There are medical marijuana dispensaries spread all over Washington State. Many of these establishments have been helping patients access medicine for a long time. Despite these medical marijuana dispensaries being good neighbors in the neighborhoods they operate in, the State of Washington is trying to shut most of them down. The State of Washington announced recently that it would approve roughly 400 medical marijuana dispensary licenses when they are available. Per The Joint Blog:
On July 24th, the Washington State Liquor Control Board will be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board, and will be tasked with deciding which of the state’s currently operating medical cannabis collective gardens – which are forced to close by July 1st, 2016 – will be allowed to become licensed and legal outlets.
According to the Associated Press, the Board will use a merit-based system to decide which outlets to license. The Board estimates that 825 outlets will apply for a license, and they expect to approve about half.
First dibs on licenses will go to those that have been in the medical cannabis industry since before 2013, have paid their taxes and have applied for a recreational cannabis license.
When I see caps on dispensary licenses, I can’t help but wonder why there aren’t similar caps on pharmacies? Or retail locations that sell alcohol? Or cigarettes? After all, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and cigarettes are all more dangerous than medical marijuana. If we are going to apply the same logic across the board, All three of those types of businesses should have licenses capped too. But, as usual, marijuana is singled out, and now patients get to either pay more at a recreational outlet, go back to the black market, or go without unless they are lucky enough to frequent a dispensary that is lucky enough to get a license. Although, I expect prices at dispensaries to go sky high after this all shakes out.