Panic, consternation, and a dose of resignation spread across the medical marijuana world Friday morning, as at least a half-dozen Seattle dispensaries received their letters from the Department of Justice warning them to shut down within 30 days or risk prosecution.
In all, the feds sent warnings to 23 dispensaries in Western Washington, but declined to identify them to reporters on Thursday; the names of those on the target list began trickling out as the letters reached their destinations Friday. Some are in Seattle and some in Shoreline and beyond. They are all deemed to be within 1,000 feet of a school “other prohibited area,” the letters said.
Tyler Godfrey, a co-owner of Fweedom Collective in Ballard, got his rude awakening Friday morning.
“For us to get this letter is extremely tough,” he said. “It stings.”
Fweedom says it runs a model operation — it even has a letter from City Councilmember Nick Licata thanking them for their work toward coming up with “sensible and effective (city) code.”
“For us to have the support of the city and the state, from what we thought, and then to get this…” Godfrey said. “It’s extremely challenging for us to make sense of.”
The feds’ letter doesn’t specify the school by name, but Godfrey suspects it might be Ballard High School, or maybe a nearby park.
Fweedom, which opened about 1 1/2 years ago, plans to relocate within a couple of weeks. “But we don’t know if we’re going to get another letter or another reason,” he said.
Godfrey says they run a careful operation, with a focus on quality control. He noted they pay their taxes just like any other business.