Jan 222015
 January 22, 2015

Sensible Washington i502By Sensible Washington

On Tuesday, 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.

A similar proposal (though one that features quite a few differences), Senate Bill 5052, has already been filed in the Senate by Senator Ann Rivers (R-La Center), and has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Health Care.

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.

Even with a change in the licensing structure, it would likely take years before the recreational cannabis market would be in a position to provide proper access for the entirety of patients in our state. Medical cannabis dispensaries operating throughout Washington should be reasonably regulated, and given the opportunity to be licensed under the state. It would be a regressive move to shut these locations down, giving them no opportunity to continue providing for their patients, simply to bolster the recreational cannabis industry.

We appreciate the approach of providing a tax-exemption for patients, but requiring them to receive a waiver is yet another unnecessary burden. Medical cannabis should be tax-free to qualifying patients under all circumstances. We also feel that there’s no legitimate reason to reduce the amount of cannabis a patient can cultivate.

Overall we remain opposed to any legislation that would make life more difficult for those with serious, debilitating conditions, as we believe this proposal would do.

We encourage those who agree with us to contact Senate Kohl-Welles (contact information can be found by clicking here) and urge her to support amending the proposal to no longer reduce the cultivation limit for patients, to no longer mandate the closure of all medical cannabis dispensaries and to no longer combine the medical cannabis system with the recreational cannabis system.

If you’re a resident of Washington it would also be prudent to contact your district’s senator (you can look up who that is here) to ask them to oppose these changes.



About Johnny Green

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  165 Responses to “Why We Oppose Newly Announced Legislation To Combine Cannabis Markets”


    Well you wanted “tax and regulate”. And the politicians are doing just that. Ah. You were hoping to get the taxes and regulations you favor? It doesn’t work that way. Everybody who dreams of government programs thinks of what it will be like in the absolute best case. What you really get is some one else’s rules and an army of enforcers.

    No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes.


      True dat…

      Would someone please explain to me why the med patients have to give up nine of their plants in order for rec users to have six?

      Why is it the government’s damn business what I grow on my own property, anyway?


    Thanks for the post, Johnny. I also see no reason to shut down medical cannabis dispensaries, reduce cultivation limits, or combine medical and recreational systems. Here’s hoping this one get’s amended or thrown out, I’ll definitely be contacting her!


    There’s no auto-waiver for people who currently have a medical authorization. I’d have to go through the whole thing again. Hell, I’m on disability. I can’t afford all that. >.<


      yep me too every year first one was 375.00 secod was 200 next was 150 next 200 again and then SNAP jumped in a dropped the cost to 50 but I don’t qualify for SNAP this year so probably 200 again.a whole months social security if I didn;t have a janitorial job I would not be able to buy this license.
      some folks say well your a grower… right … I grow my medicine because I cannot afford to have anyone grow it for me. but cannot sell or give away that extra growth and without dispensaries I have no market but the street. and that is what masturbation artists like A CID’s EX want.
      what I want is a fair market for my extra with a stable location to deliver it to and set return values


      It really doesn’t make any sense.


      It’s likely that when your card comes up for renewal you would submit the waiver form at the same time. No mention of having to pay an additional fee.


        Washington has no cards. Although dispensaries (as of now) accept patient authorizations mainly for their own and a patients protection. This, because, as known, Washington’s dispensaries are thus far, unregulated. California if it were to legalize in 2016 (my guess they won’t) would be facing these same issues that Washington is dealing with now. Just because these bills are submitted doesn’t mean they’ll be voted on nor passed. Washington’s legislator’s have punted this political hot potato on down the road several times already. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to me if they do so once again. Then, as before, nothing changes.


    If the tax exempt was automatic from the list of current mmj people, the mmj dispensaries were given an easier path to go recreational, and keep the current limit on mmj growers then i’d like this.


      Respectfully, just so you’re aware (as all state MMJ laws vary) In Washington, a medical marijuana patient list (a.k.a. as a patient registry) is not required under Washington’s 1998 mmj law, nor does one exist. The idea of throwing all current MMJ authorizations out ( without offering any opportunity for peer review) seems excessive and harsh, not to mention expensive for many very sick currently authorized medical patients. Thanks.


      problem is Johnny there is a serious quantity ability for corporate growers compared to home grows in the back yard of 6 plants. possibly upwards of 60 pounds……corporate wants to remove the back yard so they have the only legal garden space synthetically indoor so they control the exorbitant costs of producing synthetic produce.


    Personally I think this is great news. Sorry for the MMJ patients but all citizens deserve a level playing field and a right to cultivate.


      “Sorry for the MMJ patients”. It’s this tone. This utter lack of compassion shown toward sick persons that has turned many MMJ patients away from being recreational supporter’s. If people that hate medical patients and the ill would simply turn it down a notch, they wouldn’t sound so much like 1938 jack-booted Nazi’s and the two sides could possibly work together. I’m not working with fascist’s on anything.


      This is why you’re idiotic comment does not even register in reality anywhere………
      one the very first reason : cannabis shops require special security which is expensive to install.proximity to schools and in some areas other liquior stores
      two: since dispensaries have already been established (in Oregon) with this security in mind the recreational sales will fall under the medical facility location and management of the OLCC..simply because it will be cost effective ….Now where doe your stupid idea have any impact? all your shuffling around A CID’s Ex has brought you directly to the front door of the same facility and a tax label under a glass counter marked medical and recreational, you will pay for your attitude because the only good growers will be mom and pops back yard six plant wonders it is ours because we worked for it those of us that know the medicine know how stupid ignorant innocent folks get hooked on pot how they waste themselves in a dream and gradually become a stalactite. that is the one that hangs from the ceiling.
      right? okay recreational use of cannabis is unsafe.
      THINK ABOUT IT or are you to stoned already?
      people that want recreational should be introduced to extreme medical grade cannabis right from the start first time out of the box a 7 layer sativa compound rolled in a 2.5 gram cigar and be forced to smoke 7 of these everyday just to stay functionally calm. and when 6 months goes past like 6 days you will understand why people that use cannabis regularly don’t get high. they are high and calm and functional. so yeah just fuck yourself and get me some more papers before your get your hands all sweaty typing again.puffer


        Special security? For the equivalent of milk weed? Or dandelions? No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes.


          well the institutions ‘THINK” dollar signs and criminal activity NOSCHOOL ZONES and collect everyone id…. (security)
          pot being such a dangerous vegetable and all don’t cha know?


      Here is the proper level: No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes.


    So the idea is to close the operating shops and have new shops open up as recreational? So those old medical shops are just SOL for the business they’ve been running? I mean, even if they can apply to sell recreational, during the closure interim they would lose money. How do they know they’d be able to maintain their lease with the landlord during this time? Seems like a way to shut everybody down and hope few or none come back as recreational.


    fuck you and your idea of level and I am not playing “a cids ex.”


    No more marijuana apartheid. Quit forcing consumers without a doctor’s permission slip to shop at the colored marijuana shops.

    What medical marijuana supporters forget is that medical marijuana was a stop-gap measure, a way to get the sick and dying off the battlefield of the war between drugs. And we marijuana consumers of better health willingly sat in the back of the bus, supporting every medical marijuana law we could vote for, approving laws that allowed the frailest consumers to grow lots of marijuana and have their own unregulated tax-free marijuana storefronts, while we were still being arrested and given lifelong criminal records to the tune of about 5,000 per year.

    We watched then as “frailest” turned into any 19-year-old who can form a sentence for a “doctor” taking $45 a head in a tent at Hempfest to get their permission slip. Then we watched as finally, after fourteen years of winking and nudging at medical use, we got our shot at no longer being treated like criminals, only to see the “frailest” openly campaign to maintain our criminal status by opposing I-502.

    War’s over, folks. No marijuana consumers in Washington State faces arrest for their marijuana use. That permission slip from your doctor (which never did protect you from arrest, merely provided an affirmative defense once you got to court) is no longer necessary.

    Here we have a bill that would finally rectify the fact that 90% of marijuana consuming adults get to grow zero plants by increasing that to six, and the medical folks want to wail that they’re being reduced from fifteen to six. But folks, how the hell are the cops ever going to know you’re growing more than six? Back when 90% of us couldn’t grow, there existed a probable cause to get a warrant if there was any evidence of growing taking place – a seed, a stem, trips to the grow store, the smell of a fresh grow, etc. With this bill, those probable causes will not exist! (Besides, if the complaint is that a sick person might have to risk a felony to grow the amount of weed he needs, are you expecting that to garner sympathy from the rest of us who’ve risked felonies for growing a single plant?)

    As for the existing “dispensaries”, the culmination of a wink-and-nudge process that first was “one caregiver for one patient at a time” as the line of patients runs out the door of the dispensary, which then became “a collective garden” as the line of patients runs out the door of the dispensary, sorry, if there are going to be rules for commercial marijuana, they have to be consistent, otherwise we continue the winking-and-nudging as most marijuana consumers would much rather have their permission-slip-holding friend buy them tax-free marijuana at a convenient location than drive out of their way to a colored pot shop where the weed costs $20/gram.

    I’d amend this bill a little – I wouldn’t close the existing dispensaries; instead, keep them open and give them a pathway to getting their licenses and inspections necessary to be a legal I-502 shop. What’s the point of shutting them down if they’re only going to be allowed to open sometime again in the future? I like Kohl-Welles reducing taxes and setting them at the production level; creating a medical registry and having its card be a tax rebate at the point of sale seems fair to me. I’d even be OK with allowing for an exception system that allows certain patients to grow more than six plants.

    But the idea of preserving as much of the clusterfuck that is Washington’s medmj system is just untenable. Don’t blame recreational legalization for Washington’s patient woes – blame Washington patient activists who loved the wink-wink-nudge-nudge system and worked hard to push its envelope and blame the cowardly ex-Governor who line-vetoed the system that could have prevented all this hassle. One Plant, One People, One Law.


      This is easily one of the most brilliant things I have read, Russ. Thank you for putting it way more eloquently than I ever could have.


        Only you’d think so. You two should get married.


        I like some of the ideas in this, actually, but the tone needs work. It’s accusatory and simultaneously demeaning. It implies massive wide-spread abuse of the system to the point where anybody using MMJ is suspected of simply wanting to smoke weed–“We watched then as “frailest” turned into any 19-year-old who can form a
        sentence for a “doctor” taking $45 a head in a tent at Hempfest to get
        their permission slip.”

        Well, not for nothing but I had to go to a damn doctors office and get a physical exam. They checked out my medical history, I designated a new primary care physician, etc. etc. I’ve never even been to Hempfest, my social anxiety won’t let me get close to that many people.

        You’re going to alienate so many of us with that tone that most of us will miss your ideas. I promise you that.


          Sean, in all fairness, can we agree that what Russ said has actually occurred? Perhaps it is not wide-spread but it does occur quite a bit. It’s not some urban myth. And what’s sad is that those people made it much harder for the real patients in need.

          We can’t stick our heads in the sand and ignore it. Many of the same excuses used to get a MMJ card in California are some of the same ones used to get a card in other states.

          I can’t speak for Russ but I took his post as a general way to explain how MMJ has evolved from the most serious in need getting it to the point that people with conditions nowhere near deemed detrimental were getting cards for far far less conditions. Which is true for some patients.


            Does it happen? Yes. Of course it does. But Washington State isn’t California, and MMJ here was never the de facto legalization it is there. Washington actually has a relative stringent list of qualifying conditions compared to other places, and it’s not particularly easy or cheap. I know several homeless people living on the street who are terminally ill and can’t get their authorization simply because they can’t pay for the doctors exam. That’s not the norm, either–but it also happens.

            Obviously, I clearly agree with a lot of the ideas here. But the tone needs to be less dismissive and less combative or it’s just going to turn a lot of the medical community off.


            What are the qualifying conditions for Green Tea?

            No more taxed or regulated than Green Tea.


      Hey Dixie………..What exactly is a “colored marijuana shop” ? Please explain whether it Is, as it appears, a reference to a specific ethnic group. At least tell us whether it’s Alabamy or Mississippi where you live. Curious minds here in the Pacific Northwest want to know………………………………………….


      Do you even live in Washington State? Have you ever even been in a Washington dispensary? Your reply clearly lacks a knowledge of the situation. Any proposal that would needlessy reduce patients’ rights should be automatically opposed by the cannabis community. Not to mention there will be thousands of jobs lost from the hundreds of dispensaries throughout Washington that would be closed from this bill, and it could be a LONG time before the recreational stores catch up.


      Taxes at point of sale to the consumer is the easiest on everyone. They already pay sales tax. Come to think of it sales tax should be enough.

      No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes.


      One plant, one people, one law? NO.WAY. At least not until Washington comes clean and admits to it’s medical marijuana patients that it lied to us in order garner our votes which were needed in order for their legalization scheme to pass. .Now the state wants to shutter all medical dispensaries, or force them into edible and BHO outlets only. This is short-sighted and grossly unfair. They promised they would leave our medical marijuana law alone. Medical patients will return to the black-market as soon as they close the dispensaries. Colorado’s patients are doing the same. They aren’t buying in recreational stores either. The black-market is stronger in Colorado than it ever was prior to legalization. Leave our medical law alone. Boycott the 502’s..


      Boycott I-502 stores


    What happened to Russ’ amazing reply?


    this is a vegetable


    You also have recreational stores, like Uncle Ike’s, who have signed their name to a letter that was sent to the Mayor of Seattle and the city council where they claim that concentrates are “the crack of weed” and that “15% THC should be the extreme upper limit”. Yet they still offer those products. Obviously this is just a money grabbing scheme.


      Really? It has to have been due to something impacting their bottom line. They don’t do anything to help anyone but themselves. I’d at tree bark before I’d shop at one of these retail abominations.


    It is utterly confusing to me that there is zero public growing allowed barring medical creation. This proposal is an affront to the idea that the medically needy should be allowed access to inexpensive medicine. Does the recreational populous deserve the right to grow? Without a doubt, but not at the expense of those who are in actual need of the medicine.
    Why are certain governments so damn greedy all of the time?


    To all on the Weedblog who may followed my verbal, and, at times, course, sparring with an apparently paid anti-dispensary troll today. Although I make no apology for defending medical patients from insult and verbal abuse; I do apologize for my language throughout. Thanks, Au revoir.


    Totally disagree. Prices will have to be reasonable or the black market will fill in the space and what burden on patients? The only real difference is the CBD levels for different problems, that would be easy to deal with so yah just make it all legal to over 21 regardless of need or reason for obtaining the ganja. To many angles make more problems.

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