Support House Bill 2233 to Protect Medical Cannabis

January 22, 2014

Legislation to protect medical cannabis patients and collectives has been filed in Washington’s House of Representatives.

Under the proposed law  (House Bill 2233) medical cannabis patients would receive defined arrest protection, as would medical cannabis collectives who simply receive a business license from the state. The measure was formulated by Sensible Washington in conjunction with Americans for Safe Access.

The measure is sponsored by State Representatives Sherry Appleton, and is cosponsored by Representatives Luis Moscoso, Roger Freeman (Vice Chair of the Early Learning and Human Services Committee) and Jessyn Farrell (Assistant Majority Whip).

House Bill 2233 has been assigned to the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.

This bill is necessary given that under current Washington State law, medical cannabis patients are awarded a simple “affirmative defense”, meaning that they can technically still be charged with a crime even if they’re within the state’s legal limits.

A different proposal – House Bill 2149 – has also been assigned to the House Health Care & Wellness Committee; we are opposed to this proposal, given that it would – for no legitimate reason – remove patients’ rights, such as reducing the cultivation limit to 3 plants, down from 15, and forcing all patients to join a mandatory registry to receive legal protection. The proposal also calls for an end to collective gardens.

House Bill 2233, however, would result in no reduction in protections for patients, and would provide them with defined arrest protection, with no requirement of joining a registry. The current possession limit of 24 ounces, and the cultivation limit of 15 plants, would remain unaltered.

The full text for House Bill 2233 can be viewed by clicking here.

Those in Washington State who support protecting medical cannabis patients should call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 , and urge lawmakers to support House Bill 2233. They should also contact Representative Eileen Cody (360-786-7978), Chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, and urge her to give House Bill 2233 a public hearing, and a fair chance at passage.

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