WA: Did Medical Marijuana Bring About Its Own Demise?

A lack of regulation plus a lack of cohesion was a lethal cocktail for Washington's medical marijuana community.

Back in 2010, a group of medical marijuana patients and growers in Washington state got together and formed a group called the Coalition for Cannabis Standards & Ethics*. Among other things, the group established a code of conduct that all members agreed to follow—akin to best practices lists adopted by more established professions like realty and banking. The members of the coalition agreed to pay taxes, follow disability access laws, and try to maintain good relationships with their neighbors.

As Jeremy Kaufman, who runs the Seattle medical marijuana dispensery and R&D firm Center for Palliative Care, recalls, membership to the group passed 100 soon after it started—no small feat in his view, given that the code of ethics required medical cannabis businesses to pay taxes, thus admitting to the federal government that they...

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