Seattle Mayor Signs Medical Marijuana Dispensary Law

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Photo: Elaine Thompson
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn: “We hope that if we can demonstrate, here in Seattle, a more sane approach to how we can work with this, that we can continue to move towards a transition on how we regulate and oversee the use of marijuana in an intelligent way rather than the irrational way that the prohibition era has given us.”

​Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn scheduled a Wednesday signing ceremony with City Attorney Pete Holmes, state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles and other officials to sign a bill regulating medical marijuana like any other business.

Marijuana prohibition “denies an appropriate medication” to patients who need it, Mayor McGinn said at the ceremony. “Prohibition does not work.”
“We are taking the approach that what we need to do is honor the wishes of the City of Seattle and honor the wishes of the voters of Washington when it comes to medical marijuana, and appropriately regulate its use,” Mayor McGinn said.

“I wish I could say that the actions we’ve taken today will provide complete clarity to the public, to law enforcement personnel, and to medical marijuana patients,” McGinn said. “It does not. We are in a time of transition, and the laws, because of the conflict between federal law and state law, it creates an interesting situation.

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Photo: Don Skakie
At the signing ceremony from left, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Seattle City Council member Nick Licata (who sponsored the dispensary ordinance), Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, medical marijuana patient/activist Ric Smith, and medical marijuana patient/activist Dale Rogers.

​”But we are doing our best here in the City of Seattle to provide the greatest possible direction and clarity to the public, to medical marijuana users, and to our enforcement officers in the police department as well as the city agencies, on what’s the appropriate way to move forward,” the mayor said.
“We hope that if we can demonstrate, here in Seattle, a more sane approach to how we can work with this, that we can continue to move towards a transition on how we regulate and oversee the use of marijuana in an intelligent way rather than an irrational way that the prohibition era has given us,” McGinn said.
The bill, passed on July 18 by the city council, requires that dispensaries be licensed, obtain food-handling permits if they sell cannabis edibles, and follow all other regulations such as land use codes, reports The Associated Press.
“This makes me glad I voted for McGinn,” commented “geographer 22,” one Seattle Times reader. “I don’t agree with him on everything but this is the right thing to do … Good job, Seattle; way to stand up to this pointless drug war.”
Another commenter, “recon33halo,” was more concise. “At least someone has the balls to follow the will of the people!” he offered.
The tolerant approach contrasts with several other cities in Washington, which have imposed moratoriums on dispensaries and the patient collective gardens allowed by the remnants of SB 5073 which survived a line-item veto gutting by Governor Christine Gregoire.
Medical marijuana regulations in Washington have been uncertain since Gregoire hen-heartedly vetoed much of that bill, which would have allowed and regulated dispensaries in the state. She left in sections allowing collective gardens of up to 45 plants by up to 10 patients.

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