Tacoma to Shut Down Majority of its 60+ Dispensaries

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Dispensaries in Tacoma, Washington, will receive letters from the city this month ordering them to close within 45 days, though a handful that meet specific criteria may be allowed to continue operating at least for awhile.

The Tacoma City Council made the decision this week to shut down most of the area’s 60-plus unregulated dispensaries, with officials expressing concern about the proliferation of such businesses, according to the News Tribune.

The council previously planned to crack down on dispensaries but delayed action against them to see how the state would decide to handle medical marijuana businesses now that recreational cannabis is legal. The state ended up passing a bill in April that effectively will kill Washington’s MMJ program by rolling it into its heavily regulated recreational market.

Under that law, dispensaries and collective gardens will be required to get licenses from the state by July 1, 2016, or shut their doors.

Tacoma’s council will consider allowing some dispensaries to remain open, but only those that launched before 2013, have had a continuous business license since last summer and have paid their state taxes and fees regularly. Those dispensaries might be able to continue operating until the state decides which MMJ businesses will receive licenses under the rec program.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland said that at a minimum, 48 of the city’s dispensaries need to close permanently.