In Seattle, delivering legal pot illegally - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

In Seattle, delivering legal pot illegally

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren). In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Even Cox, co-founder of marijuana delivery company Winterlife, poses for a photo in Seattle as an employee packages pot for delivery behind him. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren). In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Even Cox, co-founder of marijuana delivery company Winterlife, poses for a photo in Seattle as an employee packages pot for delivery behind him.
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren). In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Kristie "Parrot" Rodgers, left, packages marijuana for delivery as she works at Winterlife, a marijuana delivery service in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren). In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Kristie "Parrot" Rodgers, left, packages marijuana for delivery as she works at Winterlife, a marijuana delivery service in Seattle.
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren). In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Michael "Billy the Kid" Kenworthy, drives through Seattle as he makes a marijuana delivery run for Winterlife, a pot delivery service in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren). In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Michael "Billy the Kid" Kenworthy, drives through Seattle as he makes a marijuana delivery run for Winterlife, a pot delivery service in Seattle.
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren). In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Michael "Billy the Kid" Kenworthy, right, a marijuana delivery driver, greets a customer who identified himself as "Mr. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren). In this photo taken June 5, 2014, Michael "Billy the Kid" Kenworthy, right, a marijuana delivery driver, greets a customer who identified himself as "Mr.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Suspect in Las Vegas crime spree describes mayhem

    Suspect in Las Vegas crime spree describes mayhem

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:28 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:28:50 GMT
    Police say a suspect arrested in a deadly Las Vegas home invasion told them she fought off a woman with a screwdriver to help her partner in crime as he struggled with and fatally shot the woman's husband.
    A woman accused in a Las Vegas crime spree described to police how she stabbed a woman with a screwdriver during a violent string of mayhem that ended in the death of her partner and a homeowner.
  • Century-old pipe break points to national problem

    Century-old pipe break points to national problem

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:28 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:28:33 GMT
    The quiet summer campus of UCLA found itself suddenly steeped in water and chaos after a major water pipe burst and spewed some eight million gallons, stranding people in parking garages and flooding the...
    The rupture of a nearly century-old water main that ripped a 15-foot hole through Sunset Boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles into a mucky swamp points to the risks and expense many...
  • 6 Philadelphia officers charged in corruption case

    6 Philadelphia officers charged in corruption case

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:19 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:19:43 GMT
    Six city narcotics officers used gangland tactics to shake down drug dealers, robbing them of large sums of cash and drugs for years, federal authorities charged in an indictment unsealed Wednesday.
    Six city narcotics officers used gangland tactics to shake down drug dealers, relying on guns, badges, beatings and threats to extort huge piles of cash and cocaine, federal authorities charged in an indictment Wednesday.
By MANUEL VALDES
Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) - William "Jackrabbit" Large pulls his SUV onto the side of a downtown Seattle street, parking behind an Amazon Fresh delivery truck and carrying a product the online retailer doesn't offer: marijuana.

The thin, bespectacled Large is a delivery man for Winterlife, a Seattle company that is among a group of new businesses pushing the limits of Washington state's recreational pot industry by offering to bring marijuana to almost any doorstep.

"It's an opportunity that should not be missed," Large says with the kind of fast-talking voice meant for radio.

While delivery services have existed for years to supply medical marijuana patients, the rise of similar businesses geared toward serving recreational users in Washington and Colorado highlights how the industry is outpacing the states' pot laws.

Winterlife's business model is a felony under Washington state law, which allows only the sale of pot grown by licensed producers at licensed retail shops.

Lawmakers should consider changing that, said Alison Holcomb, the author of the 2012 voter initiative that legalized the recreational use of pot, because providing more ways to access marijuana will help push people to the legal pot market.

In Colorado, where marijuana regulations require sales to be done in licensed dispensaries, there's a flourishing market online for marijuana deliveries made in exchange for donations.

The law allows adults over 21 to give one another up to an ounce of marijuana, provided it is done "without remuneration."

The only known case of criminal charges brought against a Colorado delivery service came last year, when the owner of a pot-for-donations service in the Colorado Springs area faced felony distribution charges. He committed suicide before trial.

In Washington, where the legal pot industry kicked off last week, companies like Winterlife jumped into fill demand from consumers for marijuana while the state spent the past 19 months building the regulations and licensing growers and retailers.

Winterlife co-founder Evan Cox, a vegan and bicyclist enthusiast, began by advertising on Craigslist and made deliveries.

Now he has around 50 full and part-time employees, including 25 to 30 delivery personnel in cars and bicycles. Operators field between 400 and 600 calls a day.

"We found a way to really fill the need that the Washington voter said that there is," he says from his company's headquarters, where workers busily sort, cut and package their different marijuana products into branded clear bags.

The Winterlife model is simple. They have a website that features their products - marijuana flowers, edibles and pipes. After making a call, the consumer's phone is relayed to a driver, who then asks them where they want to meet.

Cox is fully aware of the shaky legal ground where he stands.

All of the drivers operate under animal-inspired pseudonyms. There's a jackrabbit, a wombat, a possum, among others.

Cox is also mostly staying within Seattle, where police have tolerated the company's presence and voters in the city made marijuana crimes a low priority for law enforcement years ago.

As the business kept growing, Cox decided to visit an attorney for advice. The company hopes that by checking the identification of its customers and opting not to mail the product it will avoid legal trouble.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department, said Winterlife is undermining the spirit of the legal marijuana law. So far, he said, the police department has bigger priorities.

But he said the department could change its stance if it receives information about underage sales or other complaints. The department recently seized more than 2,200 plants from a medical marijuana grow that was bothering neighbors.

Minnesota resident Kendra Davis heard from her sister about Winterlife and gave them a call on a recent visit to Seattle. She met Large behind the Amazon delivery truck.

"I figured while I'm here I might as well partake where it's legal," says Davis, who added that she did not start smoking until she was 30. "The kind of high we're looking for is the giggly fun," she tells Large.

Then she buys a handful of truffles and a quarter ounce.

___

Associated Press writer Kristen Wyatt in Denver contributed to this report.

___

Manuel Valdes can be reached at http://twitter.com/ByManuelValdes

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • Bank scandal tarnishes powerful Portuguese family

    Bank scandal tarnishes powerful Portuguese family

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:27 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:27:26 GMT
    Portugal's Espirito Santo family business survived wars, dictatorship, revolution and family feuds for almost 150 years. Now, one of Europe's last banking dynasties is being stripped of its wealth and...
    Portugal's Espirito Santo family business survived wars, dictatorship, revolution and family feuds for almost 150 years. Now, one of Europe's last banking dynasties is being stripped of its wealth and influence...
  • Argentina officials stage 11th-hour talks in NYC

    Argentina officials stage 11th-hour talks in NYC

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:27 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:27:21 GMT
    Argentina's economy minister led a last-gasp effort Wednesday to strike a deal with U.S. creditors that would prevent the South American country from slipping into default.
    Argentina's economy minister led a last-gasp effort Wednesday to strike a deal with U.S. creditors that would prevent the South American country from slipping into default.
  • Liberia's president closes schools amid Ebola

    Liberia's president closes schools amid Ebola

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:26:24 GMT
    Liberia's president late Wednesday ordered the nation's schools to shut down and most civil servants to stay home as an Ebola outbreak that already has killed more than 130 people in the country deepened.
    Liberia's president late Wednesday ordered the nation's schools to shut down and most civil servants to stay home as an Ebola outbreak that already has killed more than 130 people in the country deepened.