King Co.: Unlicensed medical pot shops have 1 month to close

SEATTLE -- King County officials announced Wednesday that all unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal and have one month to shut their doors for good.

Officials say 15 marijuana stores in White Center, Skyway and other rural areas of King County are operating illegally and need to be shut down.

The news came as an unwelcome surprise to the people who own or use the dispensaries.

State lawmakers recently voted to force medical marijuana dispensaries to adhere to the same rules and regulations as recreational pot stores, which prompted the county's announcement.

"It's time to wrap-up, it's time to move on and it's time to shut it down," said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, who added that anyone who refuses "can expect to get a visit."

Elizabeth Gordon, who owns the only recreational marijuana store in White Center, thinks it's only fair that her medical marijuana neighbors should have to get the same licenses and testing that she's required to get.

The problem is, the dispensary owners say the state isn't issuing any more licenses.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart said his deputies aren't planning on storming any dispensaries, but they're feeling pressure to close them down.

"If we don't do that, there is a risk the federal government will come in here and attack I-502," Urqhart said.