State’s Official New Liquor and Cannabis Board

Big changes are coming to the state Liquor Control Board, including a name change.

The same law that will change the Liquor Control Board’s name July 24 to the “Liquor and Cannabis Board” also directed the agency to decide which unlicensed medical-marijuana shops and grow operations to legitimize by July 1, 2016.

The process will involve a merit system, the Olympian reported.

The agency assumes 825 unlicensed medical shops will apply for a license and half will receive one.

First dibs would go to people who have been in the medical-marijuana industry since before 2013, have paid their taxes and applied for one of the recreational licenses. Next up are applicants who didn’t apply for a recreational license but meet the other requirements. Everyone else falls into a third tier.

Research the agency is doing now will help decide for sure whether a lottery is needed. It will also help decide if sellers should be able to apply at any time for a marijuana license, as they may for a liquor license, rather than within only a short window.

Many of Washington’s more than 1,000 – maybe more than 2,000 – unlicensed medical marijuana shops won’t qualify for special consideration because they are too new.

Regulators should license as many new growers, processors and retailers as possible that have a history of good behavior, said Alex Cooley, vice president of Seattle medical-marijuana grower and processor Solstice and a supporter of the law.

“Many people have been doing this for up to 10 years now and have been serving their communities and taking care of many sick people and doing it in a compassionate way,” Cooley said.

Much of the work to implement the law falls to the state Department of Health. The agency will define what qualifies as medical-grade marijuana and choose a contractor to set up a registry for patients. People who join the registry will get protection from arrest and less stringent limits on how much marijuana they can possess.

The health department will complete at least two tasks by July 24, when some parts of the law take effect, said Chris Baumgartner, who leads a unit of the agency that deals with medical marijuana. It will develop a form for medical providers to authorize marijuana use and tell providers how to report numbers of authorizations.

The law calls for providers who write more than 30 authorizations in a month to report the number to the department.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.

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Oregon Police May Retire Pot-Sniffing Dogs for Being to Good

The two drug-sniffing canines that work for Medford police could face early retirement because they are too good at detecting marijuana, which will become legal July 1.

The issue arises because drug-sniffing dogs are often used to provide leads – probable cause – that can allow police to search people or property for drugs. If a suspect were carrying marijuana and heroin and a dog trained to smell both indicated the presence of a drug, any arrest could be invalidated, because the dog may have been smelling legal marijuana.

Because it’s difficult to retrain a dog on what to search for with its nose, one or both dogs may be phased out. Medford police have requested $24,000 in the upcoming city budget for new dogs trained to smell only heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, and not marijuana. Each dog costs $12,000, an amount that includes extensive training and certification.

Law enforcement agencies across the state are facing similar issues after voters approved Ballot Measure 91 last November, which made pot legal for anyone 21 and older.

Oregon State Police has eight drug-sniffing dogs used to detect drugs in vehicles, buildings, storage facilities, luggage and other locations.

Statewide there are 150 dogs working for various law enforcement agencies, according to the Oregon Police Canine Association. About 60 of the dogs are assigned to drug enforcement.

While some dogs are being phased out, larger police agencies are keeping dogs that can help find large amounts of marijuana, which would still be illegal under the new law.

Some agencies are sending their dogs to work at county jails, where marijuana will remain illegal.

Even though their days as drug dogs may be numbered, Narc, a Belgium malinois, and Cody, a Lab mix, are still as focused on their jobs as ever. Johnson said it’s likely one of the dogs will continue to work, particularly in counterfeit cases in which money can carry the smell of drugs or in cases in which it’s believed marijuana has been transported across state lines. Drug dogs typically work for about 10 years.

Narc is trained to sit when he smells a drug, while Cody essentially freezes in one position to alert his handler.

Cody, who still looks like a puppy, is 5 years old, while Narc is a little younger. In addition to the two drug-sniffing dogs, Medford police have two patrol dogs that are used to search for people.

The first dog used by Medford police was Oxer, who was proficient in drug sniffing and on patrol and has a plaque in front of City Hall commemorating his service. Oxer served from 1990 to 1999.

Cody’s handler, Officer Levi Friend, said he’d be happy to keep the dog if the agency decides it’s time for his retirement.

The dogs will get a good home, police Chief Tim George promised. They definitely would not be euthanized, he said.

George said the ability to detect marijuana will become a mostly unneeded skill as more residents of Jackson County grow both medical and recreational cannabis in an area that’s known for producing high-quality marijuana.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI, immediately contact a Seattle DUI attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce those penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge. So it should go without saying that someone cited for DUI should hire a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Driving Under the Influence charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI lawyer.