Friday, April 05, 2013

"Poll: Should Washington stop bars from allowing pot usage?" (with slide show)

Jake Ellison (
News that a couple of bars in Olympia and Tacoma were allowing customers to smoke marijuana caught the attention of state leaders and inspired them to demand a crackdown on the activity.
The state Liquor Control Board has been quick to respond. Earlier this week the board said it wouldn’t stand for it, and today the board announced it was taking the first step in creating new rules that would ban the practice for establishments that sell liquor.
The board is now open to public comment until May 10 on its proposal “to create a new rule to prohibit marijuana consumption at liquor licensed premises.” After the comment period, the board will write the new rule, publish it and seek more comment on it.
“It is important that the Board clarify now that consuming marijuana in a state liquor-licensed establishment is not acceptable,” Board Chair Sharon Foster said in a press release. “Public consumption of marijuana is clearly illegal under Washington’s new law.”
What’s the problem?
On the one hand, Initiative 502 sought to stop this kind of thing before it got started with rules that seemed to pretty clearly prohibit the public consumption of any marijuana. However, the activity in those two bars just barely slipped through an unforeseen loophole.
The Associated Press reported the bars were trying to “get around the ban on public use of marijuana by having ‘private rooms’ with a nominal membership fee required for entrance” or “by allowing only the vaporizing of marijuana — a method that involves heating marijuana without burning it.”
From The Associated Press story:
The upstairs marijuana bar at the Stonegate is run by Michael Schaef’s Greenlight Expo, a medical marijuana dispensary. Medical marijuana patients can buy cannabis at the bar, but others have to bring their own and rent a vaporizer or pay to have one prepared for them.
“What the board has to understand is that people have always been mixing alcohol and cannabis,” Schaef said. “If they don’t allow this, what we are doing is forcing people to break the law by sneaking to some dark area to do it.”
Jeff Call, the Stonegate’s owner, agreed.
“They’re just going to go out to the alley or their car,” he said. “It seems like the board wants to steer it toward having separate pot clubs. You’re just going to have pot clubs spring up next to liquor bars, and people are going to be going next door and then coming back over to the bar.”
Also, state officials (Gov. Jay Inslee, for one) are doing their dead-level best to keep the feds from suing the state to stop implementation of I-502 by creating rules and enforcement that will keep marijuana in the state and its use out of sight.
What do you think?
Should the state stop all marijuana consumption in bars?
  • No – some use should be allowed (69%, 142 Votes)
  • Yes – all uses (31%, 64 Votes)
Total Voters: 206

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