Tacoma council could set hearing on marijuana shop closure policy

The Tacoma City Council could decide next week to schedule a Jan. 6 hearing for residents to talk about unlicensed marijuana businesses in the city.

The council told staff this week to prepare to shut down more than 56 unlicensed pot shops. Many of those businesses serve medical marijuana patients. Letters telling store owners they have 90 days to close could be mailed by early next year.

The businesses are not licensed under the state system established by Initiative 502 for recreational pot and are thus illegal, staffers have said.

Both patients and business owners said they were surprised by the council’s decision. Five state-licensed stores operate in Tacoma and are allowed to sell recreational marijuana, but patients have said they worry those stores won’t carry the medical-grade cannabis that they need to ease pain or other maladies.

If the council approves the public hearing, it could be set for 5:30 p.m., Jan. 6 in the City Council chambers, 747 Market St.