One of the most widely used arguments for recreational marijuana legalization is now being challenged as violation of federal law. A lawsuit recently filed in Washington asks whether Washington State can legally tax an activity that is illegal under federal law.
A few weeks ago we wrote about local moratoriums on medical marijuana sales in Oregon. As with Washington's recreational marijuana regulations, cities in Oregon were given the choice to enact local one-year bans on medical marijuana dispensaries. As the deadline to enact the bans passed yesterday, Oregon's resistance to medical marijuana became clear. More than 150 cities and counties decided to enact the bans. Though some chose to ban the dispensaries reluctantly, others were firm in their opposition, even claiming the moratoriums do not go far enough.
It turns out Oregon and Washington have a lot in common when it comes to marijuana law. While our neighbors to the north have been making headlines with recreational marijuana legalization, Oregon too is becoming a bit more welcoming to marijuana in certain respects. Though we are a long way from effectively legalizing marijuana, the Oregon Legislature recently sanctioned retail medical marijuana dispensaries. Unfortunately, as Washington has already learned, this leniency rarely comes without complication.
We've spent a great deal of time discussing the limitations of Washington's I-502 regulations, but it wouldn't be worth talking about if the recreational marijuana industry weren't extremely promising. Washington businesses looking to enter the market need look no further than Colorado to see that promise coming to fruition.
For the second entry in our I-502 Marijuana Law series we wanted to touch on the differences between medical marijuana sales and recreational sales in Washington, and the negative effect I-502 may have on medical marijuana businesses. If you missed it, check out our first entry on zoning for recreational sales here.