Local marijuana dispensary dispute

By Hawkeye Staff

Two men from Mountlake Terrace are now threatening to sue the city after their request for a business license to open a medical marijuana dispensary was rejected.

Todd Madison and Aaron Panagos have both been using marijuana in the place of painkillers, which they claim never worked for them, for years. After running a business out of their homes for almost a year now, the two decided to open up a public for-profit dispensary.

In September, they applied for a business license to open a Botanical Urban Dispensary Service (BUDS) in Mountlake Terrace. But in early October, Madison received a letter from the city, denying the business license request. A later appeal to the rejection was also denied. Now the two men are threatening to sue the city if they are not allowed to open their medical dispensary.

Madison and Panagos’ business license request has crossed into some unprecedented territory- Although Initivatve 692, which was passed in 1998, legalized medical marijuana in the state of Washington and gave physicians the right to recommend medical marijuana to their patients, federal laws make the sale or possession of marijuana as a whole illegal.

These two contradicting laws make a decision much more difficult to justify.

Stated in a letter addressed to Madison, “the sale of marijuana through a medical marijuana dispensary is not allowed as an outright permitted use or as a conditional use in any land-use zone within the City of Mountlake Terrace.” Under another city ordinance, the possession of marijuana is prohibited. The selling of this drug also violates the Washington State Uniformed Controlled Substances Act.

But in 1998, voters passed Initiative 692, known as the Washington State Medical Marijuana Act. This law allows physicians to provide a 60-day supply of marijuana to patients with conditions including glaucoma, AIDS, cancer, chronic pain and nausea. The Washington Administrative Code also specified that patients can possess a supply of 24 ounces of marijuana, or allows the patient to grow up to 15 plants. None of these laws “authorize or provide for a storefront dispensary delivery system for medical marijuana.”

“The two letters were the only action that has been taken,” Scott Hugill said, the Assistant City Manager, who was the head of this matter.

Madison and Panagos’ threat to sue is still up in the air.