Seattle Mayor: Shut Down Shady Medical Marijuana Dispensaries | KUOW News and Information

Seattle Mayor: Shut Down Shady Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

May 27, 2015

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says all medical marijuana dispensaries in Seattle are illegal. So he wants to shut half of them down, starting with those that opened recently and haven’t been paying taxes. Those left standing, he plans to offer legitimacy through a city license. 

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols was at the announcement and filed this report.


There’s this factory in Sodo called Db3. They get all scientific about marijuana edibles. They have this super secret machine that they won’t even let me take a picture of.

Winterstein: “What is it? This is called a gas chromatograph. It’s equipped with a flame ionization detector.”

Basically, it measures THC levels. Db3 chemist Eric Winterstein says we should really be applying this kind of precision to medical marijuana. 

Winterstein: “Honestly if you’re going to be taking something as a medicine, you want to know what’s in it.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray agrees. But he says the newest crop of medical dispensaries are plagued with problems.

Murray: “You know, some of these black market operators are selling stuff that’s hardly pure and hardly appropriate for people who need it for medical purposes.”

Also, he says they don’t pay taxes. And sometimes they sell to minors.

Daniela Bernhard of the Northwest Patient Resource Center
Credit KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Daniela Bernhard runs a dispensary in West Seattle called Northwest Patient Resource Center. She’s confident her business will survive the city’s crackdown. But she’s worried some patients could suffer.

Bernhard: “I do believe it’ll be a bit of a bumpy road maybe for the next year. Patients may not get some of the medicines they are used to having.”

The mayor's plan still needs the approval of the city council.