Some of Seattle’s medical marijuana dispensaries are giving the entire industry a bad name.
Roughly a third of the city’s estimated 105 dispensaries have yet to obtain a business license, meaning they are technically violating local laws, according to The Stranger, a Seattle-focused news website.
It’s particularly disturbing for several reasons:
– Seattle has gone out of its way to give dispensaries protection against federal prosecution and support the industry in general. The city’s mayor signed a new law over the summer that requires pot shops to obtain a license and pay taxes, setting up a regulatory framework that could prevent the federal government from interfering. Despite this support – which is becoming increasingly rare in cities across the country – 37 dispensaries have ignored the new laws, which could lead to city-mandated closures and create some ill will in the future.
– Compared to other areas with medical marijuana laws, Seattle’s process is relatively easy and cheap, costing just $90 for a permit. In Colorado, dispensary owners must pay tens of thousands of dollars for applications, licenses and upgrades to ensure they meet state regulations. In other words, dispensaries in Seattle have it easy, yet they still aren’t complying with local laws.
On the bright side, the dispensaries without licenses have been “very responsive” to the city’s business licensing division, according to The Stranger.
“We haven’t had to take action to shut anyone down,” said Denise Movius, a spokeswoman for the division.