Originally thinking there was six months left to figuring everything out, dispensary owners in Seattle were surprised and furious to get a 14 day notice.
The notice claims that there are too few licenses to go around and that the shops must either find a location outside Seattle, or apply for a license with the full understanding that they may no longer be in business at all.
This is all because they have decided to combine medical and recreational marijuana under one supervisory role by the Liquor and Cannabis Board. Many of these dispensaries have been in business for six years, since 2010 – or as long as medical marijuana has been legally available in Seattle.
Each of these shop owners knew that things were going to be changing soon – but they were all under the impression that they had until July 1st of this year (roughly 6 months) to figure out what to do.
Now business are left with less than 10 days to make six months’ worth of arrangements. This includes finding a new location outside of Seattle, moving thousands of dollars of equipment and product and basically starting over.
If they do not move out of Seattle, then these companies will be faced with the decision of signing the notice and applying for a license that does not guarantee they can stay in business. The decision to limit the number of licenses and to put it into effect so quickly is going to be potentially hurting a lot of people.
It’s not just the patients who have been buying from these dispensaries for years. It’s not just the shop owners who could potentially be out millions of dollars if they don’t get a license and are unable to move. It’s also all their employees and all of their families.
This kind of move is something that should have been given an ample amount of time to get affairs in order. Instead, business owners are faced with making snap decisions that could turn out badly for them, their business and their employees because of the rush.
It is likely that some of the dispensaries in Seattle will be filing legal motions against this notice in order to at least gain more time to sort things out. They are being asked to sign the notice stating that they are aware they may not be awarded a license – and I don’t think many of them plan on signing it at all.
I don’t see this ending in a simple way at all – people’s livelihoods are at stake with these changes and that’s not something that most take lightly…