Battle Between Rec, MMJ in Washington State

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A political fight is brewing between recreational and medical marijuana business interests in Washington State.

With legislators about to begin considering statewide rules for the medical cannabis industry, heavily-regulated recreational vendors are hiring lobbyists to make sure policymakers don’t go easy on MMJ.

Many rec shop owners are worried that if the state isn’t as hard on the medical side as it was in setting up rules for the adult-use industry, their bottom lines will take a hit.

At the same time, MMJ dispensaries are hiring lobbyists of their own to make sure their voices don’t get drowned out, setting up what could turn into a nasty political battle over cannabis regulations.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, medical dispensaries “far outnumber the 334 recreational marijuana stores licensed to open.” The problem is they’re largely illegal, since Washington lacks statewide oversight for MMJ businesses while closely monitoring rec stores. It’s been an ongoing problem, with cities like Seattle trying to crack down on dispensaries while simultaneously making room for rec shops.

But this year could mark a turning point. Several bills addressing both MMJ and rec marijuana have been introduced, and the pressure is growing on officials to address the situation.