Warning: I feel a rambling rant coming.
Medicinal cannabis dispensaries are not legal in Washington State, yet they exist. There are persons that claim certain parts of the law are vague and or ambiguous and operate their business’ under that premise. There are cities and counties in Washington that appear to agree. And then there are those that don’t.
The city of Tacoma had issued business licenses to eight such outfits. According to the city’s tax and license manager there had been odor and traffic complaints about some of them. The city, upon advice from their attorney, sent cease and desist letters to all eight.
The proverbial shit hit the fan with the local medicinal cannabis population. The city council had a meeting last Tuesday. At that meeting the council recommended the businesses appeal the cease and desist orders and the city would wait until the legislature clarifies the law before they took any action, if at all.
I believe the city played that nicely.
They are off the hook for the dispensaries. They’ve put the turd in the law maker’s pocket. This doesn’t mean that other law enforcement agencies won’t kick in the store’s doors but, that won’t be Tacoma’s problem. At this point they are hands off.
That vague portion of the law? Well, here’s the whole revised code if you would care to look: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=69.51A
If not I’ll quote you that portion; “Designated provider” means a person who:(d) Is the designated provider to only one patient at any one time.”
So how many patients can a provider have, oh, say, in one day… one at a time? That’s the portion of the law one owner operator refered to when he said, “I knew at some point this would be a huge political fight The Legislature wrote a bad law. I’m a creative guy, and I drove a truck through it. But I haven’t broken the law.”
What a macaroon.
For me, the intent of the law is blatantly clear. A provision had been made for someone too sick to grow their own to have another person do so for them. It was a compassionate effort. I have no doubt it was not drafted to open up a new market plan. That doesn’t mean I agree with the law. It just means that as far as the law goes I think these people are operating illegally.
That’s too bad. You see, that whole designated provider thing hasn’t quite worked out as it was planned. I suppose it was kind of figured that if Aunt Gerty couldn’t garden any longer then maybe cousin Timmy would help her out. Well, Timmy doesn’t want to run across town every day and he lives in an apartment… It just hasn’t really worked out well. There are a lot of patients with doctor’s recommendations that haven’t any resources to acquire cannabis.
Yes, I think cannabis dispensaries have a place. There are issues though. The biggest, in my opinion, is the pricing. Cannabis at a dispensary costs as much, if not more than, cannabis on the black-market. I haven’t bought any for years but I think that runs anywhere from $200.00 to $350.00 an ounce. I know (for a fact) that the overhead to produce an ounce is $10.00 to $15.00. But this too, gets all smudged in practice.
For starters, a lot of the folks using cannabis for ailments are disabled and on a real tight budget. On one hand the pricing is currently exorbitant but on the other, if an ounce could be had for 100 bones and then turned on the street, well, it could mean the difference between a tuna sandwich for dinner and a salmon steak. I suppose I might not have any business even mentioning that aspect. People make their own decisions. It’s not my place…
The other is gouging by the business owners. Oh, I know the wages need be paid. The inventory secured. There’s all of the rest of the overhead. I don’t begrudge a person making a decent living. The pharmacist at your local market is there to make a wage and have a few bones put away for a comfortable retirement. There damn sure aint nothin’ wrong with that. We’d all like that, wouldn’t we?
So where’s the line. Where between that $15 and $350. And what the hell does all of this mean to Aunt Gerty?
I do know this, if we would just quit screwing around and pull cannabis from a scheduled substance I would have 2\3 less to write about. You and I both know that would be a good thing.