By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
In another example of the bureaucratic disarray shackling the recreational and medical marijuana industry in Washington State, the City of Seattle sent a warning letter to over three hundred medical marijuana dispensaries requiring them to obtain a state license for medical marijuana by next summer or face closure. The problem is Washington does not license medical marijuana dispensaries.
Over three hundred dispensaries were served notice by the city. Previously, the city council anticipated that at some time in the future, the legislature would create a regulatory program to address medical marijuana dispensaries in addition to the laws and agency rules currently addressing the recreational industry. The subsequent session of the legislature failed to craft such legislation. In fact, there were several camps in the legislature that were openly hostile to the notion of an untaxed market that competed with the highly taxed state sanctioned recreational marijuana industry, which the legislature wanted to protect.
One representative, Chris Hurst of Enumclaw, who oversees the House committee that oversees the marijuana industry, urged the city to take action against the medical marijuana industry. The United States Department of Justice has warned that it considers the unregulated medical marijuana industry as untenable.
In November of 2013 the city council gave the extension to existing medical marijuana dispensaries but any that attempted to be established afterward would not be tolerated. But reportedly, there have been dozens that have open afterward nevertheless. There are presently over three hundred and thirty medical dispensaries and they outnumber recreational marijuana retailers by nearly a hundred to one.
There is concern the actions by the city will negatively affect medical marijuana patients due to the greater lengths they will have to go to obtain their medicine.
Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access stated: “We’re urging the Legislature to adopt a legal framework that can allow the two programs — adult use and medical — to exist side-by-side. In the meantime, the city of Seattle should back off its stringent stance on requiring medical marijuana businesses to obtain a license that doesn’t yet exist.”
By Darren Smith
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