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UPDATE: Seattle City Council Approves Measure To Close Medical Marijuana Shops



UPDATE: The Seattle City Council approved legislation Monday that will lead to the closure of dozens of medical marijuana shops. Dispensaries that sell to minors, and shops that don’t check for medical authorizations are the places the city wants to shut down.

According to city officials, since Washington State’s recreational marijuana law, I-502,  became law two and a half years ago the number of medical marijuana shops in Seattle went from 45 to well over 100.

David Mendoza, a policy advisor to Mayor Ed Murray, says the resolution before the council creates a structured system that lets the city close medical marijuana businesses that came on the scene after I-502 was enacted in January, 2013. The medical marijuana dispensaries that can prove they were operating before that date will be allowed to remain open.


As it stands now, dispensaries are unregulated. But that will change by this time next year when they will be folded into the state’s recreational system and shops will be required to get a state license.  


Mendoza says during the interim, shutting down all medical marijuana stores in the city would be a disservice to patients, “The products they are seeking are not at the recreational stores in the number and variety that is available at the medical stores. Nor can a medical patient walk into a recreational store and ask what would be best for them and their illness. That would be against Liquor and Cannabis Board rules.”


If the city council passes the resolution, the medical marijuana shops identified for closure by the city will have 60 days to wrap up business and those allowed to stay open will have tighter oversight.

Seattle’s approach is a bit softer than the one announced last week by the King County Prosecutor’s office. Last week Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said all medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal and that the ones operating in unincorporated King County will have to shut down.

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