Small business magazine Inc. profiles the current movement in Washington state to legalize marijuana and how medical marijuana dispensaries are fighting the proposition.
Initiative 502, or I-502, is a ballot measure that will allow Washingtonians to own and smoke marijuana for recreational use. It will also legalize its sale and generate revenue for the state through sales taxes on cannabis.
While the push for recreational legalization is a goal of many proponents of pot, an unlikely enemy of the initiative is surfacing — Washington's medical marijuana dispensaries. The dispensaries, organized as "No on I-502," oppose the THC threshold for driving under the influence, which would make their patients legally intoxicated while driving a day after smoking a single joint.
They also claim the initiative will be negligible in affecting the black market because of the taxes.
However, others have pointed out that the opposition by dispensaries may be more self-serving. A recreational ban would eliminate the need for niche medical retailers.
The issue has prompted the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws to comment on the issue. Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the group, said, "The medical marijuana industry is driven by profit," he said. "It's not driven by compassion anymore. It is driven by the need to make money."