City Moves Forward to Close (Most?) Unlicensed Marijuana Shops

For some time now the City of Tacoma has been delaying what was probaby the inevitable: the closing of the plethora of largely unregulated pot shops that have proliferated around town in recent years.

More than 60 unlicensed marijuana shops will receive letters from the City telling them they have 45 days to close their doors. Most of them will stay closed permanently. Mayor Strickland indicated at a city council study session on Tuesday that her preference is for the total number of locations where you can buy pot in Tacoma to be much lower than it currently is - maybe closer to a total of 20 stores, counting both recreational and medical shops.

This comes on the heels of decisions made (finally) at the state level, directing the Washington Liquor Control Board (now the Liquor and Cannabis Board) to take charge of medical marijuana sales and facilities, as it does for the state's recreational pot establishments. The LCB will be in charge of figuring out which establishments in Washington get the state okay to grow and/or sell marijuana aimed at medical users. Those decisions are supposed to be made by July 2016. The criteria established in that process will guide the City of Tacoma as it determines which establishments will be allowed to remain open, and which will be shuttered for good.

At this point it sounds like stores that opened before 2013, maintained current business licenses since July 2014, and have kept up on their fees and taxes will have an advantage - they may be allowed to remain open at least until the LCB makes its final decision. Store owners could get an additional leg up on the competition if they are unionized - the mayor has expressed a preference for union shops. (Yes, in case you missed it, the local United Food and Commercial Workers union has unionized several shops in Tacoma, asking them to implement standards for their operations.)

After 45 days the City will start telling shops to close immediately, giving business owners three days to appeal that closure. With that timeline, we would expect to see a significant number of closures before Thanksgiving.

What's still up in the air is how many will actually close, and the full list of criteria for which will ultimately win the right for official state licenses to sell medical marijuana. What other criteria would you like to see considered before the state hands out licenses?

Read more from The News Tribune.

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Tacoma Lifer

Ridiculous that Mayor Strickland decides what is and isn’t in demand.

Also, if the pot shops didn’t have a business license and haven’t paid taxes in years, why the hell are they still there!!!

These moves by the city to “crackdown” are asinine and incompetent every way you cut it. 

August 13, 2015 at 11:17 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

Don’t worry here are many of the non-union places to get some legal and lethal drugs in Tacoma…many of them are open 24hrs a day…with a drive thru!


August 15, 2015 at 8:58 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

The timing is perfect for those wanting more regulation resulting in new avenues for prosecution. Believe it or not there is a fairly functional system existent within present control regimes. But imagine how shutting down the primary avenue for patients to get their non-state grown medicine - at the height of the growing season - will put pounds of medical grade cannabis on the street and market outside of any control mechanism.

August 17, 2015 at 8:05 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Will King Strickland declare there are too many churches in Tacoma? With un-unionized pastors?

Too many grocery stores?  Too many bars, car repairs shops?

Was Adam Smith referring to King Strickland when he talked about the invisible hand and the free market deciding how many stores there should be?

August 13, 2015 at 2:46 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

The lack of vision and leadership by this Mayor to protect and acknowledge the rights of the ill and create an environment of health and prosperity will be one thing history remembers about her tenure. Rather than find a fair way to keep 60 new business working and contributing we will strangle the emerging market and resource.

Why not take the apparent need coupled with a cooperative diverse patient population and leverage the “Medical Mile” community to study the effects of cannabis as a medicine? There are many disabled veterans that have stopped needing bags of expensive tax-payer provided pills because a simple plant alleviates their nightmares, constant pain, and constant vigilance.

These folks would be my first choice for a manageable, screenable, and positive control group. More than consumers these citizens would be responsible for the entire lifespan of the project from growth of the medicine to participation and demonstration of the results. This whole person solution would be a model.

Not in Tacoma - only more regulations to kill more jobs, shutter small business, crush collective cooperation, and minimize the needs of the ill.

But we should make a list of her other vision failures:  Civil Liberties, Infrastructure Maint, and Treatment of Detained Human Beings.


August 15, 2015 at 10:03 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I don’t know the exact numbers but a large majority of pot shops never bothered with a business license or any State or City taxes. The City is willing to work with any shop that’s willing to fallow the new State regulations.

August 13, 2015 at 4:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Here is the latest review article about the use and efficacy of medical marijuana.  Out of 79 recent studies, there are none with high quality evidence. marijuana benefits

If you would like to review medical studies and discussions about any therapy, Google “pub med” and it will bring you to a website with a search engine where you can investigate practically anything medical - a site that Docs, Pharmacists, and healthcare professionals use.

August 14, 2015 at 8:10 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

Each day, 44 people in the United States die from overdose of prescription painkillers provided by Doctors, Pharmacists, healthcare professionals or stolen from friends and family.

Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates. Further investigation is required to determine how medical cannabis laws may interact with policies aimed at preventing opioid analgesic overdose.

Since comprehensive research about cannabis is illegal under U.S. law (cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug), an article based on foreign studies and often funded by foreign pharmaceutical companies is not conclusive.

August 15, 2015 at 7:05 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Cure-alls cure nothing. The list of ailments that pot supposedly cures or treats is longer than my arm. It’s pure snake oil.

Medical marijuana was a band-aid. Not for actual medical problems, but for our country’s broken drug laws. Now we have recreational pot, so go have your fun. Stop with your disingenuous “medicine” BS.

August 25, 2015 at 3:30 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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