WA gov. signs sweeping bill moving MMJ into rec program

Washington State’s medical marijuana program will officially be rolled into its recreational market after Gov. Jay Inslee late Friday signed into law a sweeping bill putting in place rules for the production and dispensing of MMJ.

Under the law (Senate Bill 5052), dispensaries and collective gardens will have to get licenses from the state – and meet a host of regulations – by July 1, 2016, or close.

The move will effectively eliminate what has become one of the biggest medical marijuana markets in the country with 475-plus dispensaries drawing $80 million to $100 million in sales last year, according to Marijuana Business Daily estimates.

Details have yet to be worked out on how many licenses will be made available, when the permitting process will begin and how the state will respond to businesses that don’t comply.

Still, it’s likely many existing dispensaries will be shut due to a lack of capital or other resources needed to meet regulatory and compliance requirements. Rec shops will now be allowed to apply for a medical endorsement to dispense MMJ.

Dispensary owners who want to continue operating will have to apply for licenses with first priority going to those who owned or worked at a collective garden prior to Jan. 1, 2013, applied for a license under the state’s I502 recreational program prior to July 1, 2014, and have paid taxes and fees on time.

Inslee said in a statement the law would ensure safe access for patients seeking MMJ, while opponents have said it will drive up prices and limit availability.

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6 comments on “WA gov. signs sweeping bill moving MMJ into rec program
  1. Seth Tyrssen on

    As I said in a comment on an earlier article, Washington will succeed in shooting itself in the foot with an overdose of rules, regulations, and fees. This can only drive the market back underground. My friends, start treating this as a FREEDOM OF RELIGION issue! As you know, the Sacred Herb has had religious uses since very ancient times, and many of us approach it from that angle, today. It makes the opposition stop dead in their tracks and reconsider their approach. Witness the success of Indiana’s “First Church of Cannabis,” which made history virtually overnight. Here in Georgia, we’re just now getting the Temple of Ankh’n’Abis/Church of the Sacred Herb off the ground, and our comments to state government were part of what achieved an MMJ law in Georgia. It’s pretty lame and weak, but it’s a first step.

  2. jeremy on

    Don’t worry, leave it in anybodies hands and whatever they do the supply will remain the same and the people will triumph, such is the nature of the subject at hand. J

  3. Reg Istry? on

    After the last nauseating x-rays of my spine(degenerative bone and disc disease in neck and lower back)my Doctor was delighted to be able to offer me a variety of opiates for my chronic pain. Instead I sought out a naturopathic doctor for some safer alternative…So I became an MMJ patient and now manage my pain with 400-500mg daily of an indica/sativa blend (min 14%+THC and min .05%CBD) taken 4 times in 100-125mg doses. It works better than any opiate I know of, and it won’t kill me. And I have to thank the dedicated Dispensary folks at many different locations for the info and variety of MMJ products that helped me get to this point after 20 years of living with a 6 out of 10 on the pain scale from the moment I awoke–every day.
    And now I’m supposed to put my name on a registry and hobble past the ‘Party People’ for a more limited variety of higher priced meds in what is essentially a liquor store? Help!

  4. Seth Tyrssen on

    Sandra: your concerns are well justified. Every time we’ve had a piddly little “cost of living increase” in the disability benefits, they subtract that amount from the food stamps. Disability and food stamps are my total income; food stamps have been whittled down from almost $200 per month, which one person can certainly live on, to barely $100, which is damn difficult. Don’t let your legislators pull this particular “fast one!” To the Reg Istry? comment above: I’m in pretty much the exact same position. But I’ve been able to throw away a medicine cabinet full of pain meds, and other stuff, by using Sacred Herb (illegal, here in Georgia) and various natural energy-work techniques such as simple yoga (I’m 64 and can’t twist up like a pretzel,) qi gong as taught by Lee Holden, chakra work as taught by Carol Tuttle, and more. All this weird esoteric stuff WORKS. Check out Mind Valley Institute, which has gathered a lot of wonderful teachers (and teachings) under one roof. Sure, everyone has a “program” to sell, but the amount of freebies each one offers can be invaluable. Sure was, in my case.

  5. calicorock on

    Washington should have let Amazon or Starbucks develop it’s recreational marijuana law. Perhaps we’d not have to standby and watch helplessly as Washington’s legislator’s and Governor picked our medical marijuana law out of existence like a piece of fried chicken.

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