As Washington lawmakers ponder ways to streamline the state’s medical marijuana regulations, Seattle’s mayor is calling for the legalization of cannabis – a move that would have both positive and negative repercussions for MMJ dispensaries.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said yesterday during his State of the City address that marijuana contributes heavily to crime and fuels violent activity, adding that it’s time for big changes in cannabis laws and the creation of “sensible” pot policies.
“We support safe access to medical marijuana and made enforcement of possession of marijuana for personal purposes our lowest enforcement priority,” McGinn said, according to the text of his speech. “But we’ve learned in the past year that with the federal war on drugs still intact, and with our kids still getting gunned down on the streets, we need to do more.
“I know every one of the city council members sitting to my left and right believe as I do: it’s time for this state to legalize marijuana and stop the violence, stop the incarceration, stop the erosion of civil liberties, and urge the federal government to stop the failed war on drugs.”
The mayor and Seattle’s City Council have been supportive of medical marijuana in general, working to make sure that registered patients have access to cannabis via dispensaries.
McGinn’s comments yesterday are part of a growing chorus of calls for the legalization of marijuana for adults. Initiatives are underway in several states – including Washington, Colorado and California – to legalize and regulate cannabis, and some influential political leaders are coming out in support of the idea as well.
For patients who use marijuana to ease their pain and people who simply like to smoke weed, this is obviously a positive development. Legalization would ensure ample supply of marijuana and give users a safe option for obtaining it.
But it might not be as beneficial to cannabis dispensary owners and other current players in the medical marijuana industry. Legalization, some fear, would cut into their business and make it hard for them to stay afloat with plenty of new competition. On the other hand, legitimate cannabis businesses wouldn’t have to worry about government raids, and the market would expand enormously.