Washington State is making major changes to its medical marijuana law and so Seattle Mayor Ed Murray plans to adapt to those changes by shuttering dozens of dispensaries. “It is time to ensure that everyone plays by the same rules,” the Mayor said. “We’re strengthening the recreational marijuana market and creating safer, more consistent access for those who rely on medicinal products.”
According to an article in CBS Seattle, Murray announced plans to require marijuana businesses to obtain a new special business license, similar to what’s required of taxi operators and pawn shops. Canna-businesses will be required to get approved for that license by July 2016. Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a new medical marijuana law, which gives licensing priority to dispensaries that were in operation before January 1st, 2013.
According to Seattle officials, 54 of the city’s 99 medical marijuana storefronts opened after that date or have been operating without a legal city business license. A spokesman for Murray explained that those businesses won’t be getting the special license and need to shut down. As for the rest of the storefronts, they will be allowed to remain open long enough to see if they end up being licensed by the state.
According to the CBS Seattle article, the new state medical marijuana law also creates a voluntary registry of patients and starting next year, “collective gardens” providing cannabis to thousands of people will be eliminated. Instead, patients who got their medicine from those gardens will be able to get medical-grade marijuana at legal recreational marijuana stores that are endorsed by the state to sell medical marijuana. Another option for those patients will be to participate in smaller cooperative grows of up to four patients.