Today, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle) announced that she will be filing legislation this week to “align the currently unregulated medical marijuana system and that of the regulated recreational marijuana system”.

As part of this proposal, all current medical cannabis dispensaries would be shut down, patients would be able to apply for a tax-exemption waiver, and the number of licensees allowed under the recreational cannabis market would be increased. In addition, the measure would legalize the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants for everyone 21 and older, while simultaneously decreasing the amount of plants a patient can cultivate from fifteen, to six.

Although we strongly support legalizing the personal cultivation of cannabis for adults, we are adamantly opposed to combining the medical cannabis market with the recreational market. We believe that this will increase prices, decrease access and ultimately put a heavy, unnecessary burden on patients.

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[Update 1/6/2015: House Bill 1024 has received a public hearing date in the House Public Safety Committee, which will occur at 10AM on January 16th at the John L. O’Brien Building in Olympia (504 15th Avenue Southeast).]

House Bill 1024, filed by Representative Sherry Appleton on December 8th, would remove felony charges for the personal possession of illegal substances, reducing the charge to a simple (non-gross) misdemeanor. According to an official fiscal note for an identical bill, the proposal would save the state millions of dollars each year, would free up prison space and would prevent over 9,000 individuals annually from receiving a devastating felony charge. Charges involving distribution or manufacturing drugs, and any charge involving minors, would remain unaltered.

We encourages those who support his proposal to contact their lawmakers, and urge them to support and vote for House Bill 1024. Those who aren’t sure who their district’s lawmakers are can look them up by clicking here.

Defelonizing personal drug possession in Washington State is supported by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Washington CURE and the ACLU of Washington. Legislative supporters include Rep. June Robinson (Assistant Majority Whip), Rep. Luis Moscoso, Rep. Chris Reykdal, Rep. Jim Moeller (Speaker Pro Tempore), Rep. Jessyn Farrell, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (Deputy Majority Whip) and Senator Jeannie Kohl-Welles.

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Drug Sentencing Reform Bill to Be Filed Next Month in Washington State

November 25, 2014

[Update: House Bill 1024 was filed by Representative Appleton on December 8th.] Legislation to remove felony charges for the personal possession of illegal substances will be prefiled in the House of Representatives next month by Rep. Sherry Appleton (D, 23rd District). The proposal, which will be identical to House Bill 2116 from the 2014 session, […]

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Legislation to Defelonize Personal Drug Possession to be Prefiled in December, 2014

May 28, 2014

This December, legislation will be prefiled in the Washington State Legislature to remove felony charges for the the personal possession of illegal substances. Identical to¬†House Bill 2116, a proposal¬†introduced by Sensible Washington in the last legislative session, the measure will be sponsored by Representative Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) in the House and will have multiple cosponsors […]

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Washington State Medical Cannabis Law Defended

March 14, 2014

In a huge victory for patients, Washington’s Legislature has failed to approve any negative changes to the state’s medical cannabis law. House Bill 2149 passed the state’s House of Representatives last month, and Senate Bill 5887 passed the state’s Senate last week. Both measures would have brought forth a mandatory patient registry, drastically reduced the […]

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House Bill 2116 Receives Strong Support in Public Safety Committee, Vote On Defelonization Delayed

February 5, 2014

House Bill 2116, our proposal to defelonize personal drug possession, has received enough support in the House Public Safety Committee to be approved, according to Representative Roger Goodman, Chair of the committee. However, given that it’s a short-session, and the vote would be along party lines, Representative Goodman has decided to postpone a vote for […]

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