WASHINGTON: The great experiment in the state of Washington to legalize the sale of marijuana through a regulated and taxed market has hit a hitch at the local level that threatens to slow progress to a snail’s pace, even as more and more marijuana businesses obtain the state licensing needed to open their doors.
Through early November, Washington’s cannabis market, state records show, included some 63 retailers, 239 producers and 197 processors — all issued the required state-level licenses to begin doing business in the state. But the battle ahead for many of them — and others in the pipeline — to actually open their doors for business is far from over.
The pushback is coming at the city level, in part from small but well-organized citizen groups, who essentially don’t want marijuana businesses to open in their neighborhoods. These groups are putting heat on local politicians to ban pot businesses, and they are having success, even in areas that voted overwhelmingly for legalizing marijuana.