Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Medical marijuana businesses that have been open for years in Seattle are now, as the result of recent legislation, facing a grim choice. The state liquor and cannabis board says there are too many applications for cannabis facilities in the city, so existing businesses have been given only 14 days to decide whether to (a) move out of the city, or (b) sign a document recognizing that they may not get licenses and releasing the state from liability. Seattle's KING-TV is reporting the story:
The CPC in Georgetown has served thousands of patients since 2010. It works with hospitals, specializing in hard-to-find treatments for chronic disease, cancer, seizures and PTSD.
"We were always going to do this stuff anyways," founder Jeremy Kaufman said while pointing to new security cameras.
Kaufman is making a lot of changes to his building, adding new security cameras, constructing new walls, removing doorways, and clearing out his basement filled with cannabis plants. It's all part of applying for a new marijuana retail license, required by legislation that's combining medical and recreational pot under one regulatory system.
The original deadline gave shop owners until this summer to comply with license application requirements.
"We were supposed to have until July 1, 2016," Kaufman said. "Then this letter came out last week. It's like, 'Get licensed within 14-days or get out of Seattle. And you're just like Ok..."
Kaufman and other Seattle dispensaries got a notice from the Liquor and Cannabis Board last week. It says there are too many applicants in Seattle and not enough available licenses. It gives shop owners 14-days to choose an address outside of Seattle, or sign a form acknowledging the risk of remaining in Seattle and losing their business.
"It's beyond frustrating. It's absolutely beyoind frustrating," Maryam Mirnateghi said.
Mirnateghi's invested more than a million dollars in her new location, outfitting it with 37 security cameras, all without any guarantee. She's refusing to sign the notice, which forces dispensary owners to assume full liability.
"To ask my to sign away my rights or lose my application? That's extortion," she said.
Mayor Murray recently sent a letter to the LCB, asking for a delay on the marijuana retail store cap, writing that "it unfairly disadvantages long-time good actors".
"I've been open for 6-years," Kaufman said. "I pay taxes. I have employees who bought houses and have kids here."
Kaufman's now forced with making 6-months of business decisions in 10 days, aware the treatment that he credits with saving his life is now at risk for thousands more.
"That's it? I'm a patient. I built this place - we built this place - for people like me," he said. "I'm absolutely terrified."