City to Evict Nearly All Medical Marijuana Shops


By Heather Callaghan

Washington is among the few states where marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use. Some lawmakers, along with the federal government, have yet to uncross their arms.

So, you might wonder why Tacoma – a hub for some 60 medical marijuana dispensaries is about to evict nearly all of them. They aren’t calling it eviction, of course – the city council is about to send letters to them that they now have 45 days to close their doors for good.

The reasoning? There are too many shops…no one needs that amount of shops… Is that really so?

In a time of economic and health devastation, where local economies shrivel up and attempt to ban homelessness – where business buildings remain abandoned because no one can afford to try again – it seems like an all around win to have thriving shops.

Here Tacoma has the legal ability to sell a product that sells itself – where doctors can write prescriptions for pain relief and send them to the dispensary instead of to the pharmacy. Where business owners move in by the droves to set up shop and funnel money into the city. How have the shops not been beneficial – 60 shops have been able to support themselves. Is there something we don’t know?

Mayor Marilyn Strickland decided on Tuesday:

We don’t need 60 stores selling marijuana in Tacoma. At a minimum, 48 of these stores do need to close down permanently.

Interestingly, the mayor is friendlier towards shops with a unionized workforce because she feels,“That would help ease people’s minds about legitimacy.” After 45 days, a second letter will go out ordering suspension of business, giving the owner three days to file an appeal.

Previously, legislature charged the Liquor Control Board – recently renamed Liquor and Cannabis Board – “with deciding which medical marijuana shops and grow operations to legitimize and which ones must close by July 1, 2016.”

Believe it or not, it was some of the council members that kept Tacoma from shutting down all the dispensaries, recognizing a true medical need and benefit. Last year, Newsweek reported that states where medical marijuana was legal saw a 25% drop in deaths from painkillers.

According to The News Tribune:

Stores that had locations before Jan. 1, 2013, that have maintained a business license since July 2014, and have a history of paying state taxes and fees could remain open at least until the state makes its licensing decisions.

City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli said of the shops the city knows about, 19 have filed for a state business license and paid some taxes, and 10 businesses have been in operation since before 2013.

Some shop owners try to assure themselves that they will remain open after the purge because they pay taxes – but find it nearly impossible to get a straight answer about regulation and expectations. One is disappointed that a number of shops went the “party stereotype” route, did not follow basic policies, opened up next to schools, churches and parks, and forgot about the goal of providing medical cannabis. It appears that those actions allowed a foot in door for code enforcers after there were alleged nuisance complaints.

Still, shouldn’t there be some kind of better compromise? After all, those complaints are out of the control and fault of patients. Such extreme anti-shop attitudes also punishes benevolent business owners. Last December, the city moved to send cease-and-desist letters but cooled it after they were met with much protest.

What do you think of Tacoma’s new move to shut down most of the dispensaries – is it solving a legitimate problem and in the best interest of residents? Or, is it bureaucratic and fueled by some other political reason? Please comment below – we’d love to hear Washington residents weigh in about the situation.

City of Tacoma

The photo Indica, Platinum Bubba is by Dank Depot on Flickr, under Creative Commons

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.

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24 Comments on "City to Evict Nearly All Medical Marijuana Shops"

  1. | August 12, 2015 at 10:12 am |

    if they have the ability to pay rent , pay taxes. not fold, are a good neighbor… LET THEM STAY OPEN! PERIOD

  2. freewheelinfranklin543 | August 12, 2015 at 10:19 am |

    Washington state is trying to put legal medical pot under so they can sell their $20/gram low potency schwag otherwise known as recreational pot. You can get much better cannabis with higher potency,bigger buds and 1/3 the price on the black market in Seattle. Tomato model you greedy Washington state fools!

  3. Is it possible that the ‘black market’ (Mexican Drug Cartel) is hurting? Do not forget that prior to legalization people making the big bucks selling illegal weed made enough money to pay off the establishment so they could operate freely.

    • The largest hard drug runners on the planet still sit in DC and London. The “opium trade” never ended. Our military is the enforcer and crop protector of this trade and is in league with the cartels to the South. Until our government is cleansed of the Ruling Elite, nothing will change. Vote “none of the above” in all elections.

    • Very good point ! I’ll bet that the Romney’s have felt a pinch !

  4. You don’t mess with a person’s livelihood in an economy where one out of 10 people are out of work! Who is going to take care of all the dispensary workers when they find themselves out on the street without of a job? Maybe the Mayor can put them up at her house while they’re looking for new work.

  5. ALL of those who intend to close down the shops who are compliant with state law should hang. I mean it. Legislatures have stolen an unalienable, god-given right to grow a plant. And they have waged a war against America in order to stop the legitimate flow of cannabis, which they cannot stop. But they do advocate sending goons armed with machine guns to stop people from engaging in the practice for decades. The descriptive word here is treason and don’t expect the establishment to recognize that simple fact. Gather together your proof and hang the treasonous bastards in a public square and say “we aren’t going to put up with this bullshit anymore!”

  6. Until the 1st of July 2015, I had the honor and pleasure to work as a cannabis physician in Seattle and Tacoma. I was forced to give up my work in this area due to the new law. Implementation of 502 is forcing physicians out of the field and there will soon be no one to evaluate patients for medical cannabis use. The purpose of the “recreational” law in WA State was, of course, to eliminate medical cannabis as it had been instituted. Corporatist interests and government officials – from “elected” politicians to those involved in regulation and licensure – have uniformly hated the idea that they cannot control this miracle plant and tax it to the hilt. The medical licensing authorities continue to maintain that this plant is not and can never be “medicine” and, hence, have been actively going after any and all physicians who dare to write recommendations.

    ThePowersThatBe cannot abide the thought that anyone should be able to grow this simple plant in their back yard and use it in any way that they choose. Having been used as medicine by all people on the planet for ten thousand years, its safety and efficacy are beyond dispute. The fact that this one plant would eliminate 90+% of Big Pharma’s drugs is a threat to the bottom lines of entrenched power structures.

    It is no accident that the new law was carefully cleansed of the word “cannabis” by replacing it with “marijuana”. This is a subtle effort to resurrect the “Reefer Madness” meme that was used so successfully to hide the value of this plant for so many years.
    Nor is it accidental that control of this plant has been given to the Liquor Control Board.

    If our officials were really concerned about the health of the public, then they would curtail the use and abuse of alcohol – or, at least, not promote it endlessly. No one in thousands of years has died from cannabis. 6-7 people die every hour in this country due to alcohol and hundreds of thousands die from Big Pharma products. TPTB certainly cannot allow their various monopolies to be challenged.

    A sad day for patients in WA. We will see this reversed at some point, but how long? How long?

  7. too much freedom, clearly. Land of the Free, baby.

  8. If it works well then the Government feels the need to interject with bureaucracy to control the destruction of a truly capitalist business.Fascism ,control of monies and rights is the goal. Not to mention quelling the establishment of competitive alternatives to the corrupt AMA and Pharmaceutical industries.

  9. If the Feds and state can’t screw up a good thing, then just leave it to a city council!

  10. There never has been a war on drugs.
    There always has been a drug war on the competition.
    And believe it, this is competition!

  11. Everybody here has an interesting take on this. TnDoc is right in front of the big money tank rolling over a better idea… and his job. It’s been said that this is a war between the Powers That Be and the Powers That Oughta Be. Better ideas are what powerful corporations fear…and med pot is a biggie. So they create special departments to either acquire or destroy ideas that cut into their profits… psych ops and black ops…hire lobbyists to legally bribe our representatives in government, get their newspapers and TV to suppress anything contrary to what the big money wants us to hear, and in the long run we all lose something…except for the very rich…they’ll just get richer. The pharmaceutical racket, the prison business, cash strapped police depts funded by Drug War money are all pushing back hard while trying to keep a low profile. Corporate America is not capitalist America…they’re into owning and controlling…just in case you’re wondering where the freedom went.

  12. GUESS who owns stock or will be/has already been, financially REWARDED to close most of these shops!!!!

  13. Back to the criminal Mexican black market…hell it was cheaper there anyways..

  14. These people don’t have the right to chose who gets to enjoy these new businesses and who doesn’t . They don’t get to “pick” who will cash in on the ground level. One wonders if any of these people have stakes in a few of these shops. It’s legal. These people need to quit acting like God of everyone else.

  15. You don’t see anyone deciding who gets to sell gas and how many gas stations there can be. Total bull. It’s legal. Deal with it.

  16. wisdom of the knowing | August 12, 2015 at 11:45 pm |

    Well we got way too many laws, too many politicians, way too many taxes and on and on.

    At some point folks may wake up and see that the government in general is the major problem.

    Until then I guess we have to continue to tolerate fraud and criminality that government has become.

    Just requiring that the government to be at least 50% honest would drastically change the whole way the so called civilization works.

    Returning to the Republic of North America -aka- now called the USA and following the natural laws out lined in the constitution would stop all this insanity.

    bye for now….

  17. Pulling knife from back | August 13, 2015 at 5:52 am |

    Yep… Land of the free.

  18. I will bet that within Tacoma’s city limits there are more than 60 liquor stores and more than 60 bars!

  19. I wonder how many liquor stores operate in Tacoma? not that medical cannabis can be compared to alcohol cause its not at all.

  20. Unfortunately with medical cannabis laws as they currently are in most states, she may need to relocate (for treatment or permanently) to an eligible state/district.
    It is a damn shame that even decades after there’s proof of this herb’s medicinal efficacy (in modern times and trials) officials and officers attempt to use trickery and subversion to protect the status quo at the cost of the health and even lives of countless law-abiding citizens.
    Best of luck to your sister.

    • Thanks so much for your response. We’re actually in NJ, but they are relatively strict on the conditions they are allowing for medical marijuana. Though the vibrations are driving her crazy, and it’s especially hard for her to cope and understand what’s happening, given her cognitive limitations, this isn’t one of the conditions they allow for treatment. It’s absolutely criminal that they are keeping this healing herb from the people. Given the research I’ve done, I honestly believe there’s a good chance that this will help her.

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