Tacoma Aims to Shutter Medical Cannabis Businesses

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Tacoma, Washington, is looking to shut down dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana businesses currently operating in the city.

Officials plan to send warning letters to MMJ dispensaries and related businesses early next year, telling them to cease operations by summer, according to the News Tribune. At least 56 unlicensed cannabis businesses are currently operating in Tacoma, local officials said.

Washington State never crafted rules on the medical marijuana industry, so there’s no regulatory structure or oversight on MMJ businesses. Tacoma officials said this is undercutting companies that have obtained licenses under the state’s new recreational marijuana law.

“I did not respect the business model that was used in the early days,” said Councilwoman Lauren Walker, who has supported legal access to medical marijuana, according to the News Tribune. “I am a believer of the business model we have now.”

Five recreational shops have received state licenses and opened in Tacoma this year.

Given four options, the city council chose the strongest approach, hoping this course of action slams the door on illegal dispensaries. The city will hire staff necessary to enforce the new directive.

Tacoma’s move is a change from the city council’s directive two years ago, which put shutting down illegal dispensaries low on the list of priorities.