The recent passage of I-502 in Washington is not sitting well with some dispensary owners who fear it will bring more competition to what they say is already a flooded market.
According to marijuana “activist” Steve Sarich, most dispensary owners are just getting by, and the new competition is going to make things worse.
To be fair, I’ve personally had my run-ins with Steve Sarich over my support of I-502, and he is right when he points out that the measure is flawed. The DUI provision in particular is irksome to medical marijuana advocates, and it remains to be seen just how many medical cannabis patients will be snared in the DUI net.
It’s also true that, until state-regulated businesses are selling marijuana, the main competition for medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington is going to be drug dealers. It is still illegal to buy marijuana from the black market, but the marijuana you buy from the black market will be legal to possess in The Evergreen State, up to an ounce. Not the most ideal of circumstances, but overall I-502 is a step in the right direction.
But other advocates of marijuana law reform aren’t buying the “poor dispensary owner” line. ”Clearly these are just folks who are trying to keep the status quo in place because it’s working for them right now,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Charging $150 to $400 for an ounce of marijuana is only possible under prohibition. You just can’t get that much money for dried vegetable matter if the product is actually legal.
“They’re moonshiners,” St. Pierre said of the dispensaries opposing the measure. “It’s a tiny group of people who don’t comport.”
It does seem like those who opposed I-502 in Washington and a similar measure in Colorado are on the wrong side of history. They may think they are standing up for medical marijuana patients, but in reality they are the dead weight that slows the cannabis law reform movement down.
No bill or law is perfect, but if we don’t start moving forward now we run the risk of forever being stuck in the past when it comes to marijuana prohibition.
The truth is that in a few decades “medical marijuana” as we know it will cease to exist as “legalization” takes hold in state after state. You won’t have to have a “reason” to purchase dried plant matter, as it should be. Those who profit from medical marijuana know this and they aren’t ready to give up the fight just yet.
- Joe Klare
photo by: Matthew Kenwrick