WASHINGTON: By summer, Tacoma city officials hope to rid the city of all marijuana shops except a handful of state-licensed stores.
The Tacoma City Council told staff Tuesday to get ready to shut down unlicensed marijuana businesses, many of which cater to medical pot users. Letters telling business owners to cease operations could be mailed by early next year.
Five stores operating under Initiative 502’s regulatory framework for recreational marijuana have opened in Tacoma this year, according to city staff. Under state licensing guidelines, the state Liquor Control Board could permit three more.
But those licensed recreational stores would still be vastly outnumbered by the unlicensed shops, which city staff say number at least 56.
Unlicensed marijuana stores do not pay the high taxes that state-licensed stores do, nor are they subject to the strict regulations that recreational pot businesses must obey. This amounts to an unfair playing field, said Mayor Marilyn Strickland.