Bill Filed in Washington State would Gut Medical Marijuana Program

Bill Filed in Washington State would Gut Medical Marijuana Program

OLYMPIA, WA — A bill was filed in Washington State on Monday that, if passed, would gut the state’s 15 year old medical marijuana program and realign it with the state’s forthcoming recreational marijuana industry.

The bill, House Bill 2149, was introduced by Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle), and is modeled after recommendations made by the Washington State Liquor Control Board last October.

In addition to creating a state-wide medical marijuana patient registry, the bill would also reduce the amount of medical marijuana patients are allowed to possess from the current limit of 24 ounces to a proposed 3 ounce limit.

The bill would reduce the number of plants patients are allowed to grow from 15 plants to 6.  Under the proposed cultivation limits, only three of the six plants would be allowed to be flowering.

Under the proposal, home cultivation by patients could completely disappear within five years, as the bill also establishes a committee made up of the Liquor Control Board and the Department of Health to determine if home cultivation remains necessary after recreational pot shops are open.

The bill also proposes eliminating collective marijuana grows, which advocates fear would shut down the state’s medical marijuana dispensary system.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board has come under fire from the state’s medical marijuana community since the passage of I-502, which authorized recreational marijuana sales to adults under a heavily taxed retail system.

The Board has endorsed imposing recreational pot sales tax to the medical marijuana industry, citing concerns that if the medical marijuana system remains untaxed, the recreational marijuana industry would be subverted.

Advocates say the Liquor Control Board should not have any oversight or input to the medical marijuana program, which is currently overseen by the state’s Department of Health.

“Patients in Washington will not sit idly by to see the state dismantle its 15-year old medical marijuana program and attempt to roll them into a nascent recreational market,”  Steph Sherer, Exeuctive Director of Americans for Safe Access, said last year when the Liquor Control Board first proposed the recommendations.

“The very real needs of medical marijuana patients cannot be adequately met by the recreational marijuana program and must be addressed by preserving and strengthening the law that currently exists,” continued Sherer. “We’re urging Governor Inslee and the state legislature not to abandon the tens of thousands of patients in Washington and continue to treat medical marijuana as a public health issue.”

Medical marijuana has been authorized under Washington State law since 1998.

  • Mike

    They should be studying how to ADD home cultivation to the recreational marijuana system.

  • Zino

    this is bullshit

  • kip d. mony

    we wouldn’t want the terminally ill and debilitated people of washington state subverting the taxation system for those who want to get high, now would we?

  • James Knauer

    Wrong-headed. Weed is not booze.

  • RockyMissouri

    This seems cruel and pointless.

    • Dave

      I would say “vindictive”.

      • RockyMissouri

        It’s cruel to do that to people whose pain is helped by cannabis.. Why on earth would somebody want to be vindictive toward them..?

        • Dave

          You’re asking the wrong person; I’m still trying to figure out why this plant was so vilified that it was made illegal in the first place. But maybe this Eileen Cody believes that medical marijuana is a gateway drug to recreational marijuana or something like that…

  • Dave

    We need to claim the right to home cultivation as a basic one. Without that right all cannabis patients and enthusiasts will be beholden to the whim of government.

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  • sean

    I think this is a great thing as long as they continue to supply CBD for others.

  • aaron burrelle

    (This article is 7 months old.) Marijuana is now a marketable commodity in the state of WA. and Colorado, with both medical and recreational values. To expect special privilege because it make me feel better is absurd. Capitalism has brought Cannabis out of the closets, literally, taxation is the next logical step to being main stream. All medication is taxed federal and state. All legal recreational substances are regulated and taxed. SO, tell me What makes Cannabis so special that it should be exempt from taxation? Anyone?

    WAC 458-20-18801 Agency filings affecting this section Prescription drugs, prosthetic and orthotic devices, ostomic items, and medically prescribed oxygen.