Medical Dispensary owners in Washington have been fearing the worst for some time now.
For over a year, city councils and state officials have been making vague threats to shut down the medical industry in their state. Their reasoning has been that medical shops do not have licenses and therefore mostly do not pay taxes, much like many shops in California. Many officials made statements claiming that if medical shops wanted to stay in business, they need to get a license from the city and state.
The problem? No such licenses ever really existed.
This obvious conundrum has been boiling for some time now, and it seems that this week dispensary owners fears are coming to fruition.
In May, the Seattle City Council proposed a measure that would shut down most medical shops in the city. Yesterday, the council voted unanimously to approve that measure.
Per The Joint Blog:
A proposal to shutdown over half of the medical cannabis dispensaries located in Seattle has been unanimously approved by the city’s council. The measure, which was put forth by Mayor Ed Murray, will go into effect 30 days after he signs it.
Under the new law, any medical cannabis dispensary that opened after January 1st, 2013, and those who are distributing medicine to those under 21 (which was made illegal with the recent passage of Senate Bill 5052), will be forced to close their doors by July of next year, without the possibility of receiving a license to continue operating. It’s expected that 59 of the city’s 99 dispensaries will be forced to close.
Those that opened prior to 2013, and who are in good standing, will be allowed to remain open if they receive a license from the state Liquor Control Board (soon to be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board).
It will be interesting to see how many lawsuits are born out of this. Based on our conversations with many dispensary owners in Washington, many of them plan to fight to stay in business.