Washington State has one of the oldest medical marijuana laws in the country, and one of the oldest medical marijuana industries in the country as well. However, the medical marijuana industry has operated in a legal grey area for quite sometime, and after the passage of Senate Bill 5052, the industry has started to undergo dramatic changes. A lot of medical marijuana dispensaries will be forced to close, while others will be able to get licenses to continue to operate. Also, recreational marijuana stores will be able to get licenses and begin to sell to patients.
Statistics were released this week which showed that over 1,000 applications have been received for new licenses, and 142 already-licensed stores received 'medical endorsements' to begin selling to patients after the rules have been finalized and sales begin to be allowed. Per The News Tribune:
State government has in recent weeks stamped 142 retail marijuana licenses with a medical endorsement that will let them cater to patients come July1.
The value of an endorsement for the roughly 65 percent of pot shops that have received one won't be fully known, though, until more rules are set for Washington's newly consolidated medical and recreational marijuana system.
"If it did come to fruition, we could significantly expand our business," said Jim Sulton, owner of one of the stores with an endorsement, A Bud and Leaf in Olympia.
The issuance of medical endorsements is bitter sweet. On one hand, it offers a lifeline to many struggling recreational marijuana stores that will help them stay in business. Also, patients will be able to go to outlets and make purchases via non-gray area safe access. But, on the other hand some long standing dispensaries will have to close, and patients will no doubt have to pay more than they are used to paying.