By Steve Elliott
Magical Butter, a Seattle-based company which sells a botanical extractor turning raw marijuana into a form that can be infused into food and beverages, has unveiled a food truck that it says is the world's first mobile eatery featuring cannabis-infused food.
The bright pink former school bus, officially known as the SAMICH truck (Savory Accessible Marijuana Infused Culinary Happiness), debuted at the Cannabis Cup in Denver on April 20, reports Sky McCarthy at Fox News.
The SAMICH truck isn't limited to typical pot treats like brownies and cookies. It features the Samich (sunbutter and jelly), Bin Mi (Vietnamese style pork sandwich), the Bronco (barbecue pulled pork sandwich), PhaReal cheese sandwich, and Kushie tomato soup.
All of the treats are made with Magical Butter's patented MB2 device, which the company says any cook can use. Each item sold from the truck has between 30 and 100 milligrams of THC, enough to give an average person a pleasant high. All dishes have at least one infused ingredient, and some have more.
"Cooking with cannabis in comparison to other herbs is far more challenging," said chef Joey Galeano of Magical Butter. "The challenge comes from properly dosing each ingredient with a delicate balance between taste and potency."
By Steve Elliott
Some entrepreneurs who spent months and thousands of dollars on their dream of opening a retail cannabis shop are very disappointed that they didn't get a license in Washington state's marijuana lottery. Some of them are so disappointed, in fact, that they plan to sue.
Ryan Kunkel and Joel Berman, owners of the Have A Heart chain of medical cannabis dispensaries, with seven locations in the Puget Sound area, applied for recreational marijuana retail licenses in Seattle, Ocean Shores and Snohomish County, reports Valerie Bauman at Puget Sound Business Journal. The men said they have invested more than $250,000 already in their effort to open recreational marijuana stores.
Kunkel and Berman plan to file a lawsuit against the Liquor Control Board this week; they are unhappy with the method the LCB used for its license lottery. They argue the Board allowed people to game the system by applying multiple times for the same location, effectively giving themselves more chances to win a license.
By Steve Elliott
The winners have been announced in Washington state's lottery for marijuana retail licenses, and those whose names weren't drawn are predictably unhappy. Beyond being dissatisfied with the results, there are also rumblings from some quarters about the lottery process being rigged.
Entrepreneur Shy Sadis -- who applied for licenses to open marijuana stores in Bellingham, Tacoma and Snohomish County -- wasn't chosen to receive any licenses, and he told the Seattle Weekly's Nina Shapiro that he's going to talk to his lawyers about suing the Washington State Liquor Control Board over "gaming the system" to favor certain winners.
The state will only allow a limited number of licenses for marijuana stores in each jurisdiction around the state, as it implements cannabis legalization measure I-502. Seattle, for instance, is allocated 21 stores (it currently has close to 200 medical marijuana dispensaries, which is why the LCB is gunning to shut those shops down next year). The state also limited to three the number of licenses each business can hold.
Sadis said he had considered the "straw application" approach, in which people he knows would act as straw applicants who would apply for licenses on his behalf under their own names, increasing his odds of getting picked.
A legal marijuana farm organizer on Vashon Island in Washington state says he is selling a rare David Choe painting to fund his organization.
“It is a fabulous painting that I bought in 2006 just as David Choe was becoming well known," said painting owner Shango Los. "Now that he is an international superstar, I’d like to cash out and invest in American marijuana agriculture. I’m sure David Choe would approve.”
Los said he doesn't grow marijuana on Vashon Island, but rather founded the Vashon Island Marijuana Entrepreneurs Alliance which organizes food farmers and other entrepreneurs who wish to move into the legal marijuana market.
“We have an opportunity to let marijuana grow beside our traditional food crops and save the family farm," Shango said. "The only way this will happen though is with grass roots community organizing and that takes money.”
The sale of the painting will fund the continuing efforts of VIMEA, according to Los.
Along with the painting, Shango is selling a shirt he was wearing at the gallery when he bought the painting upon which David Choe wrote “DAVE CHOE RUINS SHIRTS” and an image in marker.
The eBay auction is for both the painting and the shirt. The painting has an auction estimate of $5,000 to $10,000, with a starting bid of $3,500.
“David Choe’s talents have made him a heavily watched artist," Los said. "I expect that the rare opportunity to buy an original painting by him in a private sale will draw out both avid David Choe fans and savvy art investors alike.”
The auction ends May 14, Los said.
Congressional vote expected this month to restrict DOJ enforcement against state-compliant patients like the "Kettle Falls 5"
Medical marijuana patient Larry Harvey, 70, is traveling to Washington, D.C., this week to persuade Congress to stop funding unnecessary federal prosecutions like his, according to patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Harvey is one of the "Kettle Falls 5," a federal medical marijuana case that is scheduled to go to trial next week in Spokane, Washington on May 12.
Despite repeated claims by the Obama Administration that it is not targeting individual patients, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has spent more than $3 million so far to prosecute five patients who were each growing less than 15 plants in accordance with state law. If convicted, the DOJ could spend as much as $13 million to send them to prison.
The "Kettle Falls 5" is made up of mostly family members, including Harvey, his wife Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, her son Rolland Gregg, 33, daughter-in-law Michelle Gregg, 35, and friend of the family Jason Zucker, 38. All five are legal patients with serious medical conditions.
Prosecutions Contradict Obama Administration Statements, Policy Against Targeting Sick Patients
Family members from a rural area of eastern Washington are expected to go to trial next month on federal marijuana charges, despite the Obama Administration's repeated claims that it does not target seriously ill patients. The federal trial of the "Kettle Falls 5" is scheduled for May 12, pending several pretrial motions which will be heard on April 22 before U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle in Spokane.
Because of marijuana's illegal status under federal law, patients like the "Kettle Falls 5" are typically prohibited from raising a medical necessity or state law defense in federal court.
Federal agents raided the property of Larry Harvey, 70, and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, at their rural family home near Kettle Falls, Washington in August 2012. In addition to seizing 44 premature marijuana plants, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confiscated the family's 2007 Saturn Vue, $700 in cash, medicated cookies and marijuana stored in the family freezer, along with legally owned firearms.
The five federal defendants, including Mrs. Firestack-Harvey’s son, Rolland Gregg, and daughter-in-law, were all qualified patients in compliance with Washington state law. Defense attorneys say the cannabis being cultivated on a remote corner of the family's 33-acre property was strictly for personal use.
By Steve Elliott
Organizers this week announced Spokannabis Fest, which they describe as "perhaps the biggest and best a two-day music, comedy and weed-smoking event of them all," to be held August 30-31 near Spokane, Washington.
The event will be held at Chamokane Creek Pines, a rustic campground 40 minutes northwest of Spokane, starting at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 30, and running through 11 p.m. on Sunday, August 31. Admission is $30 for one day and $50 for the weekend. Camping is also available.
Vendor packages costing between $300 and $1,750 are available for merchants who'd like to lease retail space for the weekend.
"There will be plenty of vendors selling marijuana accessories and paraphernalia, and lots of food vendors, too," said promoter Michael Antler. "You can camp out under the stars and smoke all weekend. It's a great time."
Alcohol is strictly prohibited at the event; it cannot be brought in, nor can it be purchased. Also, there will be no cannabis sales at the event. Per Washington state law, under I-502, attendees are permitted to bring in and consume marijuana at the festival.
Saturday's planned events include rock music, a wet t-shirt contest and a K-Y Jelly wrestling competition. There is a $1,000 first prize in both contests.
By Steve Elliott
The Suquamish Tribe of Washington state is exploring the idea of selling marijuana on their reservation at Port Madison.
The native American tribe proposed a deal with the Washington State Liquor Control Board earlier this year that would allow cannabis sales by the tribe and tribally-approved businesses, reports Tad Sooter at the Kitsap Sun.
The liquor board hasn't taken any formal action on the tribe's proposal, according to spokesman Brian Smith. Because the reservation is under federal rather than state jurisdiction, and marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the WSLCB will defer to the federal government on cannabis policies affecting the tribe, Smith said.
"I would not expect us to issue any licenses without some defining statement from the Department of Justice," Smith said on Wednesday.
Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman said the tribe hopes to discuss with the Liquor Control Board how they can become involved in legal marijuana sales. The tribe has a "responsibility to explore business opportunities that may help raise funds for its people and government," Forsman said in a statement released to the media.
"[T]he production and sale of marijuana on our tribal lands is simply something we are exploring and thought it vital to approach the Liquor Control Board as part of that process," Forsman said. The chairman noted that cannabis remains prohibited on the reservation under tribal law.
By Steve Elliott
Washington State University and private sector audit firm to produce ordered lists of applicants
The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday approved staff’s recommendation for a lottery that will select the "apparent successful applicants" for marijuana retail licenses.
The independent, double-blind process will happen April 21-25, according to the WSLCB, and will produce a list of applicants that the agency will use to continue its retail licensing process. The agency said it expects to begin issuing retail licenses no later than the first week of July.
Initiative 502 directed the WSLCB to limit the number of marijuana retail stores by county. In its rules, the WSLCB limited the number of stores statewide to 334.
The most populated cities within each county are allotted a maximum number of stores, with the remainder at large within the county. The rules further state that if the WSLCB receives more applications for a jurisdiction than there are stores allocated, the state would use a lottery process for producing a ranked order of applicants.
Well, surprise, surprise: There are hella more prospective marijuana store applicants than there are licenses available. And many of the unsuccessful applicants are going to be quite upset, some of them after spending tens of thousands of dollars getting ready to go into the marijuana business. Expect a spate of bitter lawsuits on the horizon.
By Steve Elliott
More than seven in 10 Washington state residents support a legal marijuana business opening in their neighborhood, according to the results of a new survey, with the level of support in Colorado is almost as high.
The survey of nearly 2,200 consumers from Washington and Colorado revealed what residents of both states think about the legalization of recreational cannabis, according to Avvo, Inc., an online legal Q&A forum.
Seventy-one percent of Washington residents, and 67 percent of Colorado residents, support cannabis businesses opening in their neighborhoods, according to the survey.
Forty-three percent said they plan to make a marijuana purchase in the future, and 70 percent of them believe that bringing cannabis to a dinner party will become as routine as bringing a bottle of wine in the not-too-distant future.
While residents of both legal states are welcoming marijuana businesses, they do have concerns: 43 percent are worried about kids having greater access to marijuana (but they already did, of course, under prohibition, and legal marijuana stores won't sell to them under legalization), and 42 percent are concerned about increased numbers of people driving under the influence of marijuana (but statistics show that traffic fatalities have fallen in medical marijuana states).
By Steve Elliott
The Yakama Nation tribe of Native Americans is fighting the implementation of Washington state marijuana legalization law I-502 on ancestral land.
If the tribe has its way a large chunk of Washington will reject the new state law, reports RT.com.
The 10,000-member tribe has already said cannabis will remain illegal on about 1.2 million acres of reservation in central Washington, but the tribe is now considering "a bold move that could test the limits of tribal sovereignty" by trying to keep marijuana illegal on another 10.8 million acres of tribal land, Jonathan Kaminsky of Reuters reports.
The tribe ceded the latter lands under an 1855 treaty with the U.S. government, but retained hunting, food-gathering and fishing rights there.
"Marijuana is the biggest problem for our people up to age 40," claimed an amazingly clueless George Colby, who unfortunately seems to have talked the Yakama Nation into allowing him to (badly) represent them as an attorney. "It's a bigger problem than alcohol," he claimed, absolutely proving himself to be a bullshitting blowhard.
At least six local governments in the state are also trying to keep out marijuana businesses, even under legalization. Two of those lie on the Yakama's ceded lands, so they'll have allies in the tribe in their quixotic anti-pot fight.
By Steve Elliott
The Washington State Liquor Control Board on Wednesday issued the state's first licenses to produce and process recreational marijuana during a Board meeting at its headquarters in Olympia.
The licenses were issued to Sean Green of Spokane, who will be doing business as Kouchlock Productions.
"This is a historic day," said Board Chair Sharon Foster. "The hard work and preparation this agency has done has laid the foundation to make this pioneering endeavor a success."
Kouchlock Productions is licensed to produce and process -- but not sell -- recreational marijuana. It holds a restricted tier-three license to produce marijuana initially up to a maximum of 21,000 square feet.
The company is one of more than 2,800 producer license applications that the WSLCB is currently processing. Licenses will be continuously issued as they are ready.
The WSLCB will update weekly its list of pending and active marijuana licenses on the Frequently Requested Lists page of the public records section of its website.
UN Wants US Federal Government to Crack Down On Colorado and Washington
By Steve Elliott
The United Nations drug watchdog group, the International Narcotics Control Board, on Tuesday released its 2014 Annual Report, in which it "deeply regrets" the states of Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana and said that cannabis legalization poses a "very grave danger to public health."
The INCB is in charge of enforcing international drug treaties, so it's no surprise that the body would take a dim view of moves towards cannabis legalization in the United States and Uruguay, because such moves are technically in violation of international drug treaties, reports Alan Travis of The Guardian.
The annual report claims that marijuana in Colorado has led to increases in car accidents involving "drug drivers" (the statistics actually show otherwise), and that marijuana-related treatment admissions are on the rise.
"Drug traffickers will choose the path of least resistance, so it is essential that global efforts to tackle the drug problem are unified," said INCB President Raymond Yans. "When governments consider their future policies on this, the primary consideration should beg the long-term health and welfare of the population."
Board to limit individual production, will begin issuing producer and processor licenses soon
The Washington State Liquor Control Board (Board) on Wednesday approved staff’s recommendations to limit the number of individual marijuana producer licenses to one (from the previous limit of three) and initially limit production at 70 percent, clearing a path for the agency to begin issuing producer and processor licenses.
“Today’s Board action clears an obstacle and allows the agency to begin issuing marijuana producer and processor license in the coming weeks,” said Board Chair Sharon Foster. “We believe this is the most fair and equitable way to get the market up and running.”
Single Production License Limited to 70 Percent
In its enforcement guidelines issued August 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice required states to ensure a tightly regulated and controlled market to prevent diversion of product to other states, sales to minors and other concerns.
The Board used available consumption data supplied by its consultant, BOTEC Analysis Corporation, to craft production limits in its rules to meet initial consumer demand without over-supplying. The rules are based on BOTEC’s input that the state can capture just "13 to 25 percent of the overall market in the first year of recreational sales."
"Additional production is likely necessary for the state to capture an increasing percentage as the market refines and matures," the Board drily noted. "Agency rules allow for flexibility to meet an evolving controlled market."
"Right now, you're taking everything away from them" ~ Rep. Cary Condotta
By Steve Elliott
Each time lawmakers scheduled and considered House Bill 2149 during the daytime, medical marijuana patients crowded the hearing rooms, protesting the changes they said would destroy safe access in the state. So the Washington state House waited until just before midnight Monday night to approve a measure gutting the state's medical cannabis law, claiming the move is necessary to "bring it into line" with the still-unimplemented legal recreational marijuana market created by Initiative 502.
HB 2149 passed shortly before midnight Monday on a 67-29 vote, reports Rachel La Corte at TDN.com. It now goes to the Washington Senate, which is already considering similar measures on how to "reconcile" the two marijuana systems, medical and recreational, which, ironically, voters were told would remain separate.
Changes under the bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Eileen Cody, include reducing the amount of marijuana patients can possess from 24 ounces to just 3 ounces; reducing the amount of plants patients can grow from 15 to just six plants, three of which may be flowering; entirely doing away with collective gardens, effectively eliminating dispensary access; and establishing a patient registry.