Why is Washington Trying to Kill its Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?

February 20, 2014   ·   0 Comments

The Taxman…yes, the Tax, man. Washington’s entire assault on medical marijuana dispensaries can be completely summed up by the first track on The Beatles’ Revolver.

The Beatles’ tax man was Harold Wilson, and the issue at play in George Harrison’s world was a labor issue–since The Beatles made a ton of money (thanks to their labor!), they had to pay almost all of this money back to the government in taxes.

Washington’s taxman comes in the form of the state’s Liquor Control Board–the party responsible for drafting the state’s recreational weed laws–and they’re getting perilously close to completely banning medical marijuana dispensaries in the state of Washington.

Earlier this week, Washington’s house voted 67 to 29 in favor of wiping out the state’s collective gardens (House Bill 2149) by May of 2015 (when all sales must be made at recreational facilities). While the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to stay open for another year, the bill–if it passes the Senate–would effectively end the existence of medical marijuana dispensaries.

The plain and simple goal: maximize the state’s revenue through their (very high) marijuana tax. While medical marijuana patients still wouldn’t have to pay a tax on their weed, this bill’s impact would be felt in a variety of ways by Washington’s patients:

1) No More Compassion: Medical marijuana clinics are typically a labor of love–they actually care about their patients, and have medical insights. While some of the recreational centers may be run by former medical marijuana clinics, it certainly won’t feel the same for patients. A 65 year old grandma suffering from chronic ailments doesn’t want to buy medicine next to a 21 year old just looking to get as high as possible. Medical and recreational smokers are a totally different breed–forcing them to coexist would be a major blunder and an affront on patient rights.

2) Higher Prices: As we’ve noted in the past, the price of recreational pot is ludicrous (already so in Colorado). When demand increases, supply decreases, and the price of pot hikes up. Even on the medical side

3) Limited Home Growing: Patients will go from being able to grow 15 plants to 6 plants (and only three flowering). This, in turn, will force them to buy weed from dispensaries…or go to the black market…or just keep growing what they want to grow.

4) Less Possession: Patients will go from being able to legally possess 24 ounces to 3. That’s just insanity.

5) All About the Benjamins: It’s as simple as that. Like Colorado, Washington wants these tax dollars. And badly. That’s natural, and cannabis will inevitably be taxed nationally–but killing patients’ experience in the process is immoral.

Oy. Vey. Washington’s slow implementation of I-502 has been scary to watch, and it looks like the mess is far from being sorted. Ironically, the state’s Democrats are the ones behind this bill, not Republicans. Which…huh?

Hopefully, Washington’s Senate gets it right and adjusts or nullifies this bill when they convene in mid-March. If not, Seattle may be ablaze with some protests and riots by summer time.


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