Recently on The Daily Weekly we noted Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's appearance at a fancy gathering organized by the National Cannabis Industry Association - which was appropriately held in Seattle. In his remarks to the pot entrepreneurs gathered, McGinn lobbied for the pot businesses itching to establish roots in Seattle to adhere to the city's values, like supporting small, local businesses and being good stewards and neighbors.
While exactly where pot shops can open up will be dictated by the fairly restrictive state law, Seattle appears willing to welcome these businesses - and all the tangential businesses that will accompany them - with open arms.
But in McGinn's message one couldn't help but sense just a hint of apprehension. Sure, Seattle wants to capitalize on the marijuana business, and McGinn has gone on record many times as saying our state's previous marijuana laws were unjust. But Seattle also wants weedy business folks to play by its rules.
So what if that doesn't happen, and what then?
It's the great unknown - a question with no real answer at this point. That's likely one of the reasons McGinn is making proactive statements on the subject.
One of the areas the city does hope to have some tangible leverage, however, is in the creation of guidelines under I-502. As I-502 prescribed, Washington is currently in the midst of the rule-making process, determining exactly what our new weedy frontier will look like - including the details of licensing, how many pot outlets can operate in a county, and how much weed these outlets can have on hand.
"As I understand it, the Liquor Control Board has some latitude as they consider a variety of factors determining the number of licenses. These factors include, in part, population, security, access, and amount of marijuana on site," says Pickus, citing RCW 69.50.345. "We would like these rules to be set in a way that allows for small, local businesses to participate in this new sector of the economy."
In response to the post, a commenter representing KeepItCottage.org warned of the dangers big business poses to the burgeoning legal marijuana industry.
As commenter KeepItCottage promotes:
Mayor McGinn's comments to the National Cannabis Industry Association two weeks ago are in line with KeepItCottage.org which was started in response to the very apparent threat that big business poses to the small-business community in the emerging legal cannabis market. After attending both WSLCB I-502 public forums it is obvious that there is a passionate community of disenfranchised cannabis advocates wanting to use I-502 to best eliminate big business's competitive advantage over those who finally have an opportunity to become legal entrepreneurs. The main goal of KeepItCottage.org is to petition the WSLCB to limit the number of retail licenses any one entity can hold and to issue roughly 2000 producer licenses. These two measures should address most of the concerns related to potential monopolies, as well as those concerns about local, crafted, authentic, and fairly traded products of which Washingtonians can be proud.