A Washington state work group will release recommendations for how to regulate Washington's medical marijuana industry. Some Oregon county officials are moving to ban the dispensaries entirely based on federal laws.
The recommendations coming in Washington Monday could include reductions in how much pot patients can have, an end to the collective gardens that have supplied the sick and the not-so-sick for the past 15 years, stricter requirements for obtaining medical marijuana authorizations and taxes on medical pot.
Voters in Washington and Colorado last fall legalized marijuana for recreational use, and the states are preparing to allow its sale at licensed stores. In Colorado, medical marijuana is already regulated and subject to sales tax.
But in Washington, lawmakers and state officials are concerned licensed pot stores won't be able to compete with medical dispensaries selling unregulated, untaxed marijuana — thus cutting into the amount of tax revenue Washington makes from the sale of recreational pot. Meanwhile, Oregon officials are only months away from accepting applications for the state's first medical marijuana dispensaries, but local leaders who want to keep pot shops out of their communities are clearing the ground for a fight.
In Medford, the city council made a rule change to say that business licenses could be revoked for any violation of the law, including the federal prohibition of pot.
And in Myrtle Creek, the town's police chief and mayor both say they oppose dispensaries within city limits.
But marijuana advocates say such plans fly in the face of a newly enacted state law intended to give patients a safe and reliable place to get medical pot.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previously stated that federal rules forbid marijuana dispensaries.