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This is my 2nd diary ever - first was immediately after Obama was first elected.

I live in WA state where marijuana is now, technically, legal.  I am 100% supportive of this.  

There are so many rumors and factoids out there that it is hard to separate fact from fiction - sticks from buds, so to speak.

I hope someone can provide some authoritative answers to the questions I have, as well as information about questions I don't even know enough to ask.

I mentioned above that marijuana is 'technically' legal.  By that I mean that, while legal, you still cannot walk into a commercial store and actually buy any pot.  So my first question is this: at what point will we be able to do that?

Second question: I have heard about federal guidelines that were crafted to allow WA state (CO as well, I assume) to scoff at federal law.  What are these guidelines?  Specifically, I have heard that one of the guidelines is that legalization is done in such a way that the black market is killed.

But I also heard that the legal pot is going to be more expensive than black market pot.  Is this true?  If so, what does that say about the possibility of eliminating the black market?

Another question: will demand outstrip supply, so that it will be difficult to walk into a store and make a purchase?

Will there be varying strains of marijuana available, so people who prefer powerful indica be able to get what they want, while others might want a milder sativa strain?  Or what?

With one exception I have not gotten high since college, back in the early 70's.  I am looking forward to a private toke or two, but I have no idea what is going on.

When does the party get started, and what kind of party is it going to be?

Oh, one other question: is the test police do for THC in the blood a true measure of whether or not you are actually impaired, or does THC linger in the blood long after you are no longer high?

Originally posted to Joel Grant on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 09:54 AM PST.

Also republished by Koscadia.

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Comment Preferences

  •  here's Washington's (5+ / 0-)

    official timeline for implementation of I- 502

    May 16
    Send initial draft rules to stakeholders for comment.

    June 19
    Board work session on proposed rules (schedule will be posted here soon);

    July 3
    Board files official draft rules (CR 102) with the state Code Reviser*;
    Small Business Economic Impact Statement issued with CR 102;

    August 6-8
    Public hearing on draft rules;

    August 14
    Board adopts rules;

    September 16
    Effective date for rules; and

    September 16
    WSLCB begins accepting applications for all license types.

    December 1
    Rules are complete (as mandated by law). Begin issuing Producer, Processor
    and Retail licenses to qualified applicants.

    "this house believes in skyscrapers"

    by anodnhajo on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 10:02:11 AM PST

    •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anodnhajo, jessical

      Thanks for info, but I still don't see when we will be able to walk into a store and buy marijuana.  I think perhaps that has yet to be determined.

      •  the LCB should already be (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        se portland, jessical

        issuing licences for the listed three tiers, per their schedule.

        So, it will be soon when retailers open.

        I would say they are probably doing this now

        "The number of retail locations will be determined using a formula that distributes the number of locations proportionate to the most populous cities within each county. Locations not assigned to a specific city will be at large. Once the number of locations per city and at- large have been identified, the specific locations will be selected by lottery in the event the number of applications exceeds the allotted amount for the cities and county"

        "this house believes in skyscrapers"

        by anodnhajo on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 10:32:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some Info Here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Passage of Initiative 502 – Recreational Marijuana

        I-502 authorizes the sale of marijuana in Washington by retailers licensed through the Liquor Control Board. The rules implementing the initiative will not be completed for about one year. You may find information about the implementation of I-502 on the Liquor Control Board's website.

        More on future retail operations here.

        You meet them halfway with love, peace, and persuasion ~ And expect them to rise for the occasion...

        by paz3 on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 04:22:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  May or June (4+ / 0-)

    State's marijuana stores could be open by May or June

    In 2014 there will be a total of 334 stores. The dead line to apply for a store was  Dec. 19. Within two weeks they are set to send out letters about the applications, so right at the beginning of the new year.

    There is no limit to the number of growers, but there is a limit of 88,000 pounds for 2014. So my guess is that there will be choices when the stores open in late Spring.

    “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

    by se portland on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 10:23:35 AM PST

  •  They're saying maybe June 2014. I haven't heard (6+ / 0-)

    of anyone getting a license yet.  
    The black market will continue unabated and it does look like it will underprice what the state sells.  It will be interesting how it shakes out but it means the drug war against MJ will continue.  We need to legalize growing MJ like tomatoes or brewing your own beer.

    "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 10:25:35 AM PST

    •  Colorado Law Better (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In CO, the law as passed by voters does allow some self-production. The law in WA lacks that option, and will, IMO, be a flaw going forward. It appears that voter initiatives that will soon be circulating in OR will have that option.

      The "home grown" option will result in lower prices in any state having that choice, which will hurt WA state once marijuana becomes legal for rec. use in OR and CA.

      You meet them halfway with love, peace, and persuasion ~ And expect them to rise for the occasion...

      by paz3 on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 04:38:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lots of info... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anodnhajo, se portland


    The state is still reviewing all the license applications for both growing and selling permits. From what I've read, it looks like there will be plenty of supply (there are more grower apps). However the retail outlets will be limited in many parts of the state.

  •  re federal government: (5+ / 0-)

    the DOJ issued a memo on enforcement priorities.  As long as a state has strong enforcement to prevent kids from getting weed, from weed being sent out of state to other states where it's illegal, etc., they'll be "less likely" to enforce the federal ban.

    The memo isn't binding in any way, and local US Attorneys General can continue with business as usual if they want.

    Or: anyone would be a fool to rely on that memo, and don't be surprised by high profile busts.

  •  Tags are comma separated. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, anodnhajo

    The appropriate tag for Washington state is 'Washington' and I have used it but do not know whether you meant marijuana legalization as one tag or two.

  •  Remember it is still illegal to smoke in public (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anodnhajo, justintime

    and operating a vehicle while stoned can earn you a DUI. There are still question about how they measure the level of pot in your system. One of the problem I have not heard addressed yet is the fact that pot can be detected days and even weeks after having smoked. 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood is the limit, but if you smoke frequently, you can reach that limit even though you have not smoked in days.

    Another thing to remember is that it is still against Federal laws. Even though the justice Department has indicted they will not pursue the law, any job that has a government contracts are still subject to drug test. I think employers in general can still test for the drug, but do not quote me on that. Look what happened to two Seahawks players.

    “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

    by se portland on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 10:41:02 AM PST

    •  There is a difference between active THC (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      se portland, justintime

      and inactive metabolites that can linger in the system for up to six weeks which makes them useless to determine the possibility of impairment. THC metabolizes quite quickly and breaks down into metabolites that can be detected by urine tests. They have been trying to develop new mouth swab tests that can actually determine the active THC before it's metabolized. This is tricky because cannabis resins also have other cannabinoids like CBD which is also called the Anti-THC because it moderates the THC high. To be accurate any test would also have to take into account the level of CBD in the system too.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 11:38:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Sounds like there is no foolproof way to determine if a driver is actually impaired.  I hope this can be worked out, or plenty of weekend smokers may get DUI raps during the week.

        This whole thing is simultaneously encouraging and discouraging to me.

        It is an encouraging step in the right direction.  But we still have pretty intense limits and, of course, the feds can still step in at any time and take away the punch bowl.

        When, oh when will the lessons of prohibition be truly learned?

        •  I would not worry about the DUIs. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Traffic laws are grossly under-enforced everywhere in the US, and someone would need to be driving very badly indeed to be pulled over in the first place. (Yes, it's possible that, say, a diabetic having a hypoglycemic episode that affected his or her driving could be mistakenly assumed to be stoned, but that's already the case with alcohol.)

          "Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous." -- Molly Ivins

          by dumpster on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 04:21:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  A field sobriety test is the only real way (0+ / 0-)

          to prove impairment. Chemical tests would be far less effective in the case of cannabinoid impairment. The same level of THC at the same rate of THC to CBD ratio could impair some people and enhance sensory perceptions for others. Cannabinoids don't affect the brain like alcohol or opiates, they activate special CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors at the cellular level.

          It's not to say that cannabinoid impairment does not exist, it's just not as chemically cut and dried as alcohol impairment. The difference is in the way alcohol and most other drugs affects the brain. The herbal cannabinoids found in cannabis resins mimic the natural cannabinoids produced by our body's endocannabinoid system which regulates our blood chemistry, metabolism and immune system at the the cellular level. Cannabinoids are chemical regulators and even though conservatives would disagree it is not possible to over-regulate an organic system.

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 06:35:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  While it's been a quarter of a century since I (0+ / 0-)

            stopped smoking , I do recall friends being too stoned to drive. A field sobriety test seems like a necessary test.

            •  Agreed, but the difference with cannabis (0+ / 0-)

              is that it doesn't impair judgement like alcohol. So, if experienced cannabis users become too stoned to drive they are far more likely to wait a few minutes when they "come down" a bit before they get behind the wheel. They also have a tendency to over compensate by driving more carefully than one would normally. At least that was my personal experience and how I remember my friends actions in the counter culture of the late sixties and seventies.

              Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

              by RMForbes on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 09:13:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  My recollection of those days was that as I looked (0+ / 0-)

                at myself and those around me, smoking pot was more of a negative then a positive. Getting stoned impaired our driving. Some of us were impacted more then others.

                While I am getting off topic here..
                I can recall having a summer job right after I graduated high school at a machine shop. A lot of the guys that worked there would "smoke" during breaks. The company manufactured components for large industrial air conditioners. I typically worked on these large cylinder liners operating machinery to either hone the inner diameter or to grind the outer diameter. The cylinder liners weighed about 15lbs at this point in the process. To grind them them we would insert an arbor in them them and lift them into place on the grinder with a small crane like device. The assembly weighed about 35lbs or so. Once in position we would dab grease on two opposing spindles and position the assembly between them. The spindles were pneumatically actuated with a foot pedal. Once aligned, the points of the greased spindles fit into the center holes of the arbor and then the automated machine would feed the cylinder against a very large grinding wheel that was spinning at high speed. Applying the grease between parts was necessary to reduce the friction where the spindles held the assembly or the heat generated would cause the spindles to literally spot weld to the arbor. After lunch one day I was operating the vertical honing machine while feet behind me a freshly stoned colleague was operating the grinder. He was not applying the grease despite my repeated attempts asking him to do so. After grinding several parts the spindles did "weld" to the arbor and then sheared off. This assembled became a  35 - 40 lb top spinning at a high rate of speed that flew past my head hitting the concrete wall in front of me. It then landed on the floor chewing up concrete while violently bouncing off machinery as the stoner and I somehow managed to avoid a lower leg amputation with some lucky jumps.

                Now granted, this guy was an idiot and people are affected differently by pot but it is not a harmless substance. It can impair mental judgement and motor skills.

                •  That is not my experience at all (0+ / 0-)

                  Just because an idiot smokes pot doesn't mean that it's the cannabis that made him an idiot. I found that if I added a little of my homegrown to my breakfast before going to class helped me concentrate on my studies and ended my issues with testing anxiety. I wasn't high at all but I did experience some enhanced sensory perceptions and elevated mood for two to three hours after ingestion.  

                  Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                  by RMForbes on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 12:53:44 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Field sobriety tests do not prove imp. (0+ / 0-)

            Field sobriety tests are for the purpose of building a case against you.  They do not prove anything.  The driver has the right to decline to take the field tests including the officer's preliminary breath test.  The evidential breath test on the expensive machine at the station is the real breath test.  Or, if stopped and accused of drunk driving, just say that you demand your right to counsel, say nothing more, and expect to get arrested.  Certain law enforcement officers are receiving special drugged driving recognition training.  If stopped, the road officer will call a trained officer to the location to evaluate the driver.  If warranted, the driver can be taken in for the blood test.

            Neither the alcohol breath or blood test, nor the THC blood test prove impairment.  They prove that you are above or below the legal limit.

            The THC blood test is looking at short-lived chemicals.  The drug urine test is looking at long lasting products and can nail you long after any impairment has worn off.  If you can be subject to a drug UA for your job, don't even be around 2nd hand marijuana smoke.

            •  This is all going to change very soon (0+ / 0-)

              The federal prohibition against the cannabis genus of plants is falling apart and the use of blood or urine tests that detect cannabinoid metabolites are fast becoming useless dinosaurs.

              Since many over the counter cold remedies produce more impairment than cannabinoids like THC the only real way to prove impairment is a field sobriety test. Last time I heard there are no law enforcement agencies testing blood, urine or breath for antihistamines that can produce significant impairment. I think the whole argument for cannabis impairment is grossly over exaggerated.    

              Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

              by RMForbes on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 09:25:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Still illegal on federal land (0+ / 0-)

    Please note that federal rangers are still arresting people on pot charges, and there is a lot of federal territory here that people don't realize is federal.  There are thousands of cases.

    Not a smoker myself but think we have ruined too many lives with draconian laws that are out of proportion to the harm alleged.  

    •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)

      I have found that the prohibitionists tend to look at only one side of the equation.

      They point to the harm done by drugs and conclude that drugs should be prohibited by law.

      They do not look at the harm that comes about because of the prohibition such as drug dealers fighting over territory.

      I do not drink alcohol at all but I certainly do not advocate for a return to prohibition.

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