Recreational, Medical Marijuana Businesses At Odds Over Law

WASHINGTON:  After investing months of work and tens of thousands of dollars in their Tacoma business, Tyler Severy and his partners last spring won a state license to grow, process and package marijuana — seemingly something akin to a golden ticket.

But Severy says Torch NW, formerly Commencement Bay Production and Processing, is limping from payday to payday because it’s sitting on bud that stores can’t sell.

Hundreds of shops around the state — an estimated 250 to 350 in King County alone — sell marijuana intended for medicinal use. They vastly outnumber the more than 60 state-licensed stores that have opened so far, including about five in most-populous King County.

Existing in a gray area of state law, medical operations do not need to obtain the licenses or pay the high taxes required by the 2012 ballot measure that legalized pot for recreational use. They face few rules and even less enforcement of what local rules do exist.

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