All WASH unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries must now be closed.

bigbotherA few glitches as the new medical marijuana law takes effect today

Friday marks the day when Washington’s long-time medical marijuana industry is integrated into the new, regulated, recreational industry the state has been fine-tuning since voters approved it in 2012.

All unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries must now be closed. At the same time, 332 of the 388 licensed stores in Washington have been medically endorsed to offer medical-grade product. The Washington State Department of Health is still warning people that all the stores may not be fully prepared; patients should call before visiting.

The new law required the state to create a database of people authorized to buy medical marijuana, but announced possible delays due to software challenges on Tuesday.

The new medical marijuana law took effect Friday, and the department of health announced the database was actually operational a little after 8:30 a.m.

For medical marijuana patients to received the benifits outlined in the law, they must join this database and receive what is called a recognition card. Joining the authorization database is voluntary but is required to receive added benefits.

The benefits are:

  • Purchase products sales-tax free.
  • Purchase up to three times the current legal limit for recreational users.
  • Purchase high-THC infused products.
  • Grow more than four plants at a residence.

While registered medical marijuana users are exempt from sales tax, the 9.6 percent sales tax in Seattle for example, they are still required to pay that state’s 37 percent marijuana excise tax. The Seattle Times has reported that many believe this will lead medical users to the illicit market thought to be cheaper.

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