Photo by Tim Clifford
The King County Prosecutor and King County Sheriff held a news conference to close unlicensed marijuana stores. Middle is Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.

Acrimonious news conference announced closure of unlicensed marijuana stores

By Gwen Davis

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and King County Sheriff John Urquhart held a news conference Wed. morning aimed at closing unlicensed marijuana stores operating in unincorporated King County.

They were joined by Russ Hauge of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. The conference was located at the Sheriff's Office White Center Storefront, located at 9609 16th Ave S.W.

"If you have a license you can sell, if you can't you won't." Satterberg said.

But the crowd of roughly 30 was vocal. Hecklers screamed as the prosecuting attorney and the sheriff were giving their speeches.

"You are horrible people," one woman yelled at Satterberg.

However, the information was simple.

Fifteen unlicensed businesses were sent letters informing them that they do not have a state-approved license for the sale of marijuana and must close their stores, according to King County.

Bud Nation is the only remaining legally licenced recreational store in White Center, according to Elizabeth Gordon at Bud Nation.

It began with marijuana was legalized.

Vote-approved Initiative 502 was approved by voters in 2012 and created a system for the licensed production, processing and retail distribution of marijuana with no medical requirement needed.

However, recent amendments to Initiative 502 adopted by the state legislature, brought medical marijuana licensing into the state licensing system and eliminated "collective gardens", according to the office of the prosecuting attorney. Retail operations licensed by the state offer the only legal way to sell marijuana.

Now, operators of unlicensed marijuana establishments who aren't in compliance with the law can be subject to potential civil and criminal liabilities, according to the office of the prosecuting attorney.

In general, licensed marijuana businesses are overseen by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

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