9/19/2014

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Politics

State looks for guidance from citizens on the business of pot

State looks for guidance from citizens on the business of pot

VANCOUVER, Wash. – The Washington State Liquor Control Board turned to the community Thursday night, asking them for their input on what the board should consider when crafting new rules for marijuana.

The auditorium at Clark College was packed and people brought their concerns and their dreams. A business owner was worried whether her employees can come to work high, entrepreneurs looked to cash in and others just wanted to hear how the board is going to handle the state's historic initiative, which makes it legal for adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of pot.

"I look at it as I'm one of the veterans of the war we won," said Donald Mueller during an interview. He has been fighting to legalize pot for years.

When he suffered a broken back and neck "I was told from the beginning to smoke a little marijuana, and I resisted."

But eventually it led him to his green thumb.

"I've been licensed through the medical community for a long time," he said.

A bit of a bud connoisseur, he grows pot in his own backyard. So when it comes to the new law and how the liquor control board will set up a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processers and retail stores, he has some input.

"I would like them not to cut out the ones already licensed," he said. "We're the experienced ones. At least give us a chance to have those positions."

He said because of his disability, this is something that could get him back to work.

"I was a welder. I can't do that kind of work anymore. I'm a dyslexic on top of it. I can't sit behind a desk, but I can grow pot," he said.

Mueller said he does have a marijuana-related charge on his record from about 20 years ago. So one of his big questions at the forum was with a charge, could he even get a state license to grow?

The state liquor board has until Dec. 1 to put the rules in place.


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In the state of Oregon Thursday:

SALEM, Ore. - Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder want to be able to smoke pot legally in the state of Oregon.

They spoke Thursday at the state Capitol in favor of Senate Bill 281.

The bill would add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions allowed by the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

Critics have argued the list should not be expanded.

Jose Garza, a Navy veteran with PTSD, says marijuana helps ease his anxiety.

Watch his committee testimony below:

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