Several medical cannabis dispensaries in Seattle have received a surprise notice from the city government, telling them they have 14 days to relocate outside of Seattle or face the prospect of shuttering their doors.
The notices relate to legislation that had previously given the city’s dispensaries until July 1 of this year to become licensed to sell their product in the city.
The truncated deadline, according to the city’s Liquor and Cannabis Board, is reportedly owed to too many applications and too few available licenses. The notice asks aspiring licensees to choose a location outside of the city within 14 days or sign a form that acknowledges the prospect of not obtaining their license and being forced to close their businesses.
The decision by the city has incensed some local dispensary owners.
“We were supposed to have until July 1, 2016. Then this letter came out last week. It’s like, ‘Get licensed within 14 days or get out of Seattle,”
said Jeremy Kaufman, owner of CPC Dispensary in the Georgetown neighborhood, whose shop focuses on the care of patients suffering from debilitating conditions like cancer, epilepsy, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“I’ve been open for 6 years,” he continued.
“I pay taxes. I have employees who bought houses and have kids here.”
Another local dispensary owner, Maryam Mirnateghi, complained about the cost that she has already incurred building the business.
“It’s beyond frustrating. It’s absolutely beyond frustrating,” said Mirnateghi, who has invested over a million dollars in security and other features for a local dispensary. “To ask to me to sign away my rights or lose my application? That’s extortion.”
The city’s mayor, Ed Murray, has penned a letter to the LCB requesting a delay in the deadline, saying “it unfairly disadvantages long-time good actors.”