WASHINGTON: For at least three generations of Americans, eradication of marijuana has been among the top law enforcement priorities across the land at every level, and yet here we are: Legal weed in four states, medical in dozens more and a robust black market making pot available in every corner of every state for any purpose.
So, how will Washington’s latest legislative effort to control part of that social and economic reality — the much-maligned “gray market” of medical marijuana — succeed? Won’t most of the hundreds of collective storefronts, more than 300 in Seattle alone, simply slip into the black market?
While the new law, S.B. 5052, directs the state to expand the number of licensed growers and retailers and gives those “good actors” in the medical market priority for those licenses … the number making it through to legitimacy will still be a fraction of those already doing business.
Once those players leave the gray market and disappear into the black market, how will cities, counties and the state fight them? That seems to be the big question now that the legislature has ended medical marijuana as we know it.