As Washington’s state legislature appears poised to legalize and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, cities in the Seattle region are not waiting for state action, says the Seattle Times. At least four have moved to shut down a combined 35 dispensaries since February. Three other cities have passed or debated outright moratoriums on dispensaries. Those actions aim to rein in an uncontrolled boom — a “green rush” — in medical-marijuana dispensaries. Dozens of dispensaries have emerged from the shadows since early 2010 to apply for business licenses and insurance and to form lobbying groups.
The crackdown is driven in part by a little-noticed memo from a municipal-insurance risk pool, which emphatically stated that dispensaries are illegal and not entitled to business licenses. It is not a universal opinion. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg in Seattle believes dispensaries are legal and necessary to help patients. He pointed to charges his office filed yesterday against three people for an armed takeover-style robbery at a dispensary last Saturday as evidence that dispensaries need regulation, including security requirements.