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Washington became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012. But there are a lot of challenges ahead: the state must set up a licensing system for marijuana growers and sellers, the federal government may mount a challenge, the need to set a new limit on amount of marijuana in the bloodstream for safe driving. And medical marijuana is still in the picture.Over the next several months we will be exploring the issue and tracking the impact of I-502.

People Of Pot One Year Later: Considering Doritos, ‘Dabbing’ And Black Market

Last year on Dec. 6, pot smokers gathered spontaneously at Seattle Center to celebrate the passage of Initiative 502.

The year since Washington became one of the first states to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana, entrepreneurs, regulators, police, drug counselors and everyone in between has tried to understand the implications of the new law. 

[asset-images[{"caption": "Greta Carter is the owner of the Hope Clinic in Seattle and recent applicant for an I-502 producer and processor license.", "fid": "7672", "style": "card_280", "uri": "public://201312/carter.JPG", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Amy Radil"}]]Greta Carter, owner of the Hope Clinic in Seattle and recent applicant for an I-502 producer and processor license

“Since I-502’s passage, oh my gosh, my life has changed dramatically. Every day I wish there were more hours in the day. The opportunities that have presented themselves to those of us who are in the cannabis community have just been amazing. Someone shared with me that you almost leave Washington drunk with opportunity.”

Kelly Kerby, licensed mental health counselor and chemical dependency professional

“The thing I did not foresee happening that’s happened within the last year is the use of dabbing. Dabbing is basically kind of like hash oil, they typically use butane and other substances to get the highest concentration of THC out of the plant. It’s smoked but very quickly using a blowtorch.

So there are all kinds of dangerous things going on with youth when they’re heating this screw attached to a pipe with a blowtorch and then just putting a little bit, just a dab, of this, and one hit gets someone high.”

[asset-images[{"caption": "John Davis is seeking a retail license for a store across the street from his existing medical marijuana dispensary. ", "fid": "7673", "style": "card_280", "uri": "public://201312/IMG_0669.JPG", "attribution": "Credit Amy Radil"}]]

John Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Patient Resource Center in Seattle

“I’ve been in cannabis activism for over twenty years. … My biggest fear is of course not getting a license, right? And also not being able to get anything through the Legislature that gets regulation to medical cannabis, and the US Attorney’s statement that unregulated medical cannabis is ‘untenable.’

“Try as we might in the industry to get regulation, it’s going to be the legislators who decide if we’re regulated. And then the US Attorneys will not go after the Legislature for not taking decisive action, they can come down on us.”

Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney

“The black market is going to rise or fall depending on how well the state markets marijuana, what the price point is, and whether it’s available to those who want it. There is no black market for beer, people don’t get shot and killed over a bottle of whiskey, anymore. They did in Prohibition. If Prohibition is any lesson for us, if we price marijuana at the right price point, it should drive the black market right out of business.”  

Jim Pugel, Interim Chief of the Seattle Police Department

[asset-images[{"caption": "The Seattle Police Department gave away bags of Doritos at this year’s Hempfest. The Doritos were labeled with stickers reminding people not to drive while high or give marijuana to anyone under 21.", "fid": "7674", "style": "card_280", "uri": "public://201312/213861403.jpg", "attribution": "Credit NPR Photo/Martin Kaste"}]]“When something that’s been illegal for so long and that we have enforced against for so long overnight – literally overnight – becomes legal, you have to readjust the anticipation of the public and you have to address the culture of the police department, say, ‘Hey this is what the new rules are.’

“We don’t condone it, we don’t condemn it. But we have to be the will of the people. So in that spirit, we said that we’re going to commit as much education, as much public outreach, try to have some fun doing it so that – for instance like the Doritos, we all knew that was a gimmick, but it really got attention. And through that, our media outreach group and Sgt. (Sean) Whitcomb were able to perform their core purpose of educating by getting some attention to the bag of munchies.”

Year started with KUOW: 2005