As the Seattle P-I recently reported, the state Legislature hasn’t made any moves on medical marijuana, leaving the already-established businesses in limbo as a limited number of licenses are doled out to the new recreational shops. Seattle zoning laws require marijuana businesses to have a license, but so far, they aren’t available to medicinal shops.
Medical marijuana has been missing from the debate since Initiative 502 was proposed and passed. Now the crunch is on before the stores become illegal in January 2015.
This highlights the larger problem: The state has been woefully unprepared to implement this law. Washington is the first state to legalize marijuana starting essentially from ground zero. Our fellow legalizers, Colorado, already had a system of regulated medicinal shops to build off of. Though the legalization of marijuana seems to be rolling elsewhere throughout the country, other states may see our struggles as a warning sign. It’s the long-term solution that’s needed if this legalization is to be successful.
In the meantime, the Seattle City Council needs to approve the proposed time extension to give the Legislature enough time to create thoughtful and appropriate rules.