Pot debates continue even where it's legal

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm •  Published: January 15, 2014

DENVER (AP) — Recreational marijuana may be legal in Colorado and Washington, but debates over the drug are far from over. Here's a look at debates emerging in the states where the drug is already legal without a doctor's recommendation:


A group of marijuana activists want another pot vote in Colorado — to loosen restrictions on who can have it. A proposed ballot measure cleared for ballots Wednesday would effectively discard Colorado's 1-ounce possession limit and 21-and-over restriction. A similar pot possession measure has been proposed before in Colorado, and failed to get enough signatures to make ballots. There's little reason to expect more success for the 2014 version of the legalize-for-all proposal.


Another group of pot activists — longtime users with medical permission to use the drug — are also unhappy. A patient-advocacy group has written to lawmakers requesting the creation of a "Cannabis Patient Fund" to provide subsidies for some 120,000 Coloradans on a list of approved medical pot users. The group is alarmed over escalating pot prices, which aren't regulated by the state and have more than doubled in retail shops since Jan. 1, when recreational sales began. So far, the group hasn't found any lawmakers willing to sponsor its idea.


Washington has a curious problem as it prepares for retail pot sales: too many growers and shops. According to figures released this week, more than 2,800 applications have been submitted to produce pot. That's a problem because officials are, at least initially, capping total production at 2 million square feet, or about 46 acres. They're seeing too many would-be retailers, too. In Seattle, where the state has allotted 21 pot shops, there have been 417 retail license applications. In Spokane, which will have eight marijuana stores, there have been 96 applications. But officials already have started disqualifying hundreds of applicants that don't meet requirements.

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