Last July saw Washington State’s first recreational marijuana shops open, marking the climax of intense lobbying that began with voters approving medical marijuana in a 1998 ballot. Patients were only required to have a doctor’s prescription in order to be issued with the drug. This coupled with a relaxed regulatory framework-the state doesn’t keep patient records or issue patient ID cards-ensured that the medical marijuana industry took off rapidly.
The voters also approved a ballot initiative in 2012 that legalized the sale of recreational marijuana, paving the way for users to get high without doctor’s prescription. The Washington State Liquor Control Board is in charge of crafting a licensing and tax framework for marijuana processors, growers and retailers. The board is also in-charge of overseeing testing and labeling of packages.
However, this has seen recreational marijuana cost around 50 percent costlier than medical marijuana.
“Those are all extra costs that are incurred under the law that medicinal pot doesn’t have,” Lynsee Swisher, director of Nine Point Growth Industries, told reporters.
However, the new marijuana retailers have enlisted the services of lobbyists in order to convince state legislators based in Olympia to craft a regulatory regime for medical marijuana. They insist that medical marijuana should be subject to similar safety checks as recreational marijuana. This would mean only true patients will purchase the costlier retail product.
Though the Washington state has no data on the exact number of medical marijuana dispensaries, they are more than the 334 recreational pot shops that are allowed to operate. Seattle alone has approximately 300 dispensaries, though a mere 21 retail licenses were given licenses. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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