Last Labor Day, Capitol Hill saw a pioneer wave of marijuana dispensaries suddenly dissolve following threats from the DEA. In 2013, a much different federal message on the future of retail pot in Seattle has been delivered.
Thursday, the Department of Justice announced “an update to its federal marijuana enforcement policy in light of recent state ballot initiatives that legalize, under state law, the possession of small amounts of marijuana and provide for the regulation of marijuana production, processing, and sale.”
The takeaway — the Feds won’t intervene in Washington and Colorado’s pot business if local laws keep the industry in check. The full DOJ memo is below. Many see the update as the go ahead entrepreneurs have been waiting for to put plans for new marijuana retail businesses on Capitol Hill and beyond into full motion.
CHS reported earlier on a delay in recommendations for state rules to govern the new commercial pot industry in Washington as issues like how to regulate marijuana clubs are hammered out. City Attorney Pete Holmes has identified the club issue as one of the areas that need greater clarity at the state level as Seattle officials prepare to manage the changing relationship with pot in an urban environment complete with multifamily residences and busy nightlife.
Meanwhile, entrepreneurs are searching out potential leases in areas believed to be pot retail-friendly. CHS wrote about early prognostications about the area around 23rd and Union being potentially sized up as a “Little Amsterdam” but we’ve also heard about ventures checking out areas like 15th Ave E and elsewhere on the Hill.
With the DOJ apparently stepping back and watching the action, Washington retail marijuana sales are expected to begin in early 2014.