Local marijuana shops could close as deadline approaches

With a deadline looming for the merging of Washington’s recreational and medical marijuana markets, cities around the state are warning unlicensed pot dispensaries to close up shop.

July 1 marks the date when, after nearly two decades of confusion about the status of medical marijuana, the industry becomes regulated for the first time. Hundreds of pot shop workers are being certified as medical marijuana consultants, the Department of Health is preparing a voluntary registry of patients, and the Liquor and Cannabis Board has been granting endorsements enabling recreational marijuana stores to sell for medical use.

As part of the transition, unlicensed dispensaries that proliferated in the past decade need to shut down, as do the large-scale growing cooperatives that supplied them. The idea is to eliminate competition with Washington’s pioneering legal marijuana law.

It’s unclear how many unlicensed dispensaries remain open statewide.

Photo by James Aaron Dillon 

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