Washington State Wants to Eliminate Medical Marijuana Co-Ops, Bring Patients Under Tighter Control

dreamsjung/Flickrdreamsjung/FlickrTwo bills in the Washington state legislature aim to "reconcile" the state's medical and recreational marijuana marketsThe Associated Press reports. An attempt to cut back on bureaucracy or make a patchwork of competing regulations easier to follow? Not so much. The measures would put tighter restrictions on medical marijuana patients and dispensaries, which currently operate as cooperatives. Small business owners like Loaded Soda's Dave Kois think the moves amount to little more than a money grab by the state. 

"They see medical as a threat to their tax money on the recreational side," said Kois, who grows marijuana high in the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory cannabis compound cannabidiol and low in THC (the compound that gets you stoned). He told AP that medical and recreational marijuana are "two separate systems and they should stay that way."

Staying that way would mean operating under a bifurcated regulatory scheme that considers medical marijuana dispensaries "collective gardens," wherein patients pool resources to grow and distribute medical weed. These medical pot collectives are freer from state regulation than folks dealing in recreational marijuana, who must be licensed by the state. 

The measures (House Bill 2149 and Senate Bill 5887) under consideration by Washington legislators would eliminate these collective gardens, naturally. To stay in existence, current medical marijuana co-ops and dispensaries would have to get licensed by the state or shut down. The bills—one of which has passed the House and is awaiting a Senate hearing; the other awaiting a vote in the state Senate Ways & Means Committee—would also place further restrictions on medical marijuana. 

Both bills look to reduce the amount of marijuana and number of plants patients can possess, and would do away with collective gardens by the middle of next year. They would also establish a patient registry that would provide medical marijuana patients with an authorization card that would grant them a sales tax break on medical marijuana purchased at authorized stores. Both allow stores to have a medical endorsement to sell medical along with recreational marijuana and also allow an option for endorsed retail stores to solely serve medical marijuana patients. Rivers' bill requires the Liquor Control Board, which is overseeing implementation of I-502, to consider the needs of patients in determining the number of retail licenses issued. Currently, the board has limited recreational retail licenses to 334 across the state, for which there are currently more than 2,000 applications.

Medical marijuana patients have, quite understandably, been decrying the potential changes. Some fear that buying in the recreational weed market will be more expensive and lead to a low supply of low-THC strains of marijuana. The bills would also severely curtail the amount of marijuana patients can possess, from 24 ounces to 3 ounces, and the number of plants they can grow, from 15 to six (though both would allow health care professionals to authorize more if deemed necessary). Washington lawmakers claim these measures are necessary in order to keep the federal government from stepping in.

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  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Washington State Wants to Eliminate ---(insert business or practice here)--, Bring ---(insert group of people here)--- Under Tighter Control

    From what I hear from people who live there you can just hang on to that template.

  • SIV||

    In b4 Tulpa...

    FUCK

  • Ron Paul's Balls||

    24 ounces is an amazing amount of weed.

    The medical guys should fight like hell to keep their liberty.

    Let the Washington legislature explain to the parents of children with Dravet's syndrome--who are plagued by dozens of seizures a day, leading to developmental retardation that they aren't paying enough taxes.

    It's important that the legislators in Washington State go fuck themselves.

    Episiarch, I leave it to you to fix this. Don't let me down.

  • ||

    Consider yourself let down.

  • Duke Trshmnstr of Stench||

    I hope you let Ron Paul's balls down gently

  • Paul.||

    Here's what happens when Washington state lets people be free:

    State lawmakers spent last week looking at ways to address problems left from the voter-approved initiative to privatize liquor sales.

    [...]

    All liquor retailers, including supermarkets and big-box stores, now have to pay a quarterly license-issuance fee equal to 17 percent of all their liquor sales, a provision in the initiative to bring more money back to state and local governments.

    [...]

    Washington customers pay a liquor sales tax that’s five times the national average, driving sales to other states. Idaho’s liquor division says stores there gained an additional $10 million from Washington customers last year.

    All of those problems when we got the state out of the liquor business? If that's "getting the state out" of the business, I can't imagine what it would look like if Washington State Government decided to bring the Boom Hand down.

    Tax us, regulate us, set us free!

    http://seattletimes.com/html/p.....llxml.html

  • ||

    And they keep creeping up the already insane liquor taxes too. When the fuck are people going to get fed up? I don't even buy much liquor any more solely because of the taxes. Fuck them. Beer and wine will do fine.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The law turned you away from hard liquor?

  • RoyMix||

    Here in Idaho we love WA liquor taxes, the state of Idaho made $10 million more from its state liquor stores last year from people driving across the border, and that is just Spokane, Clarkston, and Pullman, well mostly Pullman...

  • pan fried wylie||

    though both would allow health care professionals to authorize more if deemed necessary

    As long as those health care professionals don't mind losing their licenses when people go pot-doc-shopping.

  • Etherhuffer||

    The MJ business is a croc. Medically needed or not, the whole thing lets quack docs write rx's and prevents legit docs from venturing into areas that can help people. If I had a buck for every pointless request for a medical MJ script I get asked for, I would be rich. People like to get stoned. Let them. Some very sick and some very unique people need this drug. They should get it, but not because some medical MJ wants state protection for his profits. WA state has hosed up both alcohol and MJ.

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