Now that Governor Inslee has signed the Cannabis Patient Protection Act into law, the question is how soon will Washington’s previously unregulated medical dispensary storefronts have to stop operating.
The details of the Cannabis Patient Protection Act are discussed in my last post. The Act seeks to combine the medical and recreational marijuana industries. Among its provisions is the phasing out of collective gardens/medical dispensaries by July 1, 2016.
Despite last year’s Washington State Court of Appeals decision in Cannabis Action Coalition v. City of Kent, which held that collective gardens were not legal in Washington State, collective gardens and medical dispensaries continue to operate openly throughout the state.
Governor Inslee’s recent FAQ on the new Cannabis Patient Protection Act appears to give breathing room to existing collective gardens and dispensaries. His FAQ indicates that these medical marijuana operations will not have to cease operations until July 1, 2016.
Many recreational marijuana business owners were hoping for more immediate action in shutting down the presently unregulated medical marijuana dispensaries. Recreational marijuana businesses face significant obstacles to success as long as the medical marijuana dispensaries continue to operate without having to comply with the same strict regulations and taxation as recreational marijuana business owners.
Stay tuned for more information on legislation affecting recreational and medical marijuana as well as expansion of the I502 marijuana licensing system.
For more information on the regulation of marijuana businesses in Washington State, please contact Heather Wolf.