Exit133 is about Tacoma
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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