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Dan Satterberg


King County Prosecutor and King County Sheriff Launch Effort to Close Down

Summary

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and King County Sheriff John Urquhart announced today a King County effort aimed at closing down unlicensed marijuana businesses operating in unincorporated King County.

Story

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and King County Sheriff John Urquhart announced today a King County effort aimed at closing down unlicensed marijuana businesses operating in unincorporated King County.

Fifteen such businesses operating in unincorporated King County were sent letters earlier in the week informing them that they do not have state-approved licenses for the sale of marijuana and must close down their establishments.

Initiative 502, which was approved by voters in 2012, requires the state to create a system for the licensed production, processing and retail distribution of marijuana with no requirement for medical need. Recent amendments to Initiative 502, adopted by the State Legislature, bring medical marijuana into the state licensing system and eliminate “collective gardens.” Retail operations licensed by the state offer the only legal way to sell marijuana, and any unlicensed sale of marijuana is illegal.

“These stores are illegal,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.  “They are unlicensed, untaxed, and they are undermining Washington State’s new law. How local jurisdictions deal with this issue may well determine the success of the entire law,” he added.

“Unlicensed marijuana establishments have had ample time to come to grips with the passage of I-502,” said King County Sheriff John Urquhart.  “The citizens of Washington State voted in 2012 for a legalized and regulated marijuana system.  With our actions today and going forward, we honor the will of the voters.”

Operators of unlicensed marijuana establishments who aren’t in compliance with the law can be subject to potential civil forfeiture, product seizure, and criminal liability.

Licensed marijuana businesses are licensed and overseen by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. “Our primary role is licensing and regulation,” said Russ Hauge of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. “The best control is a healthy market. We are concerned with creating a system that allows legitimate medical patients access to the products they need, that it’s tested and clean and that licensees are in compliance with the law,” he added

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