Pike/Pine nightlife entrepreneur Meinert lights up I-502 marijuana venture Torch Northwest

Meinert congratulating Ed Murray on Election Night. They probably were not high (Image: CHS)

Meinert congratulating Ed Murray on Election Night. They probably were not high (Image: CHS)

10645080_361068550711664_307403192876139037_nOnly one I-502 marijuana retailer has been able to open to serve the 650,000 or so residents of Seattle – and the closest licensed shop to Capitol Hill is still nowhere close to opening. But there are still a few potrepreneurs in our midst and, possibly, a few pot jobs to be had.

Dave Meinert, a partner in several Pike/Pine concerns and a leader in the city’s nightlife scene who has taken on a more active civic presence after his heavy involvement in the minimum wage negotiations, tells CHS he is part of a new start-up seeking to address the challenges of processing, distribution, and packaging for the state’s growing ranks of marijuana growers.

“It’s hard to start a new industry,” Meinert said. “I’m excited to be part of it. If I would have been around when they were making whiskey legal, I would have been in on it.” Continue reading

Forget Metro cutbacks, Seattle now has a Weed Bus that lets you smoke weed. On the bus. — UPDATE: Olympia says nope

photo (1)The Weed Bus Club, a party bus turned stoner’s paradise, has been out and about in Seattle this summer. Perhaps you smelled the bus when it stopped by Capitol Hill Block Party.

William Prigmore’s club provides what he says is a safe space for people to tour Seattle — while smoking weed.

“You can hop on the Weed Bus by yourself,” says Prigmore, “a lot of different people are always on the bus. I think that’s why people like it a lot, it’s not like you have to rent a party bus out.”

UPDATE 8/22/14: That didn’t last long. The day after we told you about Weed Bus, state regulators have snuffed the idea:

Citing multiple state laws and a concern for public safety, the commission stated that charter and excursion vehicles, drivers, and passengers are considered to be in view of the general public, therefore, the consumption or use of marijuana products on board a charter or excursion vehicle is prohibited.

We’ve posted the full announcement, below.

There are two buses in the club that eventually will have set routes between legal marijuana retail stores and tourist sites such as Pike Place Market and Alki Beach in West Seattle, Prigmore says. He plans for people to hop on at different stops and ride for as long as they like. Continue reading

24th and John’s Starbuds stands confident on medical marijuana’s shaky ground

Braeutigam and Ibarra (Image: CHS)

Braeutigam and Ibarra (Image: CHS)

One local collective remains unworried facing medicinal marijuana’s uncertain future in Washington.

As I-502 ever-so-slowly makes its way into reality, so does a host of questions about what might happen to the medical marijuana structure that’s existed since voters approved Initiative 692 in 1998. While the state determines whom to license for recreational marijuana and the legislature decides whether it wants to reconcile the two industries, a lot of uncertainty exists in the future of medical marijuana.

1385068_212948782213770_350961081_n Starbuds on E John and 24th Ave E has only served marijuana patients for about 10 months, but the business has found committed customers, a sense of community involvement and a healthy attitude about that might come.

“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing until we’re told not to,” Steve Braeutigam, manager of Starbuds tells CHS. “Things are great right now and the rest of the country is looking to us as pioneers.”

For Braeutigam, a line in the sand exists between collectives and the coming recreational stores. Continue reading

Washington’s first marijuana stores open with lines, short supply

Marchers at this year's Cannabis Freedom March across Capitol Hill (Image: CHS)

Marchers at this year’s Cannabis Freedom March across Capitol Hill (Image: CHS)

Anybody planning a road trip to be one of the first people in Washington state to purchase legal marijuana better hustle. The lines are already formed.

With 24 official state retail licenses issued — including one in Seattle — Tuesday marks the planned first day of sales at the few shops around the state ready for business and stocked with inventory:

Barring some 11th-hour business catastrophe, 10 pounds of marijuana will line these shelves Tuesday, a quantity Lathrop expects will sell out that day at $15 to $20 per gram. But until he officially receives his retail license from the state Monday, it’s only glass paraphernalia and small label plates that read “Fine Jewelry,” remnants from when the cases lived in a Sears department store.

4th Ave S’s Cannabis City and its 10 pounds of first-day-of-business pot joins 23 other stores in the first wave of Washington retailers.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 7.56.13 AMMeanwhile, the owner of Mello Times, the only retailer within walking distance of Capitol Hill to make it through the state’s license lottery with a permit opportunity secured, told CHS his 24th and Union concern won’t be operating until later this summer at the earliest as he prepares the business for the long haul. Despite a pot-friendly, dense population, the various intertwining local and state rules around retail marijuana have conspired to keep Capitol Hill proper a legal pot shop-free zone. The black market will continue to thrive, of course, and the gray market, so far, is also making a game go of it. Capitol Hill’s thousand of apartment dwellers, unless the have a forward thinking building manager, might find it difficult to overcome the renter’s pot paradox. One solution to avoid the smoke — edibles. You can buy and possess 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused products like brownies and candy. Use it wisely.

Marijuana legalization in Washington began rolling with the passage of I-502 in 2012 legalizing the purchase and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Advocates are now moving forward to protect medical marijuana in the state and to introduce legalized homegrown pot. Meanwhile, other states are watching Washington and the only other state in the union that has so far approved the sale of retail pot — Colorado.

If you do go shopping this week, expect some disappointment here and there as shops work out issues with supply — and demand.

You’ll have to wait for Central Seattle’s only approved pot shop

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This Central District house stands at the address registered by Mello Times in its successful application to be one of the first legal marijuana stores in Seattle (Image: CHS)

If you want to be among the first to legally purchase recreational marijuana in Seattle, don’t go looking for it in the Central District (and definitely don’t go looking on Capitol Hill). Seattle’s first crop of marijuana shops are slated to open on July 8th, but the only licensed shop in central Seattle won’t be one of them.

John Branch told CHS his 24th and Union shop Mello Times may not open until August. Branch said he’s still building the business after finding out in May he would receive one of the city’s 21 retail marijuana licenses.

“People were assuming they would win (the lottery). I didn’t assume I would win,” he said. Continue reading

Cannabis Freedom fighters march for homegrown ‘medical’ on annual trek across Capitol Hill

IMG_8646IMG_8660There are still things to march for when it comes to marijuana in Washington State. Activists who came out to Saturday’s annual Cannabis Freedom March and Volunteer Park rally want to make sure you won’t be inadvertently sucking the life out of the state’s existing medical marijuana system after making your first legal purchase of cannabis this July.

 “The one thing that we all have in common, no matter what group you are with, we want medical marijuana safe,” a representative of Cannabis Workers Rising said from the stage during a presentation which at times turned into a raucous union rally, Saturday.

Initiative 648, an effort to put protections of medical marijuana rights in place in the state and support homegrown pot as a medical alternative for citizens, made a strong presence at Saturday’s rally. Backers of the initiative tabled with petitions near the stage as speakers voiced their support for the wide ranging legislation that would allow homegrown medical pot and change rules around the legal limit for impairment for patients.

"Small farmers are a vast and diverse group.  Patients have to be growers and farmers.  It's a symbiotic relationship and a healing lifestyle,"  Farmer Tom said Saturday.

“Small farmers are a vast and diverse group. Patients have to be growers and farmers. It’s a symbiotic relationship and a healing lifestyle,” Farmer Tom said Saturday.

“What this event does is bring everyone together on different sides so that everyone has a voice on what they believe is the right thing to do so the majority pick what is the right thing to do, and so everyone’s informed,” the Cannabis Freedom March’s organizer Melissa Hysom said. “We’re passionate, we believe in what we believe in, and a lot of different activists believe in a different way of doing it,” she said. “What I love about doing this is informing people, and creating a big party in the street all day long.” Continue reading

Mello Times coming to 23rd and Union? — Plus, CHS pot notes

The Washington State Liquor — and Marijuana — Control Board has released the results of a lottery process that ranks candidates to be part of Seattle’s first wave of 21 legal cannabis retailers this summer. We’ve mapped the top 30 Seattle candidates below — including a shop that would be located closest to Capitol Hill. Mello Times came in at number 20 in the city putting it within the cutoff for Seattle’s first stores following the state’s pre-screening process.

UPDATE: Seattle attorney John Branch, who applied for the Mello Times retail permit, told CHS on Friday that he was excited for the opportunity, but didn’t want to go into details of his plan before he secured the retail permit. He said he picked the 24th and Union location because of its proximity to Capitol Hill.

“Capitol Hill is a great area,” he said. “It’s artistic, it’s young, and I thought there would be a lot of customers there.”

Branch, who said he wants to keep a lower profile than perhaps some other marijuana retailers will, said he was looking forward to joining the local business community and creating several jobs in the area.

“I don’t know why I got that Willy Wonka golden ticket,” he said. “I’m just very grateful.”

It lists an address where no building appears to currently exist near 24th and Union as its location. New construction is planned for the corner — but there is also construction underway near the Neighbor Lady and the former Med Mix that could be involved. CHS wrote here about the overlaying of various zoning and federal requirements that made the area around 23rd and Union a prime location for Capitol Hill-proximate marijuana retailing.

UPDATE: I screwed up on the location — it sounds like the venture is lining up to take over a commercially zoned house. Take it away reader Carolyn:

Isn’t 1410  24th the large green house next to (north of) the SHA housing at 2400 E. Union?  It’s across 24th from the former Key Bank parking lot, and it used to have a breakfast restaurant on the first floor and the large porch.

The new construction is planned for the NW (Key Bank) corner and the SE (Fatima Café) corner, not the NE (SHA) corner.

The lottery winners must now pass through extended criminal background and financial evaluation by the state before license are issued. The goal, state officials say, is for the first Washington pot licenses to be handed out in July.

CHS pot notes

  • Thanks to High Above Seattle for the map icon!
  • Delivery ban: The Capitol Hill-focused early wave of pot entrepreneurs providing marijuana delivery are probably not long for the gray market. Washington is likely to ban delivery of marijuana:

    The law already says customers can’t consume the drug in the store or any other public place. Proposed rule changes presented to the board Wednesday and likely to be approved at a future meeting say retailers can’t sell over the Internet and can’t deliver to customers. Buyers will have to come to the store in person, where the staff must make sure they are 21 or older and not buying more at one time than the law allows.

  • Plants in the ground: Seattle marijuana farmers are readying their first crop for retail sales.
  • download (18)Cannabis Freedom March: There’s not much left to fight for — home grown? medicinal pot? — but there’s plenty to celebrate. The Cannabis Freedom March returns to Volunteer Park again in 2014:

5/10/14 11 AM — Starting at Volunteer Park in the front grass pavilion, live music by local artists and speakers from all walks of the activist community set the tone for the rally.

After speakers and music conclude here, we walk through the streets from Capitol Hill all the way Downtown Seattle to Westlake Park, for even MORE music and speakers.

So Please come and join us as we come together and remember those victims of the drug war that cannot be marching with us, and pushing forward and preserving our rights for years to come! Show your support in ending the Federal Drug War and March for your Freedom!

  • Seattle Central “grow” — Police were called to Broadway and Pine’s Seattle Central Wednesday morning after security reported “numerous marijuana plants” at the Capitol Hill school. The small potted plants were found on the school campus sitting in a box — and apparently caused a bit of a stir with students as they were hauled out by police. SPD is investigating.

Marijuana talk show State of the Green to start streaming on 4/20 from Capitol Hill

BlRkHOmCAAAkNBL.jpg-largeMarijuana legalization has opened a new space for all sorts of creative endeavors, from new businesses to fun times at the Seattle Police Department. And we’ve only just begun. A new talk show that will stream live from Capitol Hill is seeking to capture Seattle’s burgeoning legal pot culture in all its glory.

If you couldn’t guess, State Of The Green will stream its first show April 20th at 4:20 PM. Capitol Hill couple Tim and Victoria Brennecke will be hosting and producing the show, which will feature a mix of interviews, topical discussions, and sketch comedy.

“We were just getting high on the couch one day brainstorming ideas for a show,” said Brennecke, who works as an independent audio and video producer with his outfit Mini T.V. “The main goal is just to be uplifting and fun for the cannabis community.”

The duo will use Google’s Hang Out on Air, which allows viewers to watch shows via a live YouTube stream and allows guests to join the broadcast from their own webcams. Get updates on Twitter @StateOfTheGreen.

The inaugural 20 minute episode promises “cross-joints for Easter, coverage of 420 myths, and your hosts will play a game for everyone to get to know them better.” Brennecke said future topics will include I-502 and medical laws, as well as some product and strain reviews.

Between shop owners, growers, medical providers, activists, and artists the pool of potential guests runs deep on Capitol Hill. Brennecke said he and his wife have been busy booking guests for their first crop of shows and plan to launch a website.

“It’s something we’re really passionate about,” he said. “Having a good public image is important for this community.”

Meanwhile the ongoing saga of Roses Smell continues over at the recently launched webseries Capitol Hill.

Lucky 21 — Retail pot lottery planned for April

(Image: @acholcomb via Twitter)

(Image: @acholcomb via Twitter)

With Washington’s first license for a marijuana producer-processor issued Wednesday to Spokane’s Kouchlock Productions, the process to assign licenses for the more than 300 planned legal pot shops in the state — including 21 in Seattle — is also moving forward.

A spokesperson for the Washington State Liquor Control Board — soon to become the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, btw — tells CHS a proposal for the retail license lottery was slated to be presented Wednesday.

A control board member speaking at an event in Pullman late last month said the lottery will take place in April:

 In April, they plan to hold a retail license lottery for all the applicants that want to open up a pot shop. The board plans on issuing more than 300 licenses to retailers, but they’ve already received more then 2,000 applications.

The official also said stores could be open as soon as June.

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 10.52.39 AMThe race to become Seattle’s first legal marijuana retailers has drawn some interesting players sometimes employing interesting strategies. The most serious apparently have played multiple hands with applications for more than one location in the city as various rules and zoning interplay to create marijuana-free zones across Seattle. In one sad wrinkle, retailers won’t be allowed to hold the other cannabis licenses for producers or processors so don’t get your hopes up, yet, for a Seattle pot bakery shop.

Earlier, CHS reported on the state’s decision to allocate only 21 stores for the city and its strict “as the crow flies” interpretation of the 1,000-foot buffer that would virtually eliminate any possibility of a pot store opening on Capitol Hill. City Attorney Pete Holmes continues to call for more shops to legally address the Seattle cannabis demand.

We last mapped the more than 400 cannabis retail applications submitted for Seattle in January as a few prospective pot entrepreneurs rolled the dice on acquiring licenses for shops on Capitol Hill. The control board has reportedly, um, weeded out locations that would violate laws and zoning rules as well as assessed the lease situation for proposed stores. Selecting from the remaining pool will apparently come down to the luck of the draw.

The ultimate Capitol Hill edible: Has cupcake queen thrown crown into ring for retail marijuana? — UPDATE


Autumn Cupcake
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originally uploaded by sea turtle.

The latest batch of applications for one of the planned — and coveted — 21 retail marijuana licenses to be assigned in the city includes a small swarm of new players looking to provide the most highly populated neighborhood of potential customers in Seattle with a pot shop. It also includes a big name already established in providing treats on Capitol Hill and beyond.

It is possible Capitol Hill could feature some of the yummiest edibles in Seattle.

In the mix of more than 400 applications from hundreds of individual applicants in Seattle is a company called Royale Leisure Industries, LLC. According to the State of Washington, the company’s “governing person” is none other than Cupcake Royale queen Jody Hall.

Earlier, CHS reported on the state’s decision to allocate only 21 stores for Seattle and its strict “as the crow flies” interpretation of the 1,000-foot buffer that would eliminate any possibility of a pot store opening on Capitol Hill.

We’ve asked Hall for more information on the venture which lists Cupcake Royale’s Capitol Hill facility at 1111 E Pike as its location. UPDATE: A Cupcake Royale spokesperson declined to comment on the application. UPDATE: Thursday, Hall told us it has been a busy day shooing away TV cameras since CHS broke the news of her pot application yesterday.

“This isn’t about Cupcake Royale. We’d never make marijuana cupcakes,” she said.

“I thought I would throw my hat in the ring,” Hall told us.

Hall said the application process required a location for the proposed store so she applied with the existing E Pike main bakery address. Her plan is to open a retail bakery in a location that would fit within the bounds of local zoning and state laws if the application is one of those selected by the state for approval. But as the Seattle Time’s pot beat reporter noted following up on our initial report, Hall says it appears she will actually need a processing license to bake her own edibles. Hall might be able to change her application with the state control board. Bob Young, reporting on marijuana for the Seattle Times, says Hall would not be allowed to hold both a processing and a retail license. Meanwhile, it’s unclear how efforts like this Denver restaurant’s marijuana pairing menu might be handled in the city if a venue also provided the bud along with the dishes.

As for the potential of a Royale Leisure Industries bakery, “I’m not a stoner,” the woman who has turned cake and frosting into a seven store mini empire said. “We have the intellectual property and know-how to make yummy things.”

We’re still trying to track down people associated with the other newly released applications and will update if we get a chance to talk with any other of the ventures targeting Capitol Hill. One applicant — The 420 Highway — is seeking to put the former Bus Stop bar back into motion as a marijuana store.

In December, CHS reported on the application from a business called The Bud Lady hoping to open a retail shop near 15th and Mercer. At the time, the state only listed 80 or so applications for Seattle. After a few weeks of processing at the deadline for applications, that number has leapt to more than 400 locations in the city with some applicants throwing their hats in at several different locations in Seattle.  In November, we reported on land owner and entrepreneur Ian Eisenberg’s applications for a possible Uncle Ike’s shop at the intersection of 23rd and Union which is expected to be a retail marijuana hot spot no matter how zoning interpretations play out. Eisenberg and others have wagered the $250 fee and submitted multiple applications at multiple locations in hopes of scoring one of the 21 stores currently planned to be allotted in the city.

How the state control board’s lottery for areas with multiple applicants will work isn’t entirely clear nor is how the board will vet the applications for elements like leases and rental agreements. A “letter of intent” requirement was relaxed during the application process, CHS reported earlier.

Meanwhile, as marijuana entrepreneurs work toward opening retail shops later this year, the Seattle Police Department is still deciding whether off-duty officers will be allowed to provide security for the new businesses.

Currently there are no department policies prohibiting off-duty officers from providing security to retail marijuana shops or to medical marijuana shops, said SPD spokesperson Sean Whitcomb. However, Whitcomb said that policy is currently under review. Denver cops have been prohibited from working with retail pot operations.

“We’re not categorically saying no,” he said, adding that the department would be conferring with the city attorney and state attorney general in the coming months to make a decision.

The 21 successful applicants will be finalized later this winter with officials predicting the first stores in Washington in operation by June.