washington state

U.S.: '5 Hour High' Cannabis Energy Drink Announced


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Alternaturals, Inc., on Thursday announced that it has chosen Kush Creams, a Washington-based medical marijuana grower and distributor, to manufacture and distribute what it is calling its new medicinal cannabis product, 5 Hour High.

According to the company, 5 Hour High is a shot-style drink, similar to the energy drinks found in convenience stores -- with one big difference. This juice-like drink delivers a dose of THC, marijuana's main psychoactive ingredient, that it says "has been specially formulated to improve mood and maintain energy levels."

The company said it expects non-smoking methods of ingesting THC to become more popular now that "many states have decriminalized the multi-billion dollar marijuana industry."

Alternaturals said it wants 5 Hour High to be sold in "most" medical marijuana dispensaries where medicinal consumption of cannabis is legal.

"We are extremely excited to be working with Kush Creams on this project because in an emerging market, you really have to go with the best if you want to have a long term stake in this industry," said Emmanual Gyamfi, CEO at Alternaturals. "We haven't found another company like them, and we are confident that we will both be very successful with this product line."

Washington: Marijuana-Infused Coffee Ready To Hit The Market


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington state loves coffee and cannabis. And Washingtonians are about to be able to enjoy both things together -- and I'm not talking about smoking a joint with your morning cuppa joe. I'm talking about getting a two-way buzz -- caffeine and THC -- from cannabis-infused coffee.

Marijuana coffee has already been available for years in Washington state's medical marijuana dispensaries, but it's set to hit the now-legal mass market this summer. The cold-brewed cannabis-infused coffee, called Legal, is expected to debut in early July, according to product developer Adam Stites of Longview, Wash., reports Ron Dicker at The Huffington Post.

"It's an alert, creative high," Stites said, calling it "the wake and bake drink," reports Josh Kerns at My Northwest.

Each bottle will contain about 20 milligrams of THC, according to Stites. He says that small dose is enough to make it similar to having "a nice IPA or glass of wine," he claimed. "We don't want to pack so much THC into every one of our drinks that it's unpleasant, especially for people that are just getting into marijuana," he said.

Washington: Parolees Allowed To Smoke Marijuana Starting June 1


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a refreshing bit of "if it's legal, it's legal," parolees in Washington state will be allowed to smoke marijuana starting on June 1, according to the Washington Department of Corrections.

The new policy will permit the state's 14,000 parolees to use cannabis like any other adult in the state under I-502, the legalization measure approved by voters in 2012, reports Chris Ingalls at King 5.

Interestingly, the DOC didn't change its policy until recreational marijuana was legalized by state voters; medical marijuana patients on parole have for years been denied their medicine in Washington state, despite their demonstrated medical need for it.

"We're putting some changes into effect so that we won't routinely test offenders in the community for THC," said Annmarie Aylward, assistant secretary at the Department of Corrections.

The DOC routinely tests parolees' urine for traces of six types of drugs, including THC (the main active ingredient in marijuana), but that list will be reduced to five, starting on June 1.

"We don't want them held to that level when, as a citizen, you wouldn't be held to that level either," Aylward said.

But the Department of Corrections insists it isn't "endorsing" the use of cannabis.

"There's no way the Department of Corrections is endorsing the use of marijuana," Aylward said. "We are simply aligning with state law."

Washington: Food Truck Now Sells Marijuana-Infused Treats


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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."

Washington: Some Marijuana Entrepreneurs Who Didn't Win License Plan Lawsuits


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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.

Washington: Allegations Surface of Rigging In Marijuana License Lottery; Lawsuits Possible


By Steve Elliott
Seattle Weekly

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.

Washington: Farm Organizer Selling Rare Painting 'To Fund American Marijuana Agriculture'


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.

U.S.: Federal Medical Marijuana Defendant Goes To D.C. To Lobby Congress Before Trial


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.

Washington: Five Medical Marijuana Patients Headed To Federal Trial; Prosecutors Seek 10 Years


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.

Washington: Spokannabis Fest Announced For Aug. 30-31; Bring Your Own Weed


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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.

Washington: Suquamish Tribe Approaches State About Marijuana Sales


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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.

Washington: Liquor Control Board Announces Lottery Process For Marijuana Store Licenses


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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.

Washington: 71% of Residents Support Legal Marijuana Stores Opening In Their Neighborhood


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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).

Washington: Native Americans Fight Marijuana Legalization On Tribal Land


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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.

Washington: Liquor Board Issues First Recreational Marijuana Licenses


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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.

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