Unlicensed Tacoma Dispensaries Get Stay of Execution

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

Roughly 60 medical marijuana dispensaries that are operating illegally in the city of Tacoma can stop holding their breath. For now.

At the end of 2014, the Tacoma City Council decided it would notify dispensaries that they either needed to get a state business license or close up shop by the summer, akin to how Seattle last year sent out about 330 letters to MMJ companies ordering them to do the same thing.

The problem is that no such state licenses yet exist.

This week, though, council members changed their minds and decided to wait and see if the state Legislature approves some kind of regulatory structure for MMJ dispensaries, thereby allowing the companies to obtain licenses and comply with the law.

Such a bill is currently working its way through the Legislature and passed the state Senate last week.

City officials even have a backup plan if lawmakers don’t pass an MMJ bill. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland has thrown her support behind a proposal to issue municipal business licenses to about 12 MMJ shops. That would still require dozens more to shut down, though.

Tacoma also has seven operating recreational marijuana stores, with an eighth licensed but not yet open.