WASHINGTON: Lawmakers are replanting Initiative 502 before it’s had a year to establish roots. Some of this cultivation is warranted, some is premature.
The House and Senate are working on ways to harmonize the unregulated medical marijuana market with the regulated recreational one. Voters legalized medical marijuana in 1998, but the Legislature has failed to establish a regulatory framework for distribution and sales. This has caused headaches for municipalities ever since. Spokane Valley, for instance, has declared a moratorium on new medical marijuana busineses as it awaits state action.
Both chambers wisely passed bills that fold medical marijuana into the regulatory structure for recreational pot created by the Liquor Control Board. The bills create a voluntary registry for authorized patients who would be able to purchase greater quantities and gain access to tax exemptions.