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Washington state bar owner tells pot smokers to light up

Category: News | Posted on Mon, December, 10th 2012 by THCFinder
When that gets old, bar owner Frank Schnarr suggests, area stoners have another option: grab a booth at Frankie's Sports Bar & Grill in Olympia and toke up there.
 
Schnarr, 62, says he is not acting out of a love of cannabis - he says he hasn't smoked the stuff since he was a soldier stationed in Southeast Asia in the 1970s. Rather, he's looking for new sources of income.
 
"I stay up at night," he said. "I'm about to lose my business. So I've got to figure out some way to get people in here."
 
Schnarr, who waged an ultimately successful battle with local and state officials over Washington's 2006 smoking ban, appears to be the first restaurant or bar owner in the state to test the recently expanded limits on recreational marijuana use.
 
So, is he breaking the law?
 
Federal, state and local officials appear unsure. Or if they are, they're not saying.
 
"Marijuana remains illegal under federal law," said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle. "I can't tell you whether what he's doing is legal or not."
 
Says Tom Morrill, Olympia's city attorney: "We're looking into it. There are a lot of changes in state law right now. That's all I can say."
 
Mikhail Carpenter, spokesman for the state's Liquor Control Board, newly empowered to make rules for and oversee the state's planned regime for the cultivation, processing and sale of marijuana, is similarly noncommittal.
 
"The board is weighing its options with regard to Frankie's," he said. "It's not perfectly crystal clear as to who this falls to."
 
Carpenter said he knows of no other bar or restaurant in the state that allows marijuana smoking.
 
The legal gray area that Schnarr is exploiting exists in part thanks to his earlier fight over the smoking ban.
 
In order to flout it, Schnarr renamed his establishment's smoking-friendly second floor as "Friends of Frankie's," a private room limited to those who pay a $10 annual membership fee.
 

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Marijuana Legalization: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Could Be Convinced

Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 7th 2012 by THCFinder
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he doesn't yet know if he supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use -- but he could be convinced.
 
"I'm not there yet. I could be," Villaraigosa said during an extended interview on HuffPost Live Thursday. "We have to make sure that you have certain protections, obviously, like driving under the influence. But it's not before us, so I don't need to opine at this point.
 
Over 95 percent of the Border Patrol's anti-drug trafficking efforts along the U.S.-Mexico border involve marijuana, according to a report from the Center for International Policy released this week. Marijuana accounted for 46 percent of all illegal drug arrests in 2010, according to FBI statistics.
 
But despite U.S. authorities' preoccupation with controlling marijuana use, support for its legalization has grown in recent years. Medical marijuana laws have made the drug widely available in California, and the states of Washington and Colorado legalized recreational use of it on Nov. 6.
 

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Washington's new 'driving high' DUI law for marijuana users stirs fears

Category: News | Posted on Wed, December, 5th 2012 by THCFinder
At 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Washington will become a right-to-toak state. But the state's new marijuana law has what Dave Slack calls a "strange twist," making it illegal for many medicinal pot users to drive to work or the doctor's office.
 
In addition to being able to light up, voter-approved Initiative 502 allows Washington adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Yet under a provision intended to make the legalization more palatable to voters last month, people with a THC blood content of 5 nanograms per milliliter can't get behind the wheel.
 
"There's no science behind that number," said Slack, owner of the Vancouver medicinal marijuana dispensary Releaf MM. "We're talking such a minute amount to make most patients basically criminals."
 
Did the sponsors of Washington's legalization initiative do the right thing by including a DUI standard?
 
Under the new DUI rules, Slack and other activists worry that medical pot users will lose their freedom to get around and have to take on the budget-crippling costs of regularly taking taxis. 
 
Steve Sarich, a Seattle resident who uses medical marijuana for back pain caused by degenerative Arthritis and spearheaded opposition to the initiative due to the blood-content limit, said he may need to hire a driver or leave the state altogether.
 
With the support of Sarich, the "No on 52" campaign has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to temporarily block the initiative, largely because of the DUI rule.
 
"Certainly, now have to be careful driving," Sarich said. "With this rule in place, per se, I'm always going to be driving impaired. Treating me like a criminal? That's certainly not what I would call legalization."
 

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Synthetic marijuana sent more than 11,400 people to ER in 2010

Category: News | Posted on Tue, December, 4th 2012 by THCFinder
Though it may not be considered "real" pot, synthetic marijuana may cause real health problems.
 
A new report shows synthetic pot sent 11,406 people to the emergency room in 2010.
 
The number pales in comparison to the 461,028 people who went to the ER for marijuana-related causes in 2010, but it's still a large number that's concerning officials. One-third of the people who went to the hospital for synthetic marijuana were between the ages of 12 to 17. Another 35 percent were individuals aged 18 to 24.
 
"It's not an epidemic," Rear Admiral Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, told HealthDay. "But it's a growing problem. And people need to be thinking about it, and how we're going to deal with it."
 
The statistics were released by Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), a federal government program that is part of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
 
Synthetic marijuana -- sold under many names including the K2 and Spice brands -- is typically a blend of herbal mixtures that when consumed create effects similar to cannabis, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They are labeled "not for human consumption," but people often buy them for their psychoactive effects.
 

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Former Microsoft Manager, To Launch 'Premium Marijuana' Business In Washington

Category: News | Posted on Tue, December, 4th 2012 by THCFinder
Jamen Shively is looking to cash in on the green.
 
The former Microsoft manager told Seattle's KIRO that he's planning on getting into the "premium marijuana" business now that weed is legal in Washington.
 
"By creating the category of premium marijuana, we want to position it similar to a fine cognac, a fine brandy, a fine cigar," Shively told KIRO's Amy Clancy. "Something to be savored and enjoyed, in small quantities by responsible adults."
 
Shively told The Huffington Post that he wants his business to appeal to baby boomers -- those with disposable income who may have smoked during their college years but took a 30-year break from the bong to raise a family.
 
"Think of us as the Nieman Marcus of marijuana," he told HuffPost. "Now that it's legal, and they're empty nesters, it's okay to inhale."
 
Before getting into the legal weed business, Shively was a corporate strategy manager at Microsoft for six years. He left the tech giant in 2009 and launched a specialty foods marketplace that is no longer in business.
 
Last month, Washington voters approved Initiative 502, which legalizes and regulates the sale of small amounts of marijuana to those 21 and older. The measure garnered 55.5 percent of the vote. The law doesn't go into effect until Thursday.
 
Voters in Colorado also approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
 
But when it comes to weed in Washington, Shively has high hopes.
 

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D.A.R.E. Dropping Marijuana From Kids' Ant-Drug Curriculum

Category: News | Posted on Mon, December, 3rd 2012 by THCFinder
As of this month, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., the nation's largest anti-drug non-profit group, will no longer indoctrinate public school elementary kids against the evils of marijuana.
 
This is pretty major news, stoners, since D.A.R.E. has been preaching against the funky weed since the just-say-no days of the 1980s, and the use of marijuana by kids is the only victory that the group claims it's been able to deliver during that time. 
 
That self-congratulatory claim is itself dubious, however, since several studies and government audits over the years have argued that D.A.R.E. has actually been responsible for rising rates of pot smoking among adolescents, who might not have known anything about  ganja if it wasn't for being exposed to it by D.A.R.E. Indeed, this controversy is why D.A.R.E.'s funding in recent years has plummeted from more than $10 million per year to just third that amount, and why, hoping to reverse that trend, the group recently unveiled a new and hip anti-drug campaign called "Keeping It Real."
 

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