Center for Legal Cannabis

Legal Cannabis Week #-4

Washington legalizes cannabis

I can hardly believe we legalized pot. The citizens of Colorado and Washington — the Evergreen State — humbly launched the most significant attack against the wall of prohibition that I have ever seen. We have opted out of the continuing war against cannabis, putting our independent states in direct conflict with the federal government. Now we are on the bleeding edge of global drug policy, leading this earth into a more open future.

Alison Holcomb is my hero

A hearty, heartfelt congratulations and a humble, deep offering of thanks to Alison Holcomb, the one person who, more than any other, led us to this momentous occasion. She kept focus on the actual game — voters — and let slide the bulk of the often-unfortunate communication coming from a handful of medical cannabis leaders and the flocks they shepherd.

Most of us can scarcely imagine how it feels to be a focus of a constant, personally-directed negative campaign. Half of us can scarcely imagine being a woman, let alone a strong woman — suffering male opposition who appeal to emotion using one's physicality and looks, who name call, who ride roughshod over thoughtful conversations with terrifying tones. These lives take personal tolls on us all; none of us are excepted. I have felt such pain even witnessing from afar our community's words and divisional tactics, I can not fathom the faith and strength required to stand in the shoes of Alison Holcomb.

It is time for our community to move forward. In doing so, let's drop our anti-ACLU baggage and our personal animosity towards people we don't really know. We must let this angst flow past with the election. We can not allow our communal spaces to equally value respect and disrespect, love and hate; we must make greater space for respect and love. This will require work from everyone in our community: those who may carry anger in their hearts must reflectively work to self check, and those who hold our colleagues in high esteem must speak up and community check. We are all part of this future.

On December 6, when we can legally imbibe cannabis in Washington state, I plan to burn one in honor of Alison Holcomb, one of my personal heroes. I highly recommend this.

An introduction to our work

Center for Legal Cannabis is a public policy think tank and project incubator advocating legal cannabis and less crime. We support emerging cannabis industries with research, business consulting, advocacy support, technology development, and spirit. We fertilize and strengthen the ground underneath advocates and entrepreneurs.

I am Ben Livingston, a longtime pot activist in Washington State, and this is my new project. This is a critical juncture, and now more than ever our community needs thoughtful analysis, business intelligence and leadership building. The Center for Legal Cannabis will play a small part in this by creating products and compelling research to inform and empower advocates, government, business and the general public.

I invite you to stay informed of our work with this weekly email update. It will include a summary of any updates to our maps, new projects and products, relevant Washington news, maybe some business advice, maybe some policy advice, and general insight into Washington's brave new world of legal cannabis. Feel free to forward it to a friend.

School zone map released

The federal government sent what are essentially raid notices to nearly 30 medical cannabis access points since late August. The notices claim that the access point was targeted because they are in a federal "school zone."

Every access point is in a school zone. I've said for years that 95-99% of Seattle is a school zone. That is hard to believe because it is hard to visualize, so I set out to visualize it. Really, I wanted to know why the feds chose some access points over others similarly situated, and the only way I can imagine deducing that is through GIS mapping software. Unfortunately, I've been spare timing this project for two months, and fear it may fall victim to irrelevancy — if useful research falls in a forest and nobody is around to see it, does it make an impact?

And so, without further ado, the Center for Legal Cannabis is opening up our (Beta) School Zone Map:

Access our school zone map

The map includes schools in red and parks in orange. The school layer is pretty good data. It starts from the King County GIS school sites dataset, and includes perhaps a hundred or more hours of tedious parcel by parcel research. That analysis is not entirely complete, but at this point it's pretty darn respectable.

The park data is not as good; federal school zones include playgrounds, not parks. We still need to validate the parks layer, remove parks without playgrounds, and add non-park playgrounds. Several other layers are missing, and will appear on the map in future releases. These include the 100-foot buffers around youth centers, public pools and video arcades, the 1,000-foot buffer around public housing, and state-defined school zones.

Feedback and questions welcome

Our work is just beginning, and we trust that many in the cannabis community can grasp the value of our efforts. These tools won't guarantee anyone a license down the road, but it may be that everyone with a license will have used these tools. Our state is supposed to complete the rulemaking process in one year, which will seem like no time at all. Knowledge is power, and it behooves our community to fortify itself with knowledge for the road ahead.

The school zone map will become more comprehensive and useful with time, and more javascript code. I expect to release smaller analyses in the weeks ahead, and a comprehensive report on federal school zones when finished.

Your feedback and questions are welcome.


Sean Cecil, Attorney Canna Law Group