Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2016
Source: Stranger, The (Seattle, WA)
Copyright: 2016 The Stranger
Author: Tobias Coughlin-Bogue


And Other Marijuana News

Don't Expect to See Legal Pot Delivered to Your Doorstep Anytime Soon

The bill from Representative Chris Hurst (D-Enumclaw) that would have 
set up a pilot program allowing for delivery service by 
state-licensed cannabis retailers failed to meet the house's February 
26 voting cutoff on policy bills.

According to Hurst, it wasn't popular with certain parts of Seattle's 
pot industry, which didn't trust the Washington State Liquor and 
Cannabis Board to implement it fairly. Despite these woes, Hurst told 
me, the bill could still make it, as it has a fiscal component and 
could be voted on as part of the budget process.

"It's not dead yet," he said. "I think it's a very good bill, and I 
think Seattle brought forward a good proposal. I'd like to see it 
move through. And I'm not done yet with the tax reduction bill or the 
preemption bill."

On February 24, Hurst dropped off a brand-new bill that, in addition 
to being the most quotable piece of cannabis legislation I've ever 
seen, combined his other pet projects: the tax reduction bill and the 
bill that preempts counties, cities, and towns from implementing 
moratoriums or bans on marijuana businesses without putting it to a 
public vote.

After going on a quixotic journey of justification for marijuana-"The 
legislature finds that although the relationship between humans and 
marijuana probably goes back a lot further, tombs of Egyptian mummies 
dating to 950 BC were found to contain marijuana"-the bill lays out a 
strong case for cheaper, more widely available weed.

In the announcement of the bill, Hurst's office included estimates 
showing that, if his Franken-bill does make it through the woefully 
short legislative session, the state could see more than $1 billion 
in new tax revenue over the next five years. That's a pretty 
attractive number, especially given that we're still fucked on school funding.

Sadly, delivery is not included in Hurst's juggernaut, and here in 
Seattle, the city's crackdown on delivery will continue, says Deputy 
City Attorney John Schochet. He recently spoke in favor of the 
delivery bill in front of Hurst's Commerce & Gaming Committee and 
said he was "disappointed" that it didn't pass.

"It's always better to have a legal option to point people to who 
want delivery, but we're not going to have that," Schochet said. "We 
do have a good brick-and-mortar retail market." He urged consumers to 
stop using illegal delivery services, despite a lack of legal alternatives.

"With some advance planning, people should be able to buy any 
marijuana that they want to use from the brick-and-mortar stores," he 
said. "We're never going to make headway if people continue to use 
the illegal market. It's incumbent upon anyone who wants legalization 
to work to use the legal stores."

Homegrow Legal in Canada, Fails to Take Root Here

On February 24, Canada's Federal Court ruled that the government must 
allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own marijuana. The 
arguments that helped win over Canada's highest court are eerily 
similar to what homegrow activists here in Washington are saying: 
Legal pot is prohibitively expensive for low-income patients, they 
need access to specific strains, and if they can't grow their own, 
they'll turn to the black market for affordable weed.

If you've ever grown pot, which I've absolutely 100 percent never 
done, you know that it's a painstaking process and more expensive 
than you would think. However, for the purposes of personal use, 
especially for those who require high dosages to treat their medical 
conditions, it can provide a cost-effective alternative to buying 
pricey legal weed or illegal black-market weed.

Like the weed-delivery bill, our homegrow bill in Olympia seems to be 
trapped indefinitely. This year, it was Representative Hurst himself 
who sent it back to legislative purgatory, declining to put it up for 
a vote in his Commerce & Gaming Committee at a February 8 meeting.

While Hurst is a big supporter of legal pot and a big fan of the tax 
money it brings, he's been historically skeptical of the 
less-regulated medical marijuana industry, where most of the support 
for homegrow comes from. In 2013, he called the MMJ industry "an 
enterprise that is 99 and nine-tenths percent-maybe not nine-tenths 
but 99.2 percent-just a criminal enterprise."

Potheads Are Holding-Degrees and Babies, That Is

After all that depressing news, here's something uplifting: A survey 
of 1,400 patients by HelloMD, an online service that facilitates 
medical marijuana patient authorizations, seems to indicate that 
potheads aren't, as the movie Half Baked led millions to believe, a 
bunch of adorably incompetent morons. Proof of that: 45 percent of 
respondents had their shit together enough to give birth to and care 
for a tiny human, and 85 percent of respondents had some form of 
higher education. And 15 percent even had postgraduate degrees!

Also interesting: The vast majority of respondents lived in or near 
major metropolitan areas, and anxiety was the number-one symptom they 
used medical marijuana to treat.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom