Sep 152014

Washington State marijuana tax revenues doubled in the month of August.  Legal pot shops have now sold $12.1 million worth of marijuana since July 8, when the first of about a dozen recreational stores opened their doors.  In that first albeit-shortened month of July, Washington State’s Liquor Control Board registered $805,000, while tax revenues in August were $1.75 million as now more than fifty stores are opened.  Supply is also increasing, as more than 200 licensed growers have finally filled the state’s 2 million square foot growing cap.  Sales of marijuana topped $6.9 million in August and are on pace to top $7.1 million in September, leading to another $1.8 million in taxes.  Marijuana legalization opponent Kevin Sabet often points out that historically, alcohol and tobacco cost ten dollars for every dollar of tax revenue, but he is silent on the costs of currently-legalized marijuana.

Reacting to the recent passage of a historic medical marijuana bill in Albany, New York Senator Liz Krueger will introduce a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in New York.  The Manhattan Democrat explained that her bill will be modeled after the legalization in Washington and Colorado.  Political realignment may mean a Democrat-controlled Assembly and Senate next year, giving Sen. Krueger hope that legalization can move forward.  “I knew we needed to move medical marijuana into law before people would focus on the bigger question – tax and regulation,” she said. “So I think my legislative proposal fits in very nicely with what the state has already committed to move forward with.  I see more hope in a Democratic majority for… pieces of legislation that weren’t going anywhere.”  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was very reluctant to sign medical marijuana legislation until advocates gave up a patient’s right to acquire raw cannabis, so he may remain as a roadblock to legalization.

The police chief in Madison, Wisconsin, says the prohibition of marijuana is an “abject failure” and called for its legalization, taxation, and regulation similar to Colorado and Washington.  Police Chief Mike Koval told the Wisconsin State Journal “We’ve done such an abysmal job using marijuana as a centerpiece of drug enforcement, that it’s time to reorder and triage the necessities of what’s more important now.”  Chief Koval proposed that the state should focus more on the “infinite amount of challenges” posed by drugs such as heroin.  He also added that the revenues from the regulation and taxation of marijuana could then be used to fund drug treatment and drug courts for people with true drug addiction problems, thereby lessening those hard drugs’ impact on the criminal justice system.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has filed a lawsuit on behalf of members of Iowa State University’s NORML Chapter.  Those students allege the university violated their constitutional rights to free speech by censoring their chapter’s t-shirts.  A first t-shirt used the “Cy the Cardinal” school mascot logo, prompting university officials to ban the shirts after legislators complained it appeared as though ISU endorsed marijuana legalization.  Citing trademark infringement, the university denies the students have any right to use the logo.  After logo use was banned in 2012, the group’s 2013 shirts only featured the NORML logo, a cannabis leaf, and the initials “ISU”, which the university still considers a trademark infringement worthy of censoring.

The smell of marijuana on a 6-year-old is not evidence enough to justify a search warrant for marijuana, according to the defense attorneys for a Michigan man caught growing over 200 plants.  When Randall Fieck’s daughter attended kindergarten, a teacher noticed her clothes smelled of marijuana.  When asked about it, the little girl allegedly said her father, a card-holding medical marijuana patient, “was growing marijuana in the basement of their residence and that she was not supposed to tell anyone.”  Police got a warrant, but Fieck’s attorney argues that smell of pot alone isn’t probable cause to suspect a cardholder was breaking the law.  “The mere allegations that the kindergarten-age child smelled like marijuana and that Mr. Fieck’s home smelled like marijuana is insufficient for the magistrate to issue the search warrant,” the defense wrote. “The officers had no reason to suspect that the quantity of marijuana was more than allowed” under Michigan’s medical marijuana law.  In response, the prosecuting US attorney argues that Fieck refused to tell police how many plants he was growing and refused to allow them to inspect his grow site.

A new marijuana reality show held auditions in Denver on Saturday.  The Marijuana Show attracted about 200 people for the casting of the program its creator calls a cross between ABC’s “Shark Tank” and NBC’s “The Apprentice”.  The show will begin taping the six winners in mid-October and begin airing in November on