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Lawmakers move to merge medical and recreational marijuana

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OLYMPIA — Lawmakers in Olympia tackled the controversial problem of merging the state’s two pot markets — the new retail stores and the existing medical marijuana dispensaries.

Right now, dispensaries don’t have to follow any of the rules of the retail stores, and many argue they are undercutting the emerging legal market and putting it in jeopardy.

“Anyone that is selling marijuana that doesn’t have a license is violating the underlying law, which is a felony every time that you do it,” said state Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has even weighed in.  The Department of Justice says state lawmakers must reign in the unregulated medical pot stores, or the feds will come in and shut down everything.

While medical pot was approved by voters several years ago, it was never meant to allow the sale of pot in storefronts across the state.  And that is becoming a big problem as more and more state-licensed stores open.

“There is a provision to grow marijuana or share marijuana at no cost to someone else who has a qualifying medical condition,” said Hurst, “but there never was a provision to sell marijuana.”

The plan being debated in Olympia would create a new category of medical marijuana stores that would be licensed similar to the existing stores, but that could only sell to qualified patients.  They would have to meet the same standards as the new pot stores, including background checks for owners and quality control.

Some patients, who like their dispensaries, are worried about what will happen if the state intervenes.

“Anyone that says that we’re coming down hard on medical pot is nonsense,” said Hurst.  “Our objective is to license medical pot stores so that people can get it, but they are going to get a safe product, not like what they are getting today.”

Most believe this bill, or some version similar to it, will pass.

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11 comments

  • Think about it i dare you

    Medical wants nothing to do with rec dont touch our stuff we wont touch yours why not fallow Colorado’s ways

  • B Real

    The prices because of 3x taxation on recreational stores will kill the medical availability, and I don’t see any reason to go into a rec store in the first place… not with the availability of the black market and the price competition. To say “they are going to get a safe product, not like what they are getting today” is laughable… exactly HOW is the product not “safe”? I’d really like to see the results of that study… tho I’d have to assume its someone blowing smoke out of their ass.

    • Kyle Smith

      Well as a former Dispensary owner and current patient there’s a ton wrong with the medical market. Bugs, microbial s, meds not flushed correctly and not to mention there not paying any taxes but some still charge it and getting 1800 a LB is almost unheard of and they still sell it for 10 to 15 a gram, common. This isn’t the cartel I think and I pray they will regulate the medical side and get the proper meds and testing on the meds as needed…. You people that disagree fine but no one should have a license to print money not pay taxes and screw patients; cause that’s what’s happening.

  • Jay

    I’ve been a patient for years and i only go to one dispensary right down the street from my house and they have never screwed me and if i didn’t like what i got after trying some they allow me to bring it back and get something else they want whats best for the patients and they test there stuff they don’t screw anyone I will always support my local med shop and they treat us like family where i go they always are so considerate and believe they are truly helping people which they are and they will honestly tell you what the best thing on the menu is for your needs.

    • Kyle Smith

      That’s a load of CRAP go look up Analytical 360 they do testing for all 9 THC’S and CBD’S plus a lot of things like foreign materials microbial’s etc. to say they Medical dispensary meds all are higher in CBD’S is not true and look it up then comment. Like I said used to be a part owner and have all my grown meds tested now at Analytical 360… If your dispensary does then there ahead of the curve but how many don’t; plus it needs to be taxed and regulated by someone other than just anybody with the availability to open a store…

  • Glen

    Another idiot law created by idiots!! Rec., and medical need to stay completely separate. Like someone mentioned below, do it how they do in Co.

    • Kyle

      Glen if you really believe that than your not for QUALITY medicine your not for paying taxes your for promoting the BLACK MARKET and the wrong message; you know nothing of the MEDICAL MARIJUANA business and you should learn before you quote.

  • Cheryl

    Newsflash for these dummies that only care about revenue. We are aware. Make no mistake about that. There is nothing wrong with the dispensary product at all. Plus the staff helps with figuring out what is best for your health issue. A lot of them are hurting too so can relate. The lotions are very good and help my bad arthritis. I do not feel comfortable at all going into a retail store. As a legit patient I resent this highly and will remember come voting time the names.