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Seattle City Council Okays Regulation of Medical Pot Dispensaries

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The city council of Seattle has passed a new law that sets up a framework for the regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, via a unanimous decision passed on Monday.

A report on SeattlePi.com quoted City Councilwoman Sally Clark, who gave the following statement before the vote: “How did we get here? The upshot is, (dispensaries are) here and we should regulate them.” The ordinance was sponsored by Councilman Nick Licata.

The new law mandates that medical marijuana dispensaries should secure a business license, pay taxes and fees, and adhere to city land use codes. The dispensaries are also not allowed to openly display cannabis, or condone open pot use. In addition, they will be subject to the provisions as stipulated in the “Chronic Nuisance Property Law” of the city of Seattle, which would mean fines or possible closure should there be repeated complaints about activity in the establishments.

The passage of the ordinance, however, may become a catalyst for a confrontation between the federal government and the city, as federal law still considers the use and sales of marijuana – regardless of the purpose – as illegal. The report mentioned that the Seattle city council has already been warned that the ordinance may not fly in state court, as the city cannot regulate what is essentially considered as an illegal business.

“At the end of the day it’s patients that are going to be left out in the cold and pushed on the market if municipalities don’t start dealing with this,” said Phillip Dawdy, who is an advocate for revisions to marijuana laws. He is among those who spoke in support of the ordinance.

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