This Week In Cannabis 7/11

Cannabis in the News

Washington, Washington and more Washington. Plus a little Montana for good measure.  

A Pale Green State
Washington is dominating the marijuana news cycle, and for good reason. Recreational marijuana sales are finally up and running in the Evergreen state and Tuesday saw the first sales of legal marijuana. However, with only one store reporting ready for active duty on July 8, some believe it isn’t as rosy as it seems.

U.S. News is reporting that some activists are not seeing it as a success now—or in the future—predicting dark clouds of black market and litigation due to ignorance of the law on the state’s horizon.

It has also been fairly well documented that it hasn’t quite been the smooth roll-out that Colorado experienced. The process has been plagued with state and licensee organizational snafus.

Currently there are only 80 licensed growers and 24 state-sanctioned stores, meaning the burgeoning trade is up against the wall in terms of supply as well as where to get it.

But having said all that—and while everyone waits for the smoke to clear—you can now legally buy weed in Washington State!

From Green Tips to Pink Slips
Washington’s marijuana legalization high also came with a surprising buzz kill for one man after marijuana retail sales became legal on Tuesday, reports BuzzFeed.

Michael Boyer has the distinction of being the first person to purchase marijuana legally in Spokane—and probably the first person to lose his job as a result.

Local TV cameras and media outlets captured Boyer’s 19-hour wait and his gleeful historic first purchase. Those reports then captured the attention of his bosses who called him right after his purchase. Boyer explains that he works multiple part-time jobs, and both Kodiak Security Services and a staffing agency named TrueBlue called him after appearing on television and asked for a urine test.

Boyer said of this momentous event, “I was really unaware that this might be a big deal.” However, Thursday showed a change of heart from TrueBlue, who admitted that because he was on his day off they had no legal right to request a drug test. In addition to reinstating his job, they also provided him a day’s worth of pay that he missed.

This sparks the debate about the use of drug  testing by companies to test for state-legal substances in determining employment status in that state. But for now, Michael Boyer could still possibly be looking for a new job.

Petition Proves D.C. has Grassroots Interest in Legalization
The other Washington, the D.C. variety, has collected some 57,000 votes in the effort to get marijuana legalization on the November 4 ballot, more than doubling the necessary number according to the Washington Post.

Enthusiasm for legalization efforts has clearly not been dampened by the political cat fighting, which has stymied legalization efforts at almost every turn in the Nation’s capital.

This measure is not quite as far-reaching as other states’ efforts, however, as it calls for allowing adults over 21 to possess 2 ounces of weed and to be able to grow three plants, but does not legalize the sale of it.  The voter initiative is on a good track, but given both the District and Congress’ previous track record regarding marijuana advocacy, the initiative has its work cut out for it.

Yet it is heartening that—barring any major mishaps—the legalization initiative will be in front of the Board of Elections for certification in August.

Setting the Bar Too High
And as a foil to the D.C. petition’s success, anti-pot activist and used car salesman, Steve Zabawa, has not quite reached his vowed target of 100,000 votes to stop the use or possession of any and all marijuana in Montana.

Sadly, the 24,174 votes necessary to give life to I-74, which would in essence have Montana adopt the Federal model on marijuana, proved a bridge too far. There’s always next time, Steve.