Is Washington State Trying to Kill Its Medical Marijuana Industry?
After paving the early road for marijuana legalization in our state, the medical marijuana industry now claims state officials want to do away with them.
The Seattle Times ran a column by the Puget Sound Business Journal by writer Ana Sofia Knauf detailing new regulations being placed on the medical marijuana industry. The article says:
The Seattle City Council voted Monday to require medical and recreational marijuana businesses to apply for a marijuana license under I-502 regulations, which legalized recreational cannabis. The rule would place medical and recreational cannabis programs in the same channel, requiring them to obtain the same license."
Medical marijuana was first approved by Washington voters in 1998 for medical purposes only. According to John Novak, who operates the 420Leaks.com blog, the Washington State Liquor Control Board claims 92 percent of those using medical marijuana do not meet the definition of a "qualified patient." That information supposedly comes from the Washington State Department of Revenue, but no sources of data or references to facts and figures are given.
Newstalk 870 received has seen several documents courtesty of 420Leaks.com supposedly from the Department of Revenue and Washington State Department of Health that suggest the state is indeed looking to squeeze medical marijuana dispensaries out of the picture.
Besides the Seattle City Council's recent moves, what we believe is a Department of Health internal memo says the state needs to make significant changes to its medical marijuana policy.
Goal 1: De‐incentivize medical marijuana to ensure recreational users are appropriately
funneled into the I-502 model rather than the medical market.. Strategy: Eliminate collective gardens. Again, this was enacted due to the lack of an adequate, safe, consistent and secure source of mmj. This is no longer an issue. If collective gardens are retained, language is needed to ensure they are conducted as intended."
The memo also asks the question:
Is a separate medical marijuana system still necessary after the implementation of I-502?"
The memo suggests medical marijuana be completely brought under the I-502 umbrella, with similar tax structure, fees, etc. And if you haven't looked at the financial structure of legalized pot in Washington state, it's not going to be cheap.
There are many residents in this state who legally and legitimately use medical marijuana. Like it or not, it was approved by voters and many physicians have utilized it. It appears the state is trying to use I-502 to grab even more revenue by destroying the medical marijuana industry. But the excessive cost of the pot would make it too expensive for many patients to afford.