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Terrible Medical Cannabis Bill Approved By Washington State Senate


washington state marijuana regulationsBy Anthony Martinelli, Sensible Washington

Senate Bill 5887, a proposal to negatively alter (to put it lightly) Washington’s medical cannabis law, has been given approval through the state’s Senate, with a 34 to 15 vote.

A similar proposal, House Bill 2149, was approved through the state’s House of Representatives last month; the bill has since died in committee in the Senate, but its passage is an indication that they may also pass SB 5887.

Here are some of the changes this measure would bring forth:

  • A mandatory patient registry
  • A significant reduction in the amount of cannabis a patient can possess and cultivate
  • A shutdown of all collective gardens and medical cannabis safe access points (only those already registered with the state to sell recreational cannabis would be able to apply for a license to distribute medical cannabis).

Leadership from both chambers of the state’s legislature are expected to work together in the coming days to reach an agreement on this issue, whether it be the House passing Senate Bill 5887, or whether it be them approving an amended version which would go back to the Senate for final approval. Either way, March 13th is the final day of the session, meaning there’s only a few days left for a deal to be made.

It’s now more important than ever that advocates of medical cannabis and patients’ rights come together and demand that lawmakers oppose Senate Bill 5887 and any similar bill!

Please call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000, and look up your district’s lawmakers (so you can call and e-mail them) by clicking here.

We only have a few days left to save medical cannabis in Washington State. Let’s give it all we’ve got!


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Chuck Lenatti on

    you taint your message with your unbalanced “reporting” and unprofessional attacks.

  2. Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ on

    News flash, genius: Marijuana has been federally illegal for the entire 16 years we’ve had it here in Washington. Another news flash: It’s not going anywhere. Get used to it, dumb ass.

  3. Chuck Lenatti on

    If you didn’t have your head so firmly stuck up your ass you’d appreciate that as the DA for the Western District of Washington said, the medical marijuana market in Washington is untenable. If you’re happy with an unregulated, anything goes business, you need to accept the consequences. I’m not blaming sick people, I’m blaming all those people who took advantage of the disarray to make money. Are you saying that all the marijuana produced in the state is going to legitimate patients? What are you smoking, brother? Even under 502, WA patients will be better off than just about any medical cannabis patients in the country.

  4. Chuck Lenatti on

    let’s see, no rules, no accountability, and no idea how many people are using or how much. Is that your idea of a well regulated industry? If people expect medical cannabis to be treated seriously, they have to accept some responsibility. If not, you’re just peddling snake oil.

  5. All propaganda is phoney on

    In a unanimous ruling, the California Supreme Court has affirmed an appeals court ruling throwing out statewide limits on the possession and cultivation of medical marijuana.
    Overruling the appeals court decision, the Court left in place a voluntary ID card program that protects patients from arrest, citing a similar ruling in San Diego NORML, supra 165 Cal.App.4th.
    The Compassionate Use Act (CUA), passed as Prop. 215 by the voters in November 1996, contained no limits on the amount of marijuana a patient or caregiver may possess or cultivate. Courts have left open the “amount reasonably related to his or her medical needs.” However, the CUA protects patients against prosecution only, not arrest.
    Under SB420, which set up the state MMP (Medical Marijuana Program), patients who voluntarily register for a state-issued ID card are protected against arrest. The court left the ID card program in place, while throwing out the 8-oz., 6 mature or 12 immature plant statewide limits. Those limits were overridden by several counties and cities across the state, as the law allowed.
    The defendant, Patrick Kelly, who has hepatitis C, chronic back pain, and cirrhosis, was arrested in October of 2005 for possessing 12 ounces and cultivating 7 plants at his home in Lakewood, California. Kelly was convicted a year later by a jury, which concluded that he had exceeded the state-imposed limits. California’s Second Appellate District Court overturned Kelly’s conviction on the grounds that legislatively-imposed limits on possession and cultivation of medical marijuana are an unconstitutional restriction to a voter approved initiative.
    Both parties in the case, Kelly and the State Attorney General, agreed that medical marijuana limits should be abolished as unconstitutional, and both agreed that the limits should be enforced for “those persons who voluntarily participate in the program by registering and obtaining ID cards.” But the court left the second question open. According to a press release from Americans for Safe Access, “Advocates remain concerned that without guidance on personal use amounts, police may abuse their discretion to arrest patients who are in compliance with the law.”
    “This ruling reinforces the status quo,” said Dale Gieringer of California NORML. Gieringer interprets the ruling to mean patients will still have a “safe harbor” against arrest if they follow the stated guidelines, and can argue for any medically necessary amount in court.
    The court affirmed this. “Whether or not a person entitled to register under the MMP elects to do so, that individual, so long as he or she meets the definition of a patient or primary caregiver under the CUA, retains all the rights afforded by the CUA. Thus, such a person may assert, as a defense in court, that he or she possessed or cultivated an amount of marijuana reasonably related to meet his or her current medical needs, without reference to the specific quantitative limitations specified by the MPP.”

  6. All propaganda is phoney on

    San Diego County, which is required by California law to issue ID cards to legally qualified medical marijuana patients, had challenged the state law, claiming it was preempted by federal anti-marijuana statutes (a claim that had never even made by the federal government, despite its opposition to medical marijuana). San Bernardino County had joined the litigation. The preemption claim was firmly rejected by every court that reviewed the case. The California 4th District Court of Appeals wrote in its unanimous ruling, “Congress does not have the authority to compel the states to direct their law enforcement personnel to enforce federal laws.” After the California Supreme Court refused to hear San Diego’s appeal, the counties went to the U.S. Supreme Court with its claim of federal supremacy, and the U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear the case.

  7. All propaganda is phoney on

    The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by San Diego and San Bernardino Counties that challenged the validity of California’s medical marijuana laws today, putting to rest a common objection by medical marijuana opponents that federal law overrides states medical marijuana laws.

    “The Supreme Court and the lower courts in California have blown away the myth that federal law somehow prevent states from legalizing medical marijuana,” said Rob Kampia, executive director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Opponents can no longer hide behind federal law in order to excuse their war on medical marijuana patients.”

  8. libertyanyday on

    back underground it goes…….. freakin pols are absolutely the most uninformed dangerous twits.

  9. Why do we need to know how many patients are using medical marijuana? Do we know how many people take synthetic pain relievers or other medications? I don’t believe we do and I don’t believe that is anyone’s business. Don’t be mad because WA state figured out how to run a smooth operation WITHOUT being regulated to the same extreme as OR has.
    I know personally how the collectives and dispensaries work and how hard they work to regulate themselves. The owners have pretty much come together and figured out a way to stay legit and protect themselves and the patients that go to them. If you were to go into a collective or a dispensary here in this state you might find that out for yourself.
    It’s a pity to see such anger and ignorance in someone who seems to have a lot to say, just to bad you don’t really seem to make much sense. :(

  10. Yes, please help us point out and close down the bad ones. But you desire to close the good ones as well. How very sad.

  11. Apparently you suffer from a lack of education. True, you did not say all, but you did not qualify by saying “a significant amount” leaving the impression your opinion is “all”.

    So you’re not a math major either? LCB numbers are that 25% of demand is consumers under 21, which they give up to the black market. The original projections were for 13% of rec demand over 21. 13%+25% equals 48% so in the first year LCB LEAVES 52% to the black market.

    LCB limits the number of retail licenses, Please provide the link to apply for new slots once the current number is filled. I read 502 several times over a five hour period and was at the first press conference BTW. That ability is in the LCB rulemaking. Please cite section and subsection in 502 to support your claim. 692 did not authorize safe access points and dispensaries are illegal under state law. Please supply the location of anyone operating as a “dispensary”. The language is not in I-692 (1998). The current storefront system came into being from grey areas of law in 2010.

    They did not have ” the opportunity to apply for license just like everyone else.” These are not “quasi legal collective gardens hiding behind mmj”, they are mmj operations serving patients that have no interest in serving rec users.

    BTW, I did not use all caps. I used them in two places to rap you on the noggin to see if you pay attention. Typing from a position of ignorance shows that you are in fact a loser.

  12. Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ on

    If you’d work on your reading comprehension, you’d know that all of those things are Gov. Christine Gregoire’s fault, for not signing a bill that would have fixed all of that.

    But go ahead and keep blaming chronically ill people for being medical marijuana patients; you seem to really enjoy that, you sick fuck.

  13. Chuck Lenatti on

    Growers, processers and retailers from the mmj community are free to apply for licenses. If they have their stuff together they should be approved. The 1998 mmj law never authorized dispensaries and therefore would never have passed muster with the DoJ’s mandate for a “well-regulated” industry. How would you imagine the DoJ would sign off on a system where unlike every other mmj state, WA patients dont even need to register? Youve got to be practical about this and appreciate that unless WA has its mj act together, the Feds will shut it down.

  14. Chuck Lenatti on

    There currently is no mmj system. If there was youd be able to tell how many patients there are and how much mj is being produced. The current “system” is a joke, just like you. But guess what? Its done and the mj market will be out in the open and the harsh disinfectant of sunlight will expose the shady operaters. How very sad.

  15. Chuck Lenatti on

    Apparently you either suffer from ADD or you can’t read. I did not say all mmj is a cover for the black market, but a significant amount certainly is. That black market herb is not coming in from Nova Scotia. Also, the amount of production was reduced by 30%, not 50%. do you need a link for that? Numbers are not as you ignorantly rant, set. LCB is aiming for 25% of the market in the first year. Have someone read I 502 to you. Theres room in the legislation to expand and contract in response to the market. None of the”stores” in Seattle are legal. Find me the text in the 1998 mmj legislation that authorizes dispensaries. LCB is bringing sanity to the mj market in WA, which is the only way it will fly with the DoJ. The big losers here will be the quasi legal collective gardens hiding behind mmj. They had the opportunity to apply for license just like everyone else. BTW, typing all caps just makes you look like a loser.

  16. Only a fool would conclude that ALL mmj in WA is a cover for black market diversion. As to your other position, I suggest you actually read 502 and the LCB implementation of same. As for growers, the recently cut in half the amount to be supplied. How would that let “illicit” growers apply for spots that don’t exist. 502 stores numbers are set as well. Seattle alone has over 300, about what is allowed statewide. Sure they can apply, BUT THERE IS NO LICENSE AVAILABLE TO THEM ALL! I see signs of weakness and ignorance in you.

  17. Not so Chuck, having visited hundreds of safe access points that share what we call “best practices” that are in the best interests of the patient, the public and the operation itself. These are not codified in law, but could be. Bad players are known and bad authorizations refused. The discretion of law enforcement was to support the intent of the People, which was that Cannabis patients should be able to obtain it so they less suffer. The DoJ has not acted in 15 years, apparently silent except in cases where the limits were exceeded.Does every patient need 24 oz and is some being diverted to the black market? YES! Those are the cases Law enforcement and the DoJ goes after.

  18. Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ on

    Thanks for cluelessly writing my favorite sentence of the day, blowhard… LOL!

    “First of all, ad hominem attacks are a sign of ignorance and weakness, and youre an asshole for taking that approach.” LMAO :-D

    I noticed you ignored the fact that the current system has provided safe access for patients since 1998. I’m not surprised by that.

  19. Chuck Lenatti on

    First of all, ad hominem attacks are a sign of ignorance and weakness, and youre an asshole for taking that approach. Second only a fool would conclude that mmj in WA isnt a cover for black market diversion. Theres nothing preventing currently illicit operations from applying for grower, processor and retail licenses under 502 if they have nothing to hide

  20. Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ on

    Funny how medical marijuana in Washington suddenly became a “crisis” supposedly in need of federal intervention after 502 was passed (at least if we listen to clueless blowhards like yourself), when the system has been working just fine at providing safe access for patients since 1998.

  21. Chuck Lenatti on

    In lieu of government regulations, the so called medical mj industry did nothing to regulate itself. Just about anyone could get a care givers recommendation for any reason. The dispensaries were a legal fiction and were never authorized under mmj in 1998. They only stayed open thanks to the discretion of law enforcement. The DoJ would have shut down recreational in a heartbeat if it did not reform medical, which apparently would have been of little consequence to the mmj community, who were one of the strongest opponents to 502. Are you under the impression that every mj patient required 1 1/2 lbs of mj? I guess none of that was being diverted to the black market and being sold illegally. Lets get real here. Medical mj in WA is a fiasco and is largely self inflicted.

  22. Chuck Lenatti on

    If Washington medical was serious about creating a legal framework, they could have started that long ago, since medical was legalized in Washington in 1998. Instead they created a wild west atmosphere where no one knows how many patients, personal grows or collective gardens there are in the state, let alone how much cannabis is being produced and consumed. If medical is cut back or dismantled in Washington, they have no one to blame but themselves, IMO.

  23. Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ on

    Oregon still has those rules and limits, and they just legalized dispensaries, USING THOSE RULES.

    Nobody is talking about federal raids there — because the state adopted those limits, AS WASHINGTON SHOULD HAVE DONE.

  24. Chuck Lenatti on

    The DoJ said it will refrain from obstructing a well-regulated cannabis market in states where voters have approved recreational use. In what sense was the medical marijuana industry ever a well-regulated market? Unlike the other 19 states that have medical marijuana, Washington patients were never required to register and were allowed to possess 1 1/2 pounds of cannabis and 15 plants. Multiply that by at least 10 for collective grows and you have a small farm of 150 plants. Some patients may require a pound and a half of medicinal marijuana, but it’s very likely that much of it was ending up on the black market. No one even knows how many patients or collective grows exist in the state. How was this ever going to pass muster with the feds?

  25. look up “entourage effect”, and research the reasons Mecoulam didnt discover the “active ingredient”(THC) until 150 years AFTER the discovery and isolation of morphine from the poppy. And please,using a name like “”bongstar420” makes the rest of us tokers look kind of dumb,if youre using it to ask dumb questions.

  26. Why don’t you guys complain about how patients can’t grow their own Morphine? It’s the same issue IMO

  27. Sensible Washington on

    Update: Although the Senate approved Senate Bill 5887 on Saturday, advocates were able to secure some positive changes (through
    amendments) before the bill was passed. Here are some of the changes that
    were made to the measure:

    – The amount
    of plants a patient could cultivate was raised to 6 at any stage of

    – A patient would be able to grow for themselves, and still serve as a designated provider.

    – Collective gardens of up to 4 patients would be allowed.

    – Patients’ “affirmative defenses” would be retained until April 2016,
    rather than next July, giving advocates two full sessions to pass
    legislation retaining these defenses without having to join a registry
    (after April 2016, a patient will only receive legal defenses if they
    join a mandatory patient registry).

    – Healthcare professionals would be authorized to sell cannabis topical directly to patients if they’re low in THC.

    Although these changes improve the bill, we must continue to do all we
    can to stop it from passing the House. Please call the legislative
    hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and ask our state’s lawmakers to oppose Senate
    Bill 5887!

  28. You might want to research the medical law in Colorado before you move there. They have a patient registry. Grows limited to 6 plants–3 flowering. Two ounce possession limit. And more.

  29. All propaganda is phoney on

    “Tier 1 may grow…” What if you have no desire to admit to the Feds that you are producing and dealing in a controlled substance? What if registering as a commercial grower causes a person to lose their job? If you ever decided to apply for a job with any tech companies or government contractors, one quick internet search and you are disqualified for most corporate jobs out there.

    You sold out the medical community Allison. You PROMISED that I-502 would not affect medical marijuana. Now you tour the country and abroad boasting about how you have engineered everything and killed the medical community here.

    90% of the medical growers don’t want anything to do with the recreational market, not even as “medical only growers”. We enjoy experimenting and working with patients to come up with the specific combinations of cannabinoids they need. When experimenting, have a lots of failures. Is crop loss covered in your seed to sale system? Every proposed change to the 1998 law has your signature on it, and the only reason to destroy medical is that you know the retail system will fail to compete having a compounding 75% excise tax. Colorado’s retail is taxed at a total of 25%, 15% excise and 10% sales tax. It is ony March and they have already doubled their projected 2013 tax revenues. There is absolutely no way that a gram of cannabis will retail for $10 +sales tax. It is almost double that in CO with only a 25% tax. $30 to $40 is more likely.

    Colorado gave up on the seed to sale tracking, because they found it was not feasible. Retail sales here are due to start in June. Has anyone even tested the tracking system here? 334 stores statewide, with an unknown amount that might carry medical grade is a joke. For many patients a trip to get 3 oz might take a day of travel. If it is for patient who use high doses of concentrates. they will be forced to make that trip everyday to maintain their supply of meds.

    Last point I would like to make. Have you given any thoughts to the patients and children with epilepsy, MS and cancer? You cannot control of treat any of those conditions, much less cure them, by being limited to 3 oz at a time. Cancer patients can consume more than 1 gram of Rick Simpson Oil a day, and that takes more than 3 oz of flower to make. Get real. The proposed changes are going to kill a lot of kids and adults.
    Thank you very much.

  30. Come on, Steve. You know there aren’t even enough of us NORML folks to play a hand of bridge (your comment) so how could we be THAT influential?

    Are you going to let the people know that 5887 was amended so that it is no longer the primary care doctor?
    Looks like the way it was written you are placed on the registry by your health care provider but then you can request removal from the registry. So the registry is voluntary, at least for now.

    What’s Colorado’s medical law like? Med users can grow 6 plants, 3 of which can be flowering and there is a two ounce possession limit. Keith Henson, Pierce County NORML

  31. All propaganda is phoney on

    While it seems Colorado’s vision of ‘legalization” is moving forward, Washington’s version seems to be a battleground.Colorado chose to make cannabis available to the general public through existing medical cannabis access points before expanding the system. This made sense, as the access points there where already regulated.Washington state has chosen the opposite route, but the motivation seems to be more about money than getting things right. Governor Gregoire’s veto of the very sections of the bill that would have put regulations into place on medical cannabis are now being pointed to a reason to gut the law passed by citizens initiative in 1998.Although the State Liquor Control Board which is overseeing the implementation of Initiative 502 states that the first year supply will be less than 13% of expected recreational demand, they have recommended and lawmakers are considering changing the language under which most medical access points operate in an effort to close them and redirect medical cannabis patients to the 502 licensed stores. The LCB also states that 25% of recreational demand will be from those less than 21 years old who will only be able to buy illegally.
    But rather than direct efforts against the Black Market, the lawmakers have chosen to believe that ‘medical cannabis is the biggest threat’ to the success of I-502 and that ‘90% of medical cannabis patients are faking’ just to get high.That this premise has not been raised since 1998 is telling. The People made medical use the law and for years the only problems came from those that violated the spirit and intent, which was to ease peoples suffering. Now they are described as fakers, black marketeers and a threat if allowed to continue to grow and possess the limits established in 2008 after careful consideration by stakeholder groups and put into law.Many patients are either physically unable, do not have the space or other resources or are simply brown thumbs when it comes to growing for themselves. These are the patients that the collective garden models serve. The residential collective gardens typically consist of a few people sharing resources and talent to provide for all. The “commercial” collective’s share a wider range of resources with larger networks of patients. These are the access points where patients can obtain their medicine for a donation compensates the collective’s for their time and other expenses in making the medicine available. Allowed 15 plants and 24 ounces, it is proposed to reduce that to 6 plants and 3 ounces.
    It is likely that the LCB licensed stores will not carry some medical strains or that they may be bought out by recreational consumers. If this happens, patients who would have had relief will suffer instead so that the state can collect taxes. Few are aware the 25% tax applies at 3 levels and is compounded to an effective 95 3/8% rate before a sales tax is added. These are costs few patients can afford and other needs they have will go wanting.
    Washington State’s effort at legalization of recreational cannabis use will move forward, but lawmakers would do well to leave medical use alone and focus on making recreational work on its own legs before closing down what is place and serving the needs of so many patients.
    But what about the general public? Colorado’s law allows home growing of 6 plants for personal recreational use. Home growing is still illegal for the public in Washington. Allowing home growing gives people control over what is in the cannabis they consume. Money not spent in those stores will still be spent, but at the discretion of the people into the legitimate economy, not directly to state coffers.

  32. Only a politician would restrict medical access for the purpose of taxation and not see anything slimy about that.

  33. Please read the amendments before you tell people things that are untrue. I am not a fan of this bill but it did get amended to allow for collectives and also to allow for 15 plants in any stage of growth for patients (the same we have now) before it passed the senate. Check out the health before happyhour website for a rundown of the changes to the bill from the 9 amendments.

  34. Hundreds of thousands of residents involved to pass a law over 15 years ago, and destroyed by a small group of greedy politicians. That’s dempcracy in action !

  35. Chris Bornstedt on

    Trippy Tim, people are already packing and getting ready to leave and the cartels have left Colorado and are on their way here where medical patient’s are waiting with open arms to welcome them to the State!

  36. We are assembling patients from all around the state to rally against this bill tomorrow. We’ll there starting at 8am tomorrow to let our legislators know just how angry we are. They can’t afford to pay for k-12 education in this state, but they’re OK spending over $2,000,000 on a patient registry that no one will sign up for. Since this law forces you to get your recommendation from you primary care doctor, no one will be able to get a recommendation! This is truly an evil bill and was a direct result of I-502, and the work of NORML and Alison Holcomb. NORML has refused to comment on the bill.

    This is a Republican Senate bill and it will have to pass the Democratic House with a 2/3 majority, so we do have a chance to defeat this bill. Hopefully tomorrow’s rally will change some minds in the House.

  37. We’ve been warning about this I-502 madness for years, while getting laughed at, now it is time for the blind I-502 proponents to feel the heat of their actions regarding this cause (or lack thereof).

    Unfortunately the ones who will suffer the most are the ones who need a lot of cannabis, and cannabis for a cheaper price to maintain quality of life.

  38. Yikes :/
    I was planning on moving to Seattle in May i hope they fix this Madness

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