Recently lawmakers in our state’s Senate filed legislation, Senate Bill 5887, which would take the medical cannabis industry in our state, and hand it directly over to the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB), which would oversee regulations and licenses. Current collective gardens would have the option of becoming licensed by the WSLCB, or seeing no more than 10 patients a day, a business model that’s not viable for most, if not all collectives currently operating.
As an organization, we fully understand the need to improve upon our current collective garden model, and we’re hard at work attempting to bring defined arrest protection for patients, but we fundamentally disagree with having medicinal cannabis regulated through a board whose sole function has been alcohol. The WSLCB is already in the process of determining how to handle forming a regulatory scheme for recreational cannabis, which is no small task. We don’t need to add anything more to their mix. We also don’t need to be adding a 20% excise tax on medical cannabis growers – as this measure would do – because it will quickly lead to more expensive medicine.
In addition, this legislation would add further restrictions and intrusions on patients. For example, the measure would mandate that any qualified patient under the age of 18 have their licensed renewed four times a year, rather than annually like for those 18 and older. This requirement is unnecessary, unasked for, and would simply add an extra financial burden on parents of terminal ill children who benefit from medical cannabis.
The bill would also forbid doctors from operating clinics that solely give medical recommendations, making it more difficult for patients to become qualified, as even those with terminal illnesses may have difficulty getting a recommendation from a doctor that isn’t known to be “cannabis friendly”.
An additional legal change that this measure would make to the way recommendations are handled is that it would force medical professionals who give authorizations to list it on a person’s medical record, an intrusive and unnecessary move that alters current practices which allows an individual to be a qualified medical marijuana patient, without having it on their permanent medical record for future physicians to see.
We urge residents in Washington State to look up their district’s legislators and ask them to oppose this measure.