At a time when many states are legalizing medical marijuana or considering doing so, Washington state medical marijuana law is under siege and in the cross hairs. This is a direct assault by the new recreational marijuana industry.
The charge is being led by Martin Tobias, a former Microsoft executive who has ambitions to control 15% of Washington’s recreational marijuana through South Fork Business Park in Raymond, Wash. Money is flowing out to bend new legislation towards removing all dispensaries and limiting the right of Washingtonians to grow. The Republican controlled senate, thanks to influence by the recreational marijuana industry and Republican Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center has just passed one really bad medical marijuana bill.
Proposed Bad Marijuana Law
Senate Bill 5052 passed on a bipartisan 36-11 vote and now heads to the House for consideration. It is one of several measures brought forth by lawmakers this year after efforts to address the dual markets died in the House last session. http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Senate-passes-to-overhaul-medical-marijuana-industry-291881041.html
This new bill would shut down all medical marijuana dispensaries by 2016. Patients would only be allowed to grow 6 plants and possess 3 ounces of marijuana instead of the current 15 plants and 25 ounces of cannabis.
Instead of dispensaries it would allow caregivers to provide for 4 patients but they can’t be within 15 miles of a recreational store which effectively means almost nowhere in the state and certainly not in any larger cities.
Probably the worst part of this bill is establishing a statewide registry of medical marijuana patients. Since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level the DOJ/DEA could subpoena this list. Just some really bad thinking here.
If It Aint Broke Don’t Fix It! Our Current Washington Medical Marijuana Law Is Fine
Our state was one of the first in the nation to legalize medical marijuana and we should not be losing our rights because the Washington State Liquor Control Board and a bunch of greedy entrepreneurs want to cash in on and dominate recreational weed.
The only real problem with our current medical marijuana bill is some vague wording about collective gardens which is what the dispensaries operate under. A bill was passed to address this issue by Senator Kohl-Welles in 2011, but parts of it were vetoed by then Gov. Gregoire who it is believed caved in to federal pressure and threats. See it here.
We don’t need a new medical marijuana bill. We just need to override the partial veto on Sen. Kohl-Welles’ bill. Thankfully there is a new bipartisan bill that brings a ray of hope and common sense.
On Wednesday, Representatives Luis Moscoso (D-Mountlake Terrace), Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) and Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Wall) introduced House Bill 2058, a proposal to provide defined arrest protection for medical cannabis patients and to establish a licensing and regulation system for dispensaries. http://sensiblewashington.org/blog/2015/support-house-bill-2058-strengthen-patients-rights-allow-dispensaries-become-licensed-state/
“Now more than ever, patients need dedicated champions in the Legislature who are not afraid to take a stand for what’s right,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “We commend Representatives Moscoso, Walsh and Appleton for showing the courage to lead on this crucial issue.”
My hope is that medical marijuana patients in Washington will not have to give up their rights. We were told when we voted for recreational cannabis and I 502 that it would not affect the current medical marijuana law. Lets make sure it doesn’t.