"There are several municipalities around the state that have moratoriums or bans in place for both medical and 502 licensed businesses," he said. "However, in regards to medical marijuana specifically, the situation that exists has arisen because, when juxtaposed to functioning, legally regulated and taxed 502 businesses, the unregulated and untaxed commercial medical business model looks less attractive to legislatures and regulators."

And that is exactly the larger problem.

The idea in Washington state that was also sold to voters was that the existing medical use infrastructure would be left alone and gradually grandfathered in over time (next year was the stated date so far) as the state built a regulatory infrastructure around the rec market first. The plan wasn't to "consolidate" existing medical dispensaries under commercial umbrellas. This new development in Tacoma is one that many feared would materialize as recreational tax dollars began to roll in to starved municipal coffers and municipal leaders made decisions in favor of the same to the detriment of the medical market and those they serve. 

As Oliver sees it, this is an "inevitability" that serves the best interests of everyone.

"Pragmatically, at this point, supporting an amendment to the law that does not allow municipalities to opt out of 502 would be best for Washington state's bottom line while at the same time guaranteeing access to quality marijuana at the retail outlets," he said. "Draft bills are circulating that, if passed by the legislature and signed into law, would consolidate commercial medical marijuana operations with 502 commercial operations with potential tax breaks intended to lower the cost for valid medical marijuana patients. No one believes that patients should be left with nothing."