But as they say, the devil is in the details. And now that two years have passed, it's looking like medical marijuana dispensaries are starting to get the short end of the stick.
Last month, the city of Seattle sent out letters to more than 300 businesses who sold pot for medicinal purposes. The letters warned the dispensaries, processers, and growers that if they were not licensed by the state by July of 2015, they would be shut down. Here's the problem: Washington does not issue licenses for medical marijuana businesses - only those who deal with recreational pot.
State lawmakers have considered bills which would have provided state oversight to these medical marijuana businesses, but none were passed. So why did the city take this baffling step to send out warning letters to business who have been around much longer than those in the recreational marijuana industry?
The best answer lies with the way I-502 has been rolled out. Marijuana advocates know all about the supply shortages, regulation delays, and licensing lags that have plagued the implementation. As a result, many pot aficionados have opted not to mess with the cumbersome process of buying recreational pot - and instead have turned to loosely-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries to fulfill their needs. Sales numbers at medical marijuana dispensaries have borne this out.
Perhaps these problems represent minor growing pains in Washington's development of a recreational pot industry. But with the emergence of these scary letters, medical marijuana dispensaries may be in danger of closing their doors next summer if no legislative action is taken. And that would be severely damaging to patients who rely on medical pot to lessen their pain or treat the symptoms of their diseases.