“It’s Really A Bummer”: Mayor Orders Pot Dispensaries To Close


Photo: BG Organics

​The negative effects continue to mutiply after Washington Governor Christine Gregoire’s gutting of a bill that would have legalized dispensaries in the state.

Kent, Washington Mayor Suzette Cook said she is in favor of medical marijuana. In a statement issued on Tuesday, she said she supported the state’s medical marijuana law when it was approved by voters in 1998, and that she “sympathizes” with cancer patients and others who rely on cannabis for medicinal purposes. But following Gov. Gregoire’s gutting of SB 5073, which would have allowed dispensaries, Cooke and her administration felt they had no choice but to tell the four dispensaries in town to close their doors.

Photo: City of Kent
Kent Mayor Suzette Cook

​It’s now very clear that dispensaries are prohibited under state law,” said Mayor Cooke’s spokeswoman Michelle Witham, reports Keegan Hamilton at the Seattle Weekly. “[The mayor] does not believe that you can knowingly allow illegal activity in the city. That would be like allowing prostitution even though you know it’s illegal. It’s as simple as that.”
In a Wednesday interview, Witham said the mayor tracked Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles’s medical marijuana bill through the Legislature. The mayor warned dispensary owners months ago that if the final version did not specifically authorize dispensaries, they would be out of business. After the mayor’s announcement yesterday, dozens of pro-pot protestors descended on Kent City Hall.
“It’s really a bummer,” Witham said. “We had a lot of folks here expressing their concern last night. It’s a tough one. Clearly there are folks that do benefit from medical marijuana, and the state has really left those folks in a bad position.”
“They need to resolve this once and for all, in a way that makes it safe for those that need it and allows business to operate legally,” Witham said.
Gregore, in line-item vetoing almost all of SB 5073, left a piecemeal package under which dispensaries seem to be banned but patients are still permitted to grow their own supply or designate a provider.
Meanwhile, Kent prosecutor Tammi Perdue claimed the suburb’s registered growers and patients have nothing to fear.