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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has announced that a public symposium will be held on Nov. 20 to discuss the future of the city’s medical marijuana program.

Though Washington was one of the first states to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana, the state’s medical marijuana program is known for being largely unregulated, thereby running a higher risk of federal prosecution against patients and medicine-providers.

Currently, medical marijuana patients and business owners in Seattle are in an unfortunate state of limbo: dispensaries have been required by the city to obtain a state-issued license to stay in business beyond July 1, 2015. In fact, the city of Seattle issued 330 letters in October to hundreds of dispensaries, warning that the businesses could face a shutdown soon if they weren’t properly licensed. The problem is that the state-issued licenses don’t actually exist yet, and there’s currently no timeline for the licenses’ release.

As a result, Mayor Murray has been working with interested parties to establish a regulatory framework for patients to safely access their medicine. “We are still looking to Olympia to enact broad medical marijuana reform next session, but we need to take action here in Seattle to address immediate concerns of patients, businesses and neighbors,” Murray said. “Even if the state acts, we know implementation could stretch into 2016. We don’t want patients and businesses waiting in limbo, even as they face increasing legal risks.”

The symposium will feature panel discussions on a wide variety of issues relating to the medical marijuana business industry, according to an announcement released by Mayor Murray’s office earlier this week. These issues will include the testing of products for purity and strength, best practices for the manufacturing of medicated products, packaging and labeling requirements, and the locations of MMJ dispensaries and collective gardens.

“The panels will feature patient advocates and medical providers, marijuana business representatives, testing providers, community representatives and city agency leaders,” reads the mayor’s announcement. “The symposium will be convened by Patricia Lally, Director of the Office of Civil Rights, who will offer introductory remarks.”

Questions from the public regarding current MMJ policies and the program’s future are strongly encouraged. The event is scheduled to take place at City Hall in the Bertha Knight Landes Room on Nov. 20, and will run from 5 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Sources:

http://murray.seattle.gov/mayor-murray-announces-symposium-on-medical-marijuana-law-enforcement/#sthash.O7aSSA7i.dpbs

Photo Credit: Maëlick

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