jay inslee marijuana washington
Medical Marijuana Policy

Why Governor Jay Inslee Lost My Support After Signing Senate Bill 5052

jay inslee marijuana washington
(via kvi.com)

By Anthony Martinelli

Before TheJointBlog.com launched as a daily cannabis news site in January, 2013, I served as the Campaign Manager for then-Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove, who’s now on the King County Council. I also worked for his political action committee, which purpose is to help elect progressive candidates. During the 2012 election, I spent well over 100 hours – primarily volunteer, though some paid (by the before-mentioned PAC) – helping to get Jay Inslee elected as governor. I believe he generally has strong values, and some great policy positions. But after the signing of Senate Bill 5052, he’s lost my support, and won’t be receiving my time, nor my vote, when running for reelection next year.

I, along with most politically-minded individuals, understand the dangers of single-issue voting. Typically, it’s a bad idea to support or oppose a candidate based on one particular issue. However, the impact that Senate Bill 5052 will have on some of the sickest people in our state – and the clear warning signs that were put forth by countless opponents – make it clear that Governor Inslee is not the right man to lead Washington State.

For those that aren’t aware, Senate Bill 5052 was signed by Governor Inslee on Friday, a day notoriously used for signing potentially controversial legislation, as it will hit the weekend news cycle when less people are paying attention. The proposal will require every medical cannabis dispensary in the state to close by July 1st, 2016. This will put an end to thousands of jobs, in addition to drastically decreasing safe access for patients, who will be required to purchase from recreational cannabis outlets (despite most cities in the state prohibiting them) or rely on the black-market.

Even worse, the bill will make felons overnight out of potentially thousands of patients by reducing their possession limits from twenty ounces, to three, and their cultivation limits from fifteen plants, to six. Patients caught possessing between three and twenty four ounces, or caught growing between seven and fifteen plants – which is legal today – will be committing class C felonies once the law takes effect, and could be imprisoned for up to 5 years. This change is completely disgraceful, and is being made without any legitimate reason (the limits have been in place for roughly 15 years, with no one in the public calling for a change).

Under Senate Bill 5052, patients who don’t join a patient database will only be allowed to possess an ounce, and cultivate up to four plants. Those who do will be placing their name and address on a government-operated list admitting to committing a federal crime. This is in clear violation of federal HIPAA laws, and is also entirely discriminatory as the use of no other medicine requires entry into a database.

Frankly, the entire bill is a disaster, and I’m in complete shock that Governor Inslee would support it (you can find which legislators voted yes by clicking here). The fact that he would sign it into law makes it clear that he does not have the best interest of the public – especially those with serious, debilitating conditions – in mind. He needs to be unelected to make it clear to him and other politicians that unnecessary and devastating legislation such as this will not be tolerated.

I don’t know who it is that will run against Governor Inslee in 2016, and I certainly don’t know if they’ll have my support, but I do know one thing for sure; Governor Inslee no longer does.

  • Closet Smoker

    As a Washington state resident, I am appalled at my state government. As of July 1st, 2016, I will most likely be breaking the law once again. I hope someone will contest this in court. Where is the new initiative for mmj restoration in Washington state, I will sign it.

    • appletart

      any MMJ dispensary should have a ballot and you don’t have to be a patient to sign it, so get EVERYONE you know to sign it!!!!!!

  • Old Gramma

    With this new law, my patient, as well as myself, will no longer be able to grow our own because we will be within the 25 mile limit. Being in Tacoma, I’m restricted by ANY recreational/medical outlet between Seattle and Olympia. We’re screwed! Being on disability incomes, the both of us will have no choice but to suffer our diseases without our medicine. Furthermore, we have to expose ourselves to the database. Not going to happen. HELP!!!

  • Cyndysub

    Too many whores in politics whoring for big business.

  • Sickofyouliars

    “I-502 won’t impact medical cannabis”. That’s the lie we were told when this travesty began to unfold in 2012.
    It’s just more proof that politicians only lie when their lips move.
    Shame on all you lying lawyers and greedy recreational pot purveyors.
    You really stuck it to us patients, didn’t you?
    I hope you’re proud of yourselves and can sleep well at night on your fat bank accounts.

  • Snoflax

    I am disgusted and ashamed of our government here in Washington. Patients have told them time and time again that what we use medically is not the same as what is sold in the I-502 stores. Truth is they do not care about patients, they only care about profits. Allison Holcomb and the LCB cartel knew exactly what they were doing. They knew that if they told the truth about the affect of I-502 on medical marijuana no patients would have voted for it. There are enough medical marijuana patients in this state that if we were to cooperate and band together we can get this ignorant law changed or revoked. My first thought is filing a class action lawsuit against the state before this horrid law can hurt patients. My second is try and overturn I-502. Third we need a candidate of our own, someone who is going to advocate for patients health and well being over greed. Lastly we need to vote out Inslee and all legislators like Ann Rivers who supported this poorly thought out and badly written law.

  • Jill Lanham

    Jay Inslee lost my support as well. I will vote for anyone but him for signing 5052.

  • Pomegranny

    I’d do it over his sin taxing vaping, due to falling sales of cigarettes. And how he threatens to veto any budget that doesn;t raise taxes on everybody but his buddies again.

  • Norconian

    I received a call for support from Inslee’s campaign. I told them the same thing you have said here. I understand Inslee is not a bad guy, but 5052 will have a dramatic affect on patient’s rights. I believe that IF inslee and the HOR had really read this bill, it would not have passed. How can the state punish patients for doing what they have been doing for over 20 years. Draconian.