Earlier this month Seattle Weekly's Nina Shapiro posted to The Daily Weekly about three more medical marijuana dispensaries that recently received letters from the DEA ordering them to shut down or risk punishment. It's the continuation of a federal vs. state showdown that's been brewing over medical marijuana in Washington for some time.
The most recent letters were the exact same as the previous ones, according to Underwood. They notified the dispensaries that they had run afoul not only of the federal prohibition on marijuana but of laws that stipulate increased penalties for drug dealing within 1,000 feet of schools or other facilities catering to kids.
One dispensary that got a letter is Hypeherbally Holistic Health in Lynnwood. "We're going to comply within the 30 days," owner Justin Ruiz tells SW, but he's not closing the doors quite yet. "Our first concern is the patients," he says. "We need to tell everybody first."
John Davis, chair of the Coalition for Cannabis Standards & Ethics, a year-old trade group that is trying to promote standards in the medical marijuana industry, says he talked to the owner of another dispensary that got a letter last week: Seattle's Greenwood Alternative Medicine.
It is listed as closed on the online dispensary directory Weedmaps.com, and a message left on the facility's voice mail yesterday has not been returned.
Davis says he's having a hard time figuring out the "intent" of the letters. He is dubious that the DEA targeted the 29 dispensaries solely because of the 1,000-foot rule since, according to his calculation, other dispensaries are much closer to schools.
Like many, the DEA's actions inspired skepticism from Daily Weekly commenter chromiuml.
"We want to keep this a family-oriented area and having it so close to that park is just asking for trouble," he said. "You just don't know what will happen."
I'm curious--be creative, give me some examples of what 'could' happen if a dispensary for medical patients is in a family-oriented area? Are we thinking that someone will go in the dispensary with a legal authorization, buy pot, and then walk over to the park and sell their expensive medicine to kids there? Get real! I bet those kids already have easy access to pot while at school.
Do you think perhaps a young teen will accidentally (or purposely) walk into the dispensary on his way home from the park and get service?
I'm not claiming that pot isn't bad for kids. I'm just curious why it is that we trust bars in family neighborhoods if we are so concerned about our children's well-being?