Seattle council OK’s plan to close medical-marijuana businesses

In Dispensaries, Regulatory, Top Stories by Chris DollardLeave a Comment

The Seattle City Council approved a plan to shut down medical marijuana businesses that have opened since January 2013. Green cross signs will become more scarce in Seattle under a plan adopted by the City Council Monday. The city will force medical-marijuana businesses that opened Jan. 1, 2013, or later to shut down by next July as part of a new licensing plan proposed by Mayor Ed Murray and approved by the council in a unanimous vote. A rash of new medical-marijuana shops have opened since the start of 2013, just after voters legalized adult possession of an ounce or less of pot through Initiative 502. Some in the legal pot business and City Hall view those newcomers — who make up roughly half of Seattle’s 99 medical marijuana dispensaries — as profiteers trying to capitalize on the more liberal state law and the city’s lax attitude toward pot businesses. “This will give the city more authority than in the past to regulate,” said Councilmember Nick Licata, who has long been a supporter of medical marijuana. New regulations take effect 30 days after the mayor signs the council legislation. Murray has not disparaged the newer shops, but has said the city is trying to address the uncontrolled growth of the industry in Seattle. City Attorney Pete Holmes has noted that some of the newcomers haven’t obtained basic city business licenses and some sell to nonpatients so they aren’t even truly dispensaries. The council’s vote comes less than a week after King County’s top two law enforcers announced a crackdown on 15 dispensaries in unincorporated parts of the counties. Both the city and county actions were spurred by recent changes in state law that aim to bring medical-marijuana products and their consumers into legal retail pot stores licensed by the […]

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