washington state

Washington: Federal Jury Acquits Medical Marijuana Defendants On 4 Of 5 Charges

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Three remaining Kettle Falls Five defendants found guilty of manufacturing less than 100 plants, likely to appeal

In an unexpected Tuesday verdict, the jury in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case from eastern Washington State, known as the Kettle Falls Five, acquitted the three remaining defendants of all but one charge of manufacturing less than 100 marijuana plants.

The charge carries no mandatory minimum sentence and defendants Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 56, her son Rolland Gregg, 33, and daughter-in-law Michelle Gregg, 36, remain free until sentencing on June 10 at 10 am.

In a prosecution and week-long trial that used up roughly $2 million, the Obama Administration aggressively pursued marijuana trafficking charges against a family of patients who claimed to have been growing for themselves in full compliance with Washington State's medical marijuana law. The Department of Justice (DOJ) also chose to try them in defiance of a recent Congressional ban on DOJ interference in the implementation of state law.

U.S.: Researcher Forecasts Next 5 States Likely To Legalize Marijuana

5StatesWhereRecreationalMarijuanaCouldSoonBeLegal(BarneyWarf-UniversityOfKansas)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With laws taking effect last week legalizing recreational marijuana in both Alaska and Washington, D.C., a researcher into the history of cannabis has predicted the next five U.S. states where voters will likely approve the use of pot for relaxation and enjoyment.

University of Kansas geography professor Barney Warf, author of "High Points: An Historical History of Cannabis," published in the peer-reviewed Geographical Review in September 2014, said legalization can be "hard to predict," but he made his forecast of the next states expected to legalize, "based on current laws and voter leanings."

"All five of these states have legal medical marijuana and tend to be liberal or libertarian in voting patterns," Warf said.

The Next Five States Where Recreational Marijuana Could Be Legal

1. California: "Recreational cannabis almost was legalized in the past, and California voters are sure to do so in 2016," Warf said.

2. Nevada:: "Nevada shares the libertarian sentiments of Alaska."

3. Vermont: "There's a strong liberal tradition there in Vermont."

4. Illinois: "The Land of Lincoln is surprisingly progressive on this issue."

5. New York:: "New York legalized medical marijuana last year."

U.S.: National Cannabis Industry Association Presenting Cultivation Symposium March 16-18

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The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is launching its first cultivation-focused conference and expo, The Cultivation Management Symposium, March 14-16 in Seattle, Washington.

The conference, designed for cannabis industry professionals, will bring together leading minds in the cultivation arena for three days of education, product discovery, and networking. More than 400 attendees, more than 30 exhibitors, and dozens of speakers will share best practices in the rapidly evolving fields of cultivation and horticulture.

Keynote speakers include:

• Alex Cooley, Solstice Grow
• Jonathan Valdman, Forever Flowering Greenhouses
• Amy Poinsett, MJ Freeway
• Jan Carlos Byl and Adam Dunn, MedCanna Consulting
• Jennifer Martin, Bulbulyan Consulting Group
• Phillip Hague, Mindful
• Stephen Keen, Surna
• Jay Czarcowski, Canna Advisors

NCIA's Cultivation Management Symposium is positioned to give cannabis industry professionals a wide spectrum of information on cultivation, with topics ranging from horticulture science to operational efficiency. An array of experienced speakers will provide attendees with actionable solutions needed to drive return-on-investment for cannabis cultivation.

Topics of discussion will include:

• Sustainable approaches to commercial cannabis cultivation
• Analyzing harmful contaminants
• Cultivation practices: Soil-less mediums, alternative nutrients, outdoor, and greenhouse
• Facility design and operations
• HR and talent acquisition
• Cultivation science: Genetics, strain creation, tissue culture

Washington: Ribbon Cutting Set For Higher Leaf, Recreational Marijuana Store In Kirkland

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The Ribbon Cutting for Higher Leaf, a recreational marijuana store based in Kirkland, Washington, will be held on Thrursday, February 26.

"We are thrilled to announce the Grand Opening Celebration for Higher Leaf, Kirkland’s premiere Recreational Marijuana Store," reads an prepared press release from Higher Leaf's Molly Honig. "The official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, which will be co-hosted by the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce is on Thursday, February 26th at 5:30 pm. Representatives from both the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the Kirkland City Council will be in attendance."

"We will have product specials and demonstrations at the main event and throughout the weekend of February 26th-March 1st," the release promises. "Representatives from Zoots, Craft Elixirs, Verdelux Chocolates, Liberty Reach, Confidence Labs, and several growers will be on hand for product demonstrations and some will provide non-infused samples of their products."

"We will also have a full menu of of marijuana flower, marijuana infused products, edibles, concentrates and paraphernalia available for purchase," Higher Leaf spokesperson Molly Honig confirmed to Hemp News Thursday evening.

Consumption of marijuana or marijuana infused products on the premises is not permitted so demonstrations will be done with non-infused products or household spices. Snacks will be available at the ribbon cutting event for anyone with a case of the munchies, according to Higher Leaf.

Washington: Small Town Plans To Run Its Own Marijuana Store By Month's End

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The City of North Bonneville, Washington, a community of about a thousand residents on the Columbia River, doesn't appear extraordinary at first glance, but it's unique in one way: It's about to become the first municipality in the state to run its own marijuana store.

The city is just weeks from getting a license to open the store, which local officials said could serve as a model for other cities across the state, reports Bill Conroy at The Narcosphere.

North Bonneville was founded on the timber industry, which is now in steep decline, so it counts on tourism as a major economic force. The city's just 45 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon, another state which recently legalized recreational cannabis.

But city leaders said tourism wasn't the driving force behind their decision to open a marijuana store. North Bonneville Mayor Don Stevens said the city wanted to seize control of its own destiny in the evolution of a legal cannabis market that holds great promise, even while pockets of hard-core opposition to pot continue to exist.

Washington: Federal Judge To Hear Motion To Dismiss In Kettle Falls 5 Medical Marijuana Case

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Defendant Larry Harvey will argue that new Congressional measure forbids the DOJ from prosecuting his family

A motion to dismiss will be heard in federal court Thursday, February 12, in a widely watched medical marijuana case involving a family from rural northeastern Washington State. Larry Harvey, 71, and other family members of the so-called "Kettle Falls Five" have moved for dismissal of their case, arguing that a recently enacted Congressional measure forbids the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting them.

What: Hearing on a motion to dismiss in the widely watched federal medical marijuana case of the Kettle Falls Five
When: Thursday, February 12 at 10 am
Where: Courtroom 902 of the Spokane Federal Courthouse, 920 West Riverside Ave, Spokane, WA 99201

"Prosecuting persons who may be operating in compliance with state medical marijuana laws prevents states from implementing their own laws," reads one of the motions to dismiss written by Harvey's attorney Robert Fischer. Harvey's motion argues that state law is undermined by discouraging lawful patients from accessing medical marijuana because of the threat of federal prosecution.

Harvey also argues that "federal prosecutions take away Washington's authority to determine for itself whether someone is in compliance with its laws or not."

Washington: Bogus I-502 Deadline Letter Alarms Legal Marijuana Store Applicants

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A number of I-502 applicants who want to run legal marijuana businesses in the state of Washington have been alarmed by a solicitation from a company about an impending universal February deadline, according to a Wednesday morning email from the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

The letter warns of the supposed impending deadline for applicants to "get set up" and that the Liquor Control Board will "no longer wait for your plan to come together."

"We have money and a location and resources are are local honest hard working successful business people looking for like-minded people," the solicitation letter reads. "We are not brokers or big venture capitalists nor are we promising that anyone will make millions in this new industry."

"Those licenses that held out hoping to come up with a plan later may actually lose out and your license could now be worthless," the letter claimed. "The WSLCB will no longer wait for your plan to come together or moratoriums being lifted, they have goals and must achieve them."

"WSLCB expected you to have your plans which included funds and a location ready when you applied and their patience is wearing thin," the solicitation letter goes on (evidently someone is practicing their "Scolding a Stoner" skills).

"This has caused some alarm among applicants and led to calls to the Liquor Control Board," Wednesday morning's email from the WSLCB reads. "Those claims are not true."

Washington: Marijuana Vending Machine Coming To Seattle

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Seattle-area medical marijuana patients will soon be able to buy their cannabis from a vending machine.

It's the "first age-verifying, climate-controlled, self-service dispensary," according to American Green, the manufacuter of the ZaZZZ marijuana machine, reports KOMO.

The machine is scheduled to debut on Tuesday, February 3, at Seattle Caregivers, a medical marijuana dispensary. Seattle Caregivers is located on 1207 South Jackson Street, B105, in Seattle.

Marijuana flowers, edibles, "and other merchandise" will be dispensed from the machine after age and identity verification via scanner, according to the company.

Washington: Conference To Discuss Legalizing Marijuana On Native American Lands

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The recent announcement from the United States federal government that it won't stop Native American tribes from growing and selling marijuana is a game-changer. In February, the subject will be the focus of a groundbreaking national conference focusing on legalization in Indian country.

Tribal leaders, executives, entrepreneurs and health and social work professionals -- along with law enforcement personnel -- will be on hand to examine the legal, political and social policy implications of the change, reports Indian Country Today Media Network.

The conference will be held Friday, February 27, at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Quil Ceda Village, Washington. Odawi Law PLLC and Harris Moure, PLLC are the co-sponsors of the event to help "leaders in Indian country fully understand the wide-ranging issues associated with embarking on the development of tribal marijuana legislation and considerations of commercial marijuana cultivation, manufacture and distribution in tribal jurisdictions,” according to a press release.

Washington: US Army Issues Letters To Marijuana Stores Demanding They Not Sell To Troops

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A letter has been sent to marijuana stores in Washington state on official Department of the Army letterhead asking marijuana stores to not sell to enlisted troops.

"This letter is to inform you that your establishment has been declarted 'Off-Limits' to members of the Armed Forces effective 21 January 2015," the letter, first revealed on Twitter by Seattle-based Canna Law Group's Hilary Bricken on Thursday.

"Forces are prohibited from entering your establishment as long as this order is in effect," readers the letter, signed by David L. Chase, Colonel, U.S. Army, and President, AFDCB (Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board).

"This restriction will remain in effect indefinitely in accordance with established Armed Forces policy unless you agree to stop selling substances similar to marijuana to military personnel," reads the curiously worded letter. I say curiously worded, because these stores don't sell "substances similar to marijuana," Col. Chase. Sir, they sell MARIJUANA.

"You have thirty (30) days to present evidence to the AFDCB that you agree to stop selling these substances to military personnel," the letter demands, taking the "guilty until proven innocent" approach that seems to be popular among Army types.

Washington: I-1372 Gathering Signatures To Protect And Strengthen Medical Marijuana

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Backers of a new initiative to strengthen Washington state's medical marijuana law are now gathering signatures.

"Initiative Measure No. 1372, filed January 6, 2015, will protect and strengthen the medical cannabis law, RCW 69.51A, by offering compassion, clarity and consistency," said Kirk Ludden of Cannabis Patient Protection Washington (CPPWA) on Wednesday.

I-1372 would make the following changes, according to Ludden:

• Bringing Washington state law into compliance with stated federal policy

• Allowing business owners to obtain licenses for producing, processing or dispensing cannabis in a commercial manner. Using the language from ESSB 5073, specifying cannabis for medical use licensing, allowing producers and processors to deliver cannabis to any cannabis for medical use licensee, and allowing the botanical herb tax exemption on cannabis for medical use.

• Creating and empowering the cannabis for medical use board, made up of the state and the community, to govern all aspects of the market. Through licensing and regulation fees, revenue is generated for the board to regulate the not-for-profit cannabis for medical use market while remaining revenue neutral.

• Maintaining small, private residential gardens and patient cooperatives that do not violate the spirit or intent of law. As well as protecting existing cannabis farmer's markets serving qualifying patients.

Washington: New Marijuana Strain Named After Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch

MarshawnLynchBeastMode2.0(TMZ)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Talk about a super bowl, man. Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has a potent new marijuana strain named after him in the Emerald City... for the second year in a row.

Nate "Diggity" Johnson, co-owner of marijuana delivery service Green Umbrella, developed "Beast Mode OG," a strain named after the football star during the run-up to last year's Super Bowl, reports Stephen Cohen at the Seattle PI. Now Johnson and an unnamed grower have released "Beast Mode 2.0," also known as "Beast Mode Blue Fire," just in time for this year's big game.

According to Diggity, this Beast Mode is even crazier than last year's. "We're back in the Super Bowl and better than ever now, so it only makes sense to have a better strain," Johnson said.

Careful, though, you might get weed-tackled.

"There's no way that you're getting by smoking this without feeling it, kind of how Marshawn literally pushes the defense down instead of them pushing him down," Johnson enthused. "It's going to push you. You're going to feel it right away."

"It's a super pain reliever," Johnson told TMZ. "And it hits you like Marshawn -- hard and fast."

Washington: Kettle Falls 5 Defendant Moves For Dismissal In Federal Medical Marijuana Case

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Larry Harvey argues that new Congressional measure should prevent the DOJ from prosecuting his family

A motion to dismiss has been filed in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case involving a family from rural northeastern Washington State. Larry Harvey, 71, of the Kettle Falls Five, has moved for dismissal of his case or an order preventing further prosecution. The motion relies on the recently enacted Congressional measure that bans funding for medical marijuana enforcement by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

"Prosecuting persons who may be operating in compliance with state medical marijuana laws prevents states from implementing their own laws," reads the brief written by Harvey's attorney, Robert Fischer. Harvey's motion argues that state law is undermined by discouraging lawful patients from accessing medical marijuana because of the threat of federal prosecution.

Harvey also argues that "federal prosecutions take away Washington's authority to determine for itself whether someone is in compliance with its laws or not."

Harvey's motion to dismiss comes just a month after President Obama signed the so-called "Cromnibus" spending bill, which included Section 538, an historic rider that prohibits DOJ funds from being spent to block implementation of state medical marijuana laws. Advocates argue that federal prosecutions like that of the Kettle Falls Five run contrary to the spirit and letter of the law now in effect.

Washington: Legal Pot Shortage Turns Into Legal Pot Glut

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington has a weed headache. Implementation of the state's weak, badly written marijuana legalization measure, Initiative 502, continues to be plagued with problems. When legal recreational cannabis shops opened last summer, there was a shortage of weed, and high prices. Now, six months later, there's a glut of weed, as growers are left sitting on hundreds of pounds of product -- but prices are still absurdly high at the 502 stores.

A big autumn harvest of outdoor cannabis from the eastern part of the state flooded the market, reports the Associated Press. That would normally mean plummeting prices at pot shops, but even as growers are worried about going belly up, pot shops continue to charge $23 to $25 a gram -- more than twice the going price either on the street or in medical marijuana dispensaries.

"It's an economic nightmare," said Andrew Seitz, general manager at Dutch Brothers Farms in Seattle.

Licensed growers had harvested 31,000 pounds of marijuana as of Thursday, according to state data, but Washington's few licensed pot shops had sold less than 20 percent of that. Many marijuana users in Washington, faced with ridiculously out-of-synch prices in state marijuana stores, have opted to stick with the less expensive pot they buy on the black market, or at medical marijuana dispensaries.

U.S.: Mary's Medicinals Launches Mobile App To Track Medical Marijuana Use

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Mary's Medicinals on Tuesday announced the release of Mary's Journal, which it called "the first mobile app designed to help patients track and balance their use of cannabis medicine while simultaneously contributing valuable data to research efforts."

Mary's Journal is designed to help patients monitor their medicinal cannabis use, while gathering anonymized data on use preferences, patterns and results. The information that patients contribute will be paramount in Mary's quest to validate the efficacy of cannabis, leading to clinical trials and research that will help thousands of patients more successfully battle ailments including PTSD, depression, cancer and epilepsy.

Mary's Journal compiles data including medical conditions, treatments (including all types of cannabis and non-cannabis medicines) symptoms, dosing and other preferences -- then checks in with users regarding current symptoms and medication at certain points throughout the day. With planned upgrades, users will ultimately be able to learn more about how their symptoms change based on different dosing strategies and track additional health details, according to Mary's Medicinals.

"Most of the knowledge about cannabis medicine that is available today is based on what we have learned directly from patients," said Nicole Smith, CEO, Mary's Medicinals. "Mary's Journal now enables patients to share information with each other and with researchers on a global scale, which will lead to clinical studies, improved protocols for canna-based medicinal use and the creation of innovative, effective products.

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