Medical Marijuana Regulations a Challenge in Recreational Marijuana States

States with Recreational Marijuana Laws Find Medical Marijuana a Challenge

recreational marijuanaWashington and Colorado were the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana use, and in the recent midterm elections, Oregon and Alaska, along with Washington, DC, followed suit. However, Colorado and Washington state now find that regulating marijuana use through medical marijuana dispensaries is becoming a challenge.

In Washington state, the black market for marijuana sometimes filters through medical marijuana dispensaries due to looser regulations on the original “pot shops.” The different regulations surrounding recreational and medical marijuana have become so onerous for city lawmakers that Tacoma, Washington recently said it would shut down all of its medical marijuana dispensaries in favor of more tightly-controlled recreational dispensaries.

Recreational marijuana in both states will be used as a source of tax revenue, and sellers must have special licenses through the city and state in order to open a recreational shop. When medical marijuana legislation was passed in both of those states originally, taxes and regulations on medical marijuana were looser, and now many shops are opening to allegedly sell medical marijuana, but which actually sell to anyone.

“How can you have two parallel systems, one that’s regulated, paying taxes, playing by the rules, and the other that’s not doing any of those things?” said Rick Garza of the Washington Liquor Control Board, which oversees recreational pot.

“Am I afraid about medical marijuana dispensaries taking my business? They have all the business. They are the industry,” said James Lathrop, the owner of Seattle’s first licensed pot shop, Cannabis City.

Lathrop added that the majority of his clientele are tourists or professionals who only use occasionally, not consistent recreational users: those clients tend to get medical marijuana cards or continue to purchase on the black market, because police cannot bust them for having marijuana on their person, so it does not matter where they purchase the drug.

“I don’t want to wind up cracking down on people abusing the system in a way that negatively impacts the patients and the people who help them,” said Teri Robnett, founder of the Cannabis Patients Alliance, regarding accusations that state-level lawmakers are trying to squeeze users of their cash. Robnett added that states must find ways to improve access to recreational marijuana faster, and tighten control over the definition of medical marijuana.

If You Face Marijuana Charges, Including for Medical Marijuana Use Charges, The Strom Law Firm Can Help

Although many states have passed medical marijuana legislation, South Carolina still has not legalized the use of marijuana for recreational or medical reasons. You could be charged with drug possessionIf you or a loved one have been found with medical marijuana, you could face criminal charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony, depending on how much marijuana was on your person, and what your intent was with the drug. The drug crimes attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. Do not let drug charges for medical marijuana hurt your reputation or your future aspirations. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help. 803.252.4800

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