Mayor Ed Murray’s office outlined its plan for the medical-marijuana industry this afternoon. The plan calls for licensing of recreational and medical-marijuana businesses and creates regulations for medical-marijuana providers.
The mayor’s plan would establish a regulatory system for medical similar to that of the state’s recreational system in that it sets standards for testing, packaging and advertising. It would require criminal background checks for business owners and require businesses to allow inspections by the city.
The new system calls for two classes of collective gardens. Class 1 collective gardens would operate with dispensaries; class 2 collective gardens would not and aren’t subject to many of the more restrictive requirements such as testing.
The class 1 dispensaries would have to be 500 feet from childcare centers, schools, parks, libraries, transit centers and recreation centers, but there don’t appear to be limits for class 2 gardens, which would only allow 45 plants on each parcel.
Class 1 collective gardens are required to test for potency (including CBD), as well as pesticides, mold, fungus and heavy metals. Pesticides and heavy metals tests are typically more expensive than the testing the state’s Liquor Control Board requires for recreational marijuana.
The outline also calls for a separate processing license that establishes packaging requirements for edibles and adopts the state Liquor Control Board’s rules for concentrates.
Although state-licensed recreational producers would also be licensed by the city, they would not have to adhere to any special requirements.
“We’re looking to transmit this to City Council sometime in December,” said David Mendoza, who advises the mayor on marijuana policy. “It’s on their calendar from that point.”
Mendoza said the Finance and Administration department would handle licensing marijuana businesses and be responsible for inspecting and levying fines. Fines would range from $500-$2,000. According to the outline, licenses could be suspended or revoked for “egregious violations of rules.”
Mendoza said selling multiple times to a minor or person without an authorization card would qualify as an egregious violation.
Last Friday, State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles began to promote her plan to rectify recreational and medical marijuana this Legislation session. Jason Kelly, a spokesman for the mayor, said that doesn’t mean Murray is giving up on a statewide solution.
“The mayor is hopeful the legislature will act this year, but even if they act quickly there’s still a lengthy rulemaking process at the state level,” said Kelly. “The mayor wants to have a local ordinance on the books here so we can eliminate the uncertainty that exists for patients and dispensaries.”