As part of Mayor Ed Murray's plan to crack down on Seattle's misbehaving medical marijuana dispensaries, the city has been conducting raids and surprise inspections at dispensaries that are considered "bad actors"—those that sell to minors or people who don't qualify as medical patients, those that are being investigated by law enforcement or that didn't have a business license before January 1, 2013, and others. Two of the targeted dispensaries—Columbia City Holistic Health and Better Day Gardens—have filed suit in response, alleging the city is violating federal laws by regulating the medical marijuana market and seeking injunctions allowing their shops to continue operating.
A second suit, filed by Sean Badgley of the C3 Law Group, alleges that the city misled dispensary owners by issuing them a 2015 business license and then passing an ordinance that forces them to close before the license's expiration.
Meanwhile, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board will open a new round of licensing to qualifying medical marijuana shops on October 12, allowing them to be added to the ranks of I-502-licensed recreational outlets before the medical market is fully folded into the recreational one next July.
The Beginning of the Northwest Price War?
Oregon's recreational market went live on October 1, offering a tax-free legal alternative to Washington's heavily taxed weed. Hot Tipper Damon in Portland reports that the weed is "very high quality compared to the store in Vancouver [Washington]" and that prices are decent, around $35 for 3.5 grams (or $10 per gram). He added, "I went to a different store in Washington that wanted $18 per gram for the same shit."
Is the sky falling? Not yet. Oregon recreational shops won't be able to sell edibles or concentrates for another year, and their tax-free gravy train leaves the station on New Year's Day. On Friday, I called Ed Gibbens of Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver to see if the much-hyped price war had taken a toll yet. "So far it hasn't hit us too bad," he said. "It's only been a day, though. Call me in a year."
He added that weed tourism was still going strong, and that a visit to a legal weed store in Washington is almost as essential to a Portland vacation as a visit to Voodoo Doughnut. (By the way, why would any Portlander afflicted with the munchies want to waste their money on a bacon doughnut when they could get bacon wedged inside a bun with a hunk of fried chicken and caper aioli at Lardo?)
Pot Resort Planned for South Dakota
Also in the weed tourism department, people are going apeshit over a South Dakota tribe's plan to open a weed resort on New Year's Eve. According to Al Jazeera, the Santee Sioux Tribe has already been inundated with reservation requests. Here in Washington, we are blissfully immune to this craze, as people looking to get lit and pay reparations to the state's Native American population have legally been able to do so for a while now.
Drug War Delivery
Hulk, a German shepherd residing in the Arizona border town of Nogales, was rendered temporarily homeless by a 24-pound package of pot that fell from a smuggler's aircraft, according to the Nogales International. The package smashed through the roof of the carport housing the doggie residence and then continued through Hulk's plastic hut, leaving him with what authorities estimated to be about $10,000 worth of pot. Hulk was unharmed but probably very annoyed that his family gave the weed to the cops instead of using it to buy him $10,000 worth of skirt steak.