Transition from the status quo which keeps medical and recreational marijuana as completely separate businesses toward a new era of a single industry regulated by the state continues. For some people, that may seem like a lame claim because change only seems to occur at a very slow pace in government circles but feeling as though nothing is ever going to happen would be an unfair judgement. At the time of this writing Washington is taking progressive steps to combine medical and recreational into a single world. Signs point toward having all legal stores on the same footing by July 1, 2016.
The truth is that there are a few controversies interrupting the dynamics of a smooth transition at this point in time. For example, the lawsuit that a group of Seattle dispensary owners have brought against the Liquor and Cannabis Board for the way in which the LCB has awarded new licenses is very much in play. The owners are crying foul over the way the state has awarded new recreational business licenses. They claim that the LCB has given an unfair advantage to newly formed entities that have never served a patient over long established businesses that have been doing the right thing and played by the rules for a long time. As legal fights go, that dispute is unlikely to be resolved before July. This contest reminds people of the bad blood that flowed behind the LCB's announcement of lottery winners in the first round of licensing in 2014.
On the positive side, however, it looks like the two state agencies - the LCB and the DOH - are working well together to get done what the 2015 Cannabis Patient Protection Act says they have to do in the way of protecting patients and making sure people can get their medicine. The jury is still out on this, but some of the trainers have been picked to deliver certification courses for medical cannabis consultants and courses are under way.