I-502 threatens medical marijuana into extinction

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marijuana-plants-imageSEATTLE — Some fear the legalization of marijuana in Washington could diminish the state’s medical marijuana industry significantly.

Green Ambrosia, in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, is about to close down despite a profitable year.

The store has marijuana edibles and merchandise and a loyal patient base, but it all comes down to location. But by the end of this weekend, Green Ambrosia will stop seeing green.

When pot became legal in Washington it came with a lot of rules, specifically one that regulates how far these businesses can be from schools, churches, playgrounds and parks.

“A lot of people in the medical marijuana community were concerned ahead of time with I-502 that it was going to cause them to shut down,” said Green Ambrosia owner Dante Jones.

Jones’ shop, which sits along 15th Ave NW has no choice but to close because they are within 1,000 feet of a school.

“Even though it passes through garbage cans and a house you can never walk over, they are still saying that’s 1,000 feet, that is what counts,” Jones said.

After pressure from the feds, the Washington Liquor Control Board changed its interpretation of the 1,000 foot rule.  The distance is no longer measured by a common path of travel, instead it’s ‘as the crow flies’ and that means there are less locations up for grabs for pot retailers.

“It’s unfair to the businesses that have been operating in the full intent of the law,” Jones said.

The rule applies not just to schools and playgrounds, now libraries, parks and public transit centers are just some of the other protected areas under I-502.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said the current restrictions are too harsh.

“In the federal act they only apply the rule to schools and playgrounds they don’t apply them to parks and other areas,” Holmes said.

Holmes is hoping to lobby the liquor control board to consider tweaking the 1,000 foot definition.

“We really shouldn’t apply the ‘crows fly’ rule more than the federal statute applies it,” Holmes said.

But even if the board were to loosen the rules, Jones says the medical marijuana industry will still be in trouble.

“I would imagine 90 percent to 95 percent of medical marijuana will be shut down,” Jones said.

Jones attributes this to I-502’s regulatory system, but also believes recreational pot will diminish the demand for medicinal marijuana.

“I keep saying the baby boomers and the weekend warriors are the two groups who are really going to jump into the recreational market,” said Jones.

Holmes said the city does not know the exact number of medical marijuana stores currently in operation, but his best guess is about 230 dispensaries.

Jones is getting out of the medical marijuana industry all together. His next venture will be to consult for recreational pot growers and sellers.

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    • Suzie

      All steriotype aside..the new 502 inititave is a beaurocratic nightmare to all “actual” medical patients in WA…we have been a successfullmedical state for 15 yrs…I have been a medical patieny for 10.. NEVER got a dui..NEVER been in a law inforcement registery!..Avoided multiple potential collisions at the hands of true idiots!!! Never faced such scrutiny or threat of becoming a criminal bacause of my choice of non lethal medication!!! Suffered chronic migraine a d muscle spasms/ fibromialgia pain from 7 yrs. Old into adult life…If not for my natural, non pharmasutical altrrnative..I could be laid up ob real narcotics..drooling on myself..praying for the lord to take my pain away and to be functional! Well my prayers were already aswered…when I tried medical mj ten years ago and I felt likese a human again!!! I 502 wants to take away patients rights to self suffiincy through propogaton and their right to access cannibus in true meducal form…the kinds that actually help pain in terminally ill …such as Simpson oil, that is stoping cancer in it” s tracks!!
      The beaurocrats sad I,502 would not affect medical marijuana….bs bs…..they are trying to now ELIMINATE it all together……..You ignorant donkey loving jacks can debate on this forever..when the truth and reality surfaces…you will see…medical patients have been around..know how our particular medications affect us…and niw it will be nit medical patients; but people in general with access..all with virtually no council in the matter….imagine that….and 5 ng/ml will get u a dui…any person using true med. Grade products…that would be luke getting a DUI a week or two after having some drinks…this is a travisty to.the medical community…there is no reason to tie medical marijuana laws to the ..recreational 502 laws ..when the 502 proposal was released…befor recreational use had been legalsed ..the LCB and the legeslators said 502 would not affect medical mj………bs ba bs..This was all part of the plan to eleminate effective, non lethal med….they are trying to tie the medical laws to 502 to make them the same to make a mocary of medical marijuana! When the Lcb has yet.to be trusted with alcohol related issues!!! Worry about medical? No! We have been tried and true…try worrying about.the new generation..turning of age…knowing nothing of alcohol…MJ..nothing of the sorts…thesr are the ones able to buy bottles at all hours of the night @ your local grocery store…getting all this,new “pot”… Knowing little to nothing about it…lets just let the people get oxys and methadone…no dui laws for those…just do not drive or opperate machinery untiil you know how those potentially lethal meds. Could affect you!!! Get real…we have been a successful medical state for 15 years…..all you ignorant people need s gead on at 60 with some pill popping fool for a dose of reality!!!

    • Cmon man!

      Really!?!? what you have built? You have build a black market distribution in the name of MEDICINE. You dont follow the donation rules and make an absolute killing tax free with no tax revenue benefit to county or city. I'm pretty sure your all caps is the sound of your tax free business going bye bye. Get involved in the above board taxable business that will be retail. Oh yeah…you may have to run a streamlined organized business because you wont have your tax free profit margins anymore. C'mon man?!?

  • joanie

    I disagree. Marijuana, always has been, and always will be a recreational drug. Along with that, comes bad behavior! AND, PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO LIVE SAFELY AND SECURELY! You know dam well, that what's gonna happen, is, a lot of it irresponsible people who refuse to use it correctly.

    • The World is Ending

      People who are drunk are more of a danger than those on MJ. Alcohol has a tendency to make people violent MJ (unlaced) don't

    • Duncan20903

      ~~ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety ~~ Benjamin Franklin.

      joanie, the only reason that cannabis was removed from the American pharmacopoeia was because Harry J. Anslinger twisted the A.M.A.'s proverbial arm until they said uncle. Whole plant cannabinoid medicine had been listed in that registry since 1851. We can document medicinal use going back for 5000 years.

      It's just plain silly to try to insist away the facts. You can insist and insist that something isn't true until your face is blue but it will not make it so. If you want an opinion from a disinterested 3rd party why not ask the Israeli Ministry of Health. But I understand that you more than likely have a reckless disregard, perhaps even a genuine hatred for the truth.

  • Exit246MMJ

    If the proposed MMJ rules were adopted as written, imagine all the growers out there (estimated at 1,000-1,500 in rural Skagit and Whatcom counties alone) who have invested $10-40K in equipment, supplies and space based on a law passed in 1998 and clarified several times.

    Most stakeholders seem to think there is enough money and political support to stop this new form of prohibition, "MMJ is ours now, little buddy, so get out of town by sunset!" They just did this in Canada – banned all private growing. Even Colorado didn't try to kill all MMJ; CO allows unlicensed growing of 3 flowering plants at a time and noncommercial sales up to 1 oz. Better than nothing. (http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/05/21-legal-marijuana-colorado-washington).

    The toothpaste is out of the tube and I really don't think Washingtonians will allow it to be crammed back to black market. Do you?

  • lisbethGyrl

    if you have a medical card; you can still grow. If you don't, you can't grow…. I prefer to have my own grow. NOW, this being said, the med disp, yes they are hindered, but the medical arena is going strong.

    I see it like this. when your plants are growing, buy commercially. when your plants are harvested….go get a ton of cheetos!!

    Washington, chill out bitches; Oregon is too stupid to make it legal. You're the adults in this shit, RECOGNIZE!!!

    ~Lisbeth in stumptown

  • patmonk

    DECRIMINALISE…A plant can't be "illegal".
    SLUG. Support Local Unregistered Growers.
    The link below is an example of what we have to look forward as a result of 'legislation' that the cannabis pimps and profiteers, corporate pharma, politicians and their lawyers colluded on passing. Note that the stated aim is not to ensure patient/consumer access to safe effective medication, it is to make sure nothing gets diverted to the 'black market' which would deprive them of their cut. http://www.leafscience.com/2013/11/07/washingtons
    Patrick Monk. RN Hospice Case Manager. SF. Ca.
    Society of Cannabis Clinicians

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  • Sam Sneed

    Well, the bad news is that this whole "medical marijuana" thing would've never happened if a few gov politicians didn't make it illegal for personal and political gains. CANNABIS (as it's pronounced, which is it's real name), has always been used to treat medical conditions and also used recreational. Now, can everyone say THANK YOU to the politicians for screwing us all.

  • me

    Within the next few days, the numbers will write their own story and our taste buds will tell. This way, you won’t hurt the giver’s feelings and you will eliminate your temptation.

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