SPOKANE, Wash – In the words of Spokane City Councilor Jon Snyder, "We need a time out."
As the state of Washington tries to figure out how to implement I-502 legalizing marijuana, the City of Spokane is trying to stop any new medical marijuana gardens or dispensaries from opening.
That's because council members say they need more time to figure out how the sale of recreational pot may affect medical marijuana sales.
"Before that gets too out of control, we thought we need a little bit of a time out, we need to stop, slow down, have a public hearing, wait for 6 months and see if we can talk a little more about what's the best way to go forward," Snyder explained.
The council voted unanimously in favor of the 6-month moratorium at Monday night's council meeting.
Snyder invited the Liquor Control Board to come to Spokane to discuss issues relating to I-502 before implementing regulations; a move the Northside Alternative Wellness Center supports.
"There needs to be some sort of regulation - some sort," a representative of the business told KHQ, who asked not to be named. "Not just every Joe and Harry can just open up shop in their trailer. There has to be security implemented, there has to be professional people, there has to be some sort of registration fee."
The Northside Alternative Wellness Center also told KHQ they don't mind new shops opening, but they want to see it done the right way, and they believe that's what the City Council is doing.
What they don't want to see is a repeat of what happened a few years ago, when things were out of control and the Feds raided a number of local dispensaries, shutting them down.
To be a medical marijuana patient, your doctor has to review your records and determine that medical marijuana is a viable option for pain management. If that happens, the patient can get a medical marijuana card, but must have that card in order to grow plants or buy product.
"One of the things that came up in the discussion is, is medical marijuana going to be it's own parallel gray market to recreational marijuana? Because the two things have different statutes and different regulations," Snyder said. "There's really nothing in the medical marijuana statures that explicitly allows for retail medical marijuana, so we may find out that if you want to retail medical marijuana you may have to adhere to all the regulations regarding recreational marijuana and I-502."
Right now, there are still a lot of questions about how the state will regulate the two, and if medical marijuana patients will be expected to pay the 25% tax recreational users will pay at state-run stores.