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Washington To License Roughly 400 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

marijuana washington state felony drug possessionThere 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.

  • SteveSarich

    They’ve been at this for 2.5 years now and they have only been able to locate around 30% of the 334 recreational stores that they promised to have open in 2014. The 1,000 ft rules, along with the 100+ cities and 11 counties with bans, have made this a momentous cluster***k. So if they can’t locate the 200+ recreational stores that they have issued licenses for, how in the world are they going to locate another 400 “medical” stores? The LCB has no problem lying to the legislature and the press.

    • Shadar

      I didn’t think it was the LCB’s job to “locate” stories. Businessmen find a location that meets the rules, local and state, and then apply for a license.

      Also, if there was overwhelming demand for 502 weed, and there were too few stores open, then there would be lines. There aren’t. So the stores that are opened are meeting the need.

      The Feds are still a huge part of this problem too. The inability for 502 stores to deduct expenses, creating a completely unfair income tax structure on cannabis businesses, puts a damper on being able to make a profit.

      • Denny

        The feds have always been the hangup and remain so today.
        We’ve heard from the top for years that he doesn’t oppose rescheduling, but that’s proven to be nothing more than political rhetoric, as usual.

      • yankee2

        Being prohibited from deducting expenses is one of the stupidest, most CRIMINAL regulations I’ve heard of yet!

    • yankee2

      Applying restrictions to marijuana stores that are not applied to stores that sell alcohol or tobacco is blatant discrimination… against PEOPLE who make the wisest, safest choice between recreational drugs. It makes NO SENSE and it is TOTALLY HYPOCRITICAL and UNFAIR. We should NOT be discouraging people from using marijuana, thereby moving them toward the use of much more dangerous alternatives. Regulations should ENCOURAGE the use of marijuana over those other drugs!

  • Craig Diehm

    Black market will thrive.

  • Silverado

    Where is Arthur West when we need him??

  • yankee2

    Did everyone see the June National Geographic? The cover article, “Weed: The New Science of Marijuana” is amazingly positive in tone and fact. It should help raise the consciousnesses of millions of Americans, and pass scores of marijuana legalization bills (esp. of the medical kind). Check it out.

  • yankee2

    “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?”

    That means that only people/corporations which have been able to spend large amounts of money, year after year, with only a HOPE that they can eventually get through the process and make money are able to qualify for licenses. The bottom line is that ONLY THE RICH can afford to get into the marijuana business, leaving the vast majority of us OUT IN THE COLD! It’s an OBSCENE fascist (corporatist) trick for government to serve the rich HUGELY, while telling most of us to go fuck ourselves…

    ASAhumanlyP, we should NATIONALIZE all large corporate pot businesses, and redistribute them to people who never made more than $50K a year in our lives… i.e. we should permit, support and encourage pot businesses for WORKING and MIDDLE CLASS Americans. That would create FAR more living-wage American jobs than the corporate model, which will probably outsource marijuana “production” to some foreign country!

    We may need to keep fighting for marijuana JUSTICE for at least a few more years.

  • yankee2

    “Although, I expect prices at dispensaries to go sky high after this all shakes out?”
    In that case the BLACK MARKET will THRIVE. I hope to be among the first deny the DEVIL His “due,” i.e. to deny and avoid the ripoff corporate pot business and extortionist taxation schemes.

  • Nate

    “I can’t help but wonder why there aren’t similar caps on pharmacies? Or retail locations that sell alcohol? Or cigarettes?”

    There are, local municipalities and cities limit the types of businesses and quantities of them all the time, even ones that have no effect on health. Read your local paper and you’ll see that a strip club can’t open where it wants or a new restaurant can’t get a liquor license (these are also capped). Read the front page of a national newspaper once in awhile and you’ll read about a mosque that can’t get the permits to open, whether it be in NYC or TN.

    Those with the business licenses will appreciate the limits since it can help preserve the local market over the long term. If an unlimited number of shops/bars/whatever are allowed to open, the local market can quickly become oversaturated, which can put most of the players out of business and if the industry has a low cost of entry, new entrants will come soon and will create a consistent cycle of failing enterprises with new ones opening right behind them.

    This may be capitalism at its finest (or its worst, depending on your perspective), but as a general rule, local government is not a fan of this cycle since it stunts growth and development in an area. Businesses constantly going in and out of business means more vacancies, which means less tax revenue, which means less desire to invest in their town/city/area.

    There is an amount of regulation that can help a market thrive, but that girding can quickly turn into a noose for some. Finding the proper amount is an endless balancing act where no one on all sides will ever be happy.