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King County Is Cracking Down On Medical Marijuana Shops

Jennifer Wing
King County Sheriff John Urquhart, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Russ Hauge with the Liquor Control Board explain why medical marijuana shops need to be shut down.



The King County Prosecutor’s office is sending a message to the operators of Medical Marijuana shops in unincorporated areas: Shut your business down or face serious consequences.



Amanda Prowse, the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary, was one of several people who heckled and interrupted prosecutor Dan Satterberg at a press conference in White Center.


“You are horrible people, you don’t care about people!” shouted Prowse as Satterberg laid out the plan to close dispensaries.


“They’re trying to make us out to be a bunch of thugs and criminals, but we’re not,” Prowse said later, “We’re good people taking care of each other.”


By this time next year all medical marijuana shops will be required to have a state license brining this unregulated industry under the strict requirements and monitoring of I-502. But until that happens, Satterberg said medical marijuana dispensaries have to shut down. Satterberg said the shops are illegal and put I-502 in jeopardy by attracting unwanted attention from the federal government.


“The federal government is watching Washington State and if we don't do it right. The federal government is going to come in and shut us down and is going to shut Colorado down if we don’t do it right. There’s one way to do it right.”


The press conference was held on a long bock 16th Ave. SW,  just south of Roxburry Street, White Center’s main drag. At 10 a.m. pot smoke lingered on the sidewalk outside of a dispensary.


Local resident Barbara Dobkin, the president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, is relieved the county is cracking down.


“People go in, hang out and party,” said Dobkin pointing to a dispensary across the street. “The dispensaries have been a free for all. They aren’t adding anything to health of a community with the highest poverty rate in King County and the lowest median income. It’s just not what’s needed. We need economic reform that’s not in the form of illegal business.”


Unlicensed medical pot stores in unincorporated King County have one month to wrap up their business. If they don’t, they could face fines and criminal charges.  


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