Seattle Mayor Wants to Close Many Dispensaries

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Politics is still the big white rhino in the room as far as marijuana is concerned. More than a year since the establishment of one of the first recreational marijuana use laws in the United States, along with Colorado, Washington has almost 100 cannabis dispensaries in the city.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants to shut the doors to more than a dozen of the city's pot dispensaries, according to sources. The mayor and city argue that many of these shops are operating without a license.

Murray made his announcement Tuesday and said a new business license will be required to operate a dispensary within city limits. Taxi cabs and other businesses are already required special permits to operate in the city. The new requirement will kick in by July 2016.

The state of Washington has a new medical marijuana law as well. The city move will mimic that law somewhat, giving priority to dispensaries that were operating before January 1, 2013. The city estimates that more than half of the dispensaries now in operation are doing so without a city business or other license or permits.

The mayor also plans to crack down harder on those dispensaries and businesses that are not closely following the rules and laws of the state and city, according to another report.

The new state law brings the state's liquor board into the fold in dealing with marijuana businesses. The Liquor Control Board will assess the viability of each dispensary. Many of the state's already operating dispensaries want to be licensed. Those in good standing can still operate until the LCB makes license determinations in 2016.

The Finance and Administration Services branch of Seattle's government is the department that will revoke any licenses deemed necessary for such a determination. The city will prioritize law enforcement of those shops that sell to kids or break other pot laws.

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