it illegal to drive with more than 5 nanograms of THC in your blood.

Steves continued with his presentation despite the shouting between supporters and opponents in the crowd, which turned into an occasional shoving match. Washington State Troopers forcibly removed at least two protestors from the building.

Afterwards, Steves said wasn’t surprised at the turn of events. He said opponents used similar tactics in California in 2010 during the campaign for Prop. 19, a marijuana legalization initiative that was defeated.

“Since then, 50,000 people have been arrested in California in the last two years,” said Steves, who said he views legalization as a civil liberty and justice issue. Minorities and the poor are disproportionately arrested for marijuana-related offenses, he said, and legalization would take “crime out the equation.”

His support for legalization is also inspired by his travels abroad. In Europe, alternative lifestyles are tolerated, Steves said. But in America, people are put in overcrowded jails. “Europeans look at us and say, ‘What is with you guys?’” Steves said.

Steves, who has donated $350,000 to the campaign, said he decided to speak publicly because he’s not an elected official who has to worry about votes. “I can’t get fired either,” joked Steves, who heads a travel empire that includes tour books and guides, as well as his own TV and radio shows.

Photo slideshow of the I-502 Rally:



‘The Impact’ returns with new host, episodes

By | September 5, 2012 | 0 Comments

"The Impact"Today’s the day, folks. “The Impact” is returning to the air with a new host, a revamped set design and a series of fresh episodes planned for the upcoming season.

Anita Kissée is the new host of the show. Anita comes to TVW from Portland-based television station KATU, where she covered city government. Prior to that, she covered gubernatorial elections at an ABC station in Central California and was the host of “Viewpoint,” a political show in Boise on KTVB.

She’s also a pug enthusiast and a great person to connect with on social media — follow her on Twitter and find her Facebook.

The first edition of the show tackles one of the most controversial measures Washingtonians will vote on this year: I-502 and legalizing marijuana. We’ll walk you through how the law would work, how much money the state could earn and where it would go, and of course, the long list of concerns from opponents.

We’ll hear from supporters, including state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, and detractors like Steve Freng of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program. Plus, find out why the medical marijuana community is surprisingly divided on the issue.

“The Impact” airs Wednesdays at 7 & 10 p.m. on TVW.