With the arrival of January I-502 sales data, I am disappointed to announce that The Great Area of Recreational Cannabis Nothingness is still with us.
I currently estimate that the State will skim AT LEAST $250 million in excise tax revenue from State-Legal Cannabis during calendar year 2016. The forced migration of patients to retail could well drive this number higher (much higher). As the Legislature has said to patients: go regulated or go illicit. Only a 37% excise tax for you. We’ll spare you state sales tax.
It is currently looking as if some areas of the state may see no such revenue generated. They may see no Cannabis medicines available for legal sale within their jurisdictions. The Yakima Police Chief (who no doubt misses the days of rabid asset forfeiture) was just quoted as saying that there isn’t enough tax money in Cannabis to offset the risk it poses.. Good, healthy, informed forward-looking mindset. Perhaps it’s long-term exposure to Hops in the air and water?. Maybe lead on the range?
In such areas, local citizen leadership have, in a manner reminiscent of “The Soup Nazi”, stated”:
NO MEDICINE FOR YOU!
Local obstructionist governments, in their zeal to create “dry” counties or cities are on the cusp of denying local access of their constituents to medicine that has been legal in this State since the late 1990s.
Perhaps in one year? Perhaps after the current response to the local false emergency expires?
Perhaps after a local baby dies seizing in it’s mother’s arms stranded many miles away from the strain that would have helped?
Hey, Legislature! I know you have a short session and that somehow further complicates your otherwise complicated lives. The Patient Protection Act, as being implemented, will quite predictably kill people. Show us that having a primary goal of acting in a manner that promotes “public health and safety” is more than just lip-service in Olympia.
And, Hey LCB! Your “rule” that allocates NO ADDITONAL MEDICAL STORES to areas now enjoying bans and/or moratoria is doubling-down on this obstructionism and is reinforcing a policy position that will, predictably, cause harm to human health and safety (real harm).
Legislators and Regulators: Please stop (or stop reinforcing) the ability of local obstructionists to ban/moratorium/obstruct the placement of stores holding medical endorsements. Do it now, before the Patient Protection Act starts killing people.
On July 1, all non-illegal Medical Cannabis transactions in Washington will be conducted through LCB- (and DOH-) regulated Retail access points. Sick people residing in GARCN in need of medicine are being forced in the direction of criminality.
We should remember that the WSLCB originally allocated Retail I-502 stores to areas based on the expected “demand” for the product. Given that, it is a shame that some jurisdictions have ZERO retail stores and zero retail sales almost two years after the State-legal Cannabis market began here.
It will be a tragedy if it is allowed to continue after July 1 of this year.
The first attached map highlights 4 counties with no sales at all in Recreational Cannabis Stores. This is the core of GARCN (The Great Area of Recreational Cannabis Nothingness).
The second map uses a “heat-map” to show where retail sales have been occurring. Note the areas with no “heat” … and remember that our State is full of national lands and mountains and such.
Areas with no “heat” that have local residents have residents that will have no local legal access to Cannabis-based medicines come July 1.
That is … If we continue as if this “business as usual” trajectory is acceptable.
It is not.
Let your Legislators and local Obstructionist Political Wannabees know that killing people is so un-Cannabis.
Killing people through denying them Cannabis-based Medicine is not only un-Cannabis it is un-Ethical and it is wrong.
If the Law & Rules folks in Olympia — and those who interpret and enforce those laws & rules around the state — allow this to continue unfolding as it is, it would be directly counter to their stated role and purpose in serving us.
Us being the people of Washington State, the majority of whom chose to Legalize Cannabis not at the expense of upstanding members of the Medical Cannabis community, but upon the foundation laid by their hard work and persistence.