December 22, 2014

Seattle May Not Issue Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses After All

December 22, 2014
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seattle washington marijuana cannabis cup high timesThe State of Washington is in desperate need of solid, clear medical marijuana dispensary rules and regulations. Without clearer rules and regulations, medical marijuana dispensaries are left in a grey area at best, which leaves all of them vulnerable to being shut down at any minute. That of course is no way to live if you operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Washington, and is obviously bad for patients as well.

The City of Seattle was mulling the idea to issue business licenses to dispensaries within city limits. However, that plan appears to be on the verge of being scrapped. Per Seattle Weekly:

The mayor’s office is changing its plans for regulating medical marijuana businesses within city limits, and may not issue licenses after all, City Hall staffers tell Seattle Weekly today.

The revisions follow questions about the city’s legal authority to set up its own system independent of the state, as well as criticism from an array of players in the recreational pot world who argue that proposed city regulations would give medical marijuana businesses an unfair advantage.

The mayor’s plan, outlined late last month, called for two types of licenses, depending on the size of operation, and set rules for testing, the number of plants allowed and the distance businesses had to be from each other and from facilities catering to children. The plan contained some key differences from the regulations set by the state Liquor Control Board for recreational marijuana businesses. Among them was a 500-foot rule separating medical pot businesses from locales frequented by children, rather than the 1,000-foot rule used by the state in deference to federal law.

Washington reminds me a lot of how it was in Oregon before Oregon’s Legislature legalized medical marijuana dispensaries (officially legalized, no ‘grey area’). Dispensaries are all over the place in Washington. By not licensing and regulating them, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, and the State of Washington is losing out on revenue everyday in the process. It’s time that Washington put in place clear rules and regulations for dispensaries so that the industry can operate above reproach, and help the State with much needed tax and fee revenues, like Oregon is doing now.


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