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Seattle could close some medical marijuana dispensaries
SEATTLE - With Washington state overhauling its medical marijuana law, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the city is planning to shutter dozens of dispensaries.
Murray on Tuesday announced plans to require a new special business license for marijuana establishments, akin to those required for taxi operators and pawn shops. Under the mayor's plan the businesses will be required to obtain the licenses by July 2016.
Murray said he hopes the new legislation will prevent pot sales to minors and also prevent abuse of the medical marijuana products.
The Mayor estimates about half of the city's currently unregulated marijuana establishments could be forced to close, under his new regulations.
"It will preserve access for patients who need medical marijuana, while protecting the legal retailers from being undercut from unfair and unlicensed competition," he said.
The Mayor's proposal is an effort to bring the city in line with new state rules, recently signed into law by the governor.
Bill to reduce marijuana penalties in Louisiana passes full Senate
A proposal to soften Louisiana's harsh marijuana laws by reducing penalties for possession continues to gain steam in the Louisiana Legislature.
The Senate voted 27-12 Monday (May 25) to advance legislation that would create a new penalty system for marijuana possession dealing with amounts less than 2.5 pounds.
The measure's sponsor, J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, said his bill (SB 241) brings Louisiana's marijuana laws closer in line with other states, "in a way that is more humane." For example, the bill reduces the maximum penalty for possession from 20 years in prison to eight, raises the threshold for a felony-level possession charge and adds a second-chance provision for first-time offenders.
Under current law, the maximum penalties for possession of any amount of marijuana up to 60 pounds are a $500 fine and six moths in jail for a first offense (a misdemeanor), a $2,500 fine and five years in prison for a second offense (a felony); and a $5,000 fine and a 20-year prison term (a felony).
Morrell's bill does not change penalties for first-offense possession of marijuana dealing with amounts between 14 grams and 2.5 pounds. The legislation makes possession of less than 14 grams of marijuana punishable by maximum sentence of a $300 fine and 15 days in jail. Second offenses are a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail; third offenses are a felony punishable by up to a $2,500 fine and two years in prison; and fourth or subsequent offenses are a felony punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and eight years in prison.
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