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Washington: Legislature OKs Gutting Medical Marijuana Program Under Legalization

BoycottAllI-502Businesses[SteveSarich]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington Legislature on Tuesday approved a bill essentially gutting the state's medical marijuana program, sending to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee a bill that eliminates medicinal cannabis dispensaries now that the state's recreational market is nominally in place.

The Senate concurred with changes made to the bill in the House last week, then voted 41-8 to send it on to the Governor for his expected signature, reports Beth Nakamura at The Oregonian.

Republican Senator Ann Rivers of La Center claimed the state could "no longer wait" to "reconcile" the medical and recreational markets, effectively forcing patients to pay the much higher prices in recreational pot stores, where employees are forbidden to even mention the medicinal applications of cannabis.

"The reality is that we have a thriving illicit market," Rivers said, ignoring the fact that medical marijuana collectives have been legal in the state since 1998. "It's essential that we shut that down.

"But it was also essential that our patients had a clean supply and an adequate supply," Rivers said, in a statement that is dripping with irony given the fact that her bill does neither.

Washington: Seattle City Attorney Wants To Shut Down Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

PeteHolmesSeattleCityAttorney

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes was a big supporter of Washington state's marijuana legalization measure, Initiative 502, all along. Now it seems Holmes is so gung-ho on 502, he wants to extinguish current medical marijuana dispensaries, which existed for years before recreational legalization was approved in 2012, and force medicinal cannabis patients through the state's expensive recreational pot stores.

Holmes in a policy memo on Monday urged the Washington Legislature to fold medical marijuana into the state's recreational system, reports Evan Bush at The Seattle Times. He also pushed Seattle city officials to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries which he claims aren't following state law or city regulations.

"If you're a commercial (medical marijuana) operation lacking a 502 license, it's a felony operation. Period," Holmes said.

Holmes claimed some of the business aren't operating with proper permits, and that others have neglected to pay local business and occupation taxes. He said some of them opened after the Seattle City Council passed an intended moratorium on new dispensaries in the city.

The city attorney said he published the wide-ranging memo to clarify any confusion about medical marijuana laws. Holmes said he hopes his memo "reframes" the debate about medical marijuana.

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