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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: City Attorney Advocates Single Marijuana System

1/5/2015  11:00:00 AM
Kimberly Mills  (206) 684-8602

City Attorney Pete Holmes, a prime sponsor of Initiative 502, today issued an urgent request to the upcoming Legislature and a warning to illegal profiteers of the unregulated medical marijuana system in the City of Seattle.

In his 20-page road map for state, county and municipal officials, Holmes noted that the production and distribution of marijuana without an I-502 license constitutes a felony under state and federal law, declaring that “We cannot go back, and we can no longer delay: commercial marijuana activities outside state licensing and regulation must cease.”

“Current exploitation of Washington’s medical marijuana law for commercial purposes…undermines public safety, consumer health, and the successful and consistent regulation of those who wish to engage in marijuana-related business activities. MUCA (Medical Use of Cannabis Act) must be revisited at the state level in light of I-502,” Holmes said, advocating a single blended system.

For Seattle, where out-of-bounds medical marijuana dispensaries have undercut the I-502 retailers, Holmes recommends curtailing the unlicensed, illegal marijuana commerce through coordinated civil and criminal enforcement, with a reasonable grace period for operators desiring to transition to the state regulated system.

While praising the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s “cautious and careful” implementation of I-502, Holmes:

•Says the continued tolerance of unlicensed, unregulated commercial marijuana businesses under the auspices of MUCA jeopardizes state-federal cooperation on marijuana law enforcement.

•Explains why the state should consider sharing marijuana tax revenues with local jurisdictions.

•Suggests legislation for consideration by the Seattle City Council that would license and regulate a new type of business called “marijuana use lounges.” The lounges would allow vaporizing or eating marijuana edibles by those 21 and older under certain conditions.

Marijuana Memo

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