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Legalization Is Not To Blame For Washington’s Medical Marijuana Mess

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Washington I 502 marijuana legalizationLately, medical marijuana in Washington State has been under attack from legislators who wish to seriously reduce the limits and availability of medicine for patients.  The roll-out of recreational legalization in the state has subjected patients to much worry; however, I do not accept the pity party going on in Washington State, complaining that legalization has ruined medical marijuana.  No.  Medical marijuana activists in Washington ruined medical marijuana.

See, the leaders in Washington’s marijuana movement were more than happy to endorse and even encourage the “Wild West” atmosphere there.  Beginning with the vague “60 day supply” written in the law, rather than any fixed limits, knowing that in pot-friendly areas “60 day supply” would be a whole lot of marijuana (for patients, of course, nobody would ever over grow and distribute their Washington weed in, say, Chicago, where they can make huge profits.  Why, that would give a black eye to medical marijuana and might convince legislators it is out of control!)

Then as their “dispensaries” began to flourish, did their activists work hard to put a dispensary regulation initiative on the ballot, like we did in Oregon in 2004, and try again (but fail to make the ballot) in 2008, and try again in 2010?  Nope.  They were more than willing to exploit the “We’re not dispensaries; we’re caregivers for one patient at one time as they line up in single file in front of my storefront counter” loophole.  (Yes, there was a lot of winking and nudging at Oregon dispensaries, but we showed that we recognized it and were willing to regulate it.)

Then they were busy convincing people that every single patient in Washington State was so seriously desperately ill the “60 day supply” had to be 35 ounces (my friend Dr. Sunil Aggarwal MD suggested 71 ounces!) eventually settling on 24 ounces.  Yes, SOME patients need that much… but if they’d gone for, say, “six ounces, but a doctor can recommend more if needed”, they would have secured more good will with the public and legislators.  (Yeah, we have 24 ounces, too, but we traded that for affirmative defense on amounts greater – again, building trust with the public and legislators, showing we care about regulation.)

The dispensaries continued to develop, winking and nudging along the way.  More years passed where activists could have worked on a dispensary initiative again, building up good will in the community and appearing as if we care about keeping things regulated and benefiting the state.  Nope.  Instead, they were focused on “Sensible Washington”, the eminently insensible plan to ask voters to completely repeal and invalidate ALL marijuana laws and leave it up to the legislature to regulate marijuana (you know, that same legislature they’re castigating now for destroying medical marijuana.)  It never had a shot at the ballot, never got any serious institutional support, never got half as many signatures as it needed, and never generated any serious funding in 2010.  So they did it again in an off-off-year election in 2011 with the same results.  Once it became clear the locals weren’t operating in political reality, the big national money started looking for other legalization options.

Meanwhile, the legislature finally gets around to writing laws to regulate dispensaries, most of which brought howls from their activist community.  They howled about finally getting protection from arrest (because it would require a *gasp* mandatory registry! like every other medical marijuana state except California, comparing it to a sex offender registry), they howled about the “60 day super allowance gone” in favor of a mere 15 plants (more than any other states’ limit except Oregon and California), they howled that the “one patient at one time” loophole was being closed, they howled about no longer being able to backdate recommendations (a.k.a. “fraud”), and then when the governor reacted to raid threats from US attorneys, she line-item vetoed their dispensary regulations (so… why are they pissed about I-502, when it was Chris Gregoire’s veto that killed regulated dispensaries, which, had they been operating, might have been easily folded into legalization, a la Colorado?)

But the partially-passed SB5073 did contain a new loophole: collective gardens.  Ten patients could collectively garden 45 plants.  So now the “one patient at one time caregiver” dispensaries became “one patient at a time joins my ten-person collective as I kick the tenth person off the list” dispensaries.  Also came the easing of getting recommendations with the addition of naturopaths and DOs, leading to the infamous doc-in-a-tent at Hempfestand a line of twenty-somethings with serious and debilitating illnesses they need 1.5lbs of cannabis for before they joined the mosh pit at Main Stage.

In this vacuum of any serious mature attempts to legalize marijuana or regulate medical marijuana, in steps New Approach Washington with I-502 – a marijuana legalization law written by an alcohol drinker to be regulated by a liquor control board.  I was working for NORML at the time this org was first cranking up for the fight.  We pushed them for no per se DUID, we pushed for allowing home grow, and we pushed for consideration of medical marijuana.  But the wink-nudge distrust of the marijuana movement there made it tough for us to get any political traction.  Major funders and high-profile backers wouldn’t join without the per se DUID.  Home grow was shot down because polling showed it cost points (I believed that was a public reaction to the impression mass medical fields were leading to out of state diversion).  And the activists in Washington insisted quite strongly that any legalization measure didn’t touch medical (which I-502 did not; you can’t find a single line in it that changes – or protects – the medical law.)

So, here they are, watching their medical marijuana program being reduced down to, say, a Hawaii, Maine, or Colorado, wailing about taxes most patients in most states would love to have the opportunity to pay, wailing about a mere six plants and three ounces, and heaping all their opprobrium on legalization of marijuana through I-502.  That’s a whole lot easier than admitting their failure to lead, failure to make reasonable political compromises (really, opposing a registry that would protect patients from arrest?), failure to build working relationships with national-level well-funded marijuana lobbies, and failure to address the obvious glaring subterfuge of the medical marijuana law.

I think it is illustrative to compare Oregon and Washington at this point.  We both have the highest limits in America, we both have wink-and-nudge dispensaries, we both have a conservative Eastern bloc that hates marijuana, we both fought for marijuana legalization.  But our activists fought to reign in dispensaries through three initiatives, made political compromises in Salem, built coalitions with national funders, and with a couple of exceptions didn’t announce to the world how brazenly they were bending and breaking the medical law.  Now we’re looking at 8oz/4pl as the *conservative* measure with a shot at the ballot AND we have well regulated, functional dispensaries AND we’re adding conditions to our OMMA.

I wonder what these I-502 haters thought should happen?  Reject I-502 and the wink-nudge dispensaries would have just hummed along?  I seriously doubt it – with a legalization defeat there would have been more political will to clamp down on pot.  Thousands more recreational users had to get a misdemeanor and a mandatory 24 hour jail stint every year until finally, how many years after the already 14 years medical marijuana had to get its shit together?  How many more unfunded, no-shot-in-hell, pie-in-the-sky signature drives for the initiative that REALLY makes Washington marijuana the Wild West?

Basically, their complaint is that tightly regulated recreational marijuana exposed their unregulated loophole medical marijuana, and we should have kept marijuana criminal so they could keep exploiting loopholes.

Meanwhile, I’m genuinely sad for authentic desperately ill Washingtonians who will suffer more hardship because of the failure of their activist leaders to put patients’ concerns above those of profit-making loophole-abusers and their own ego-fueled beliefs about how to legalize marijuana that ignore simple political realities (write the TV ad that convinces a soccer mom we should just repeal all marijuana laws… I’d love to read that.

Source: National Cannabis Coalitionmake a donation

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About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.

59 Comments

  1. Mary Leochner on

    I moved from CA to Washington a month ago. Had my medical license in CA. Was hoping that legalization would make things a bit easier here. I have had 7 brain surgeries. Epilepsy. Bi-polar is really bad right now because of the topiramate I am taking and it makes me have death thoughts. Not smoking anything, (except cigs – so want to quit just a couple a day). Had to get my insurance changed. Still believe cannabis has helped me stay alive 53 years somehow. Have taken over 30 FDA approved drugs and my liver is shot. Just drinking lots of water and walking. Doctor appointment next week. I hope cannabis gets approved for medical research.

  2. For those of your who are Washington patients, I just want to let you know that we are writing new medical cannabis legislation that will be a model for the rest of the country. You, as a patient, will have more rights than you have today, not less. The law will address many of the current problems, like issues with CPS, DSHS, employment, concealed carry and many others. We will NEVER have a patient registry in Washington and there will NOT be a sales tax! We now have support from both Democrats and Republicans to seriously reform medical in Washington. And we’ll be watching with a certain amount of amusement as the LCB continues to make a total failure out of the “faux legal” recreational law in Washington. At least WE won’t be along for that ride!

    Steve Sarich
    Cannabis Action Coalition

  3. Russell Orsborn on

    sorry if I didn’t explain my self well. I am against registry, against I-502, and against anything else that takes away rights of MMJ users, just so greddy 502 retailers can make money off of me abd other patients, I don’t wan to be forced to be come a consumer. my comment was supposed to to decrying all the 50 year old BS that people used to say was science, if they want to use opinion as facts, they can go on the Nancy Grace show and pretend to use use science, instead of actually using science facts

  4. It was assumed by nearly everyone that the big money behind recreational money, along with a huge effort by the State Liquor Control Board and the Governor, were going to wipe out medical cannabis in Washington this last session. They plan was to deny us access to the clinics that are willing to write medical cannabis recommendations and limit us to getting our recommendations from our primary (or “principle”) healthcare provider. They knew this would be impossible, especially for veterans whose primary care comes from the VA.

    Because the proposed laws in both the House (HB2149) and the Senate (SB5887) called for throwing medical under the control of the Liquor Control Board, they both required a 2/3 super majority. As it turned out, they were able to get the 2/3 needed for both bills.

    But we fought back…like our lives depended on it. I moved into a hotel in Olympia for the last two weeks of the battle and patients came to Olympia from all corners of the state. We were there every single day talking to legislators and educating them on how these bill would have catastrophic effects on patients. Most of these legislator simply didn’t understand the issues.

    The Democratic leadership, who were responsible for pushing this legislation forward, chose to move SB5887 forward in the House. As the session came down to a close we had picked up so many Democratic votes in the House that they know they couldn’t get their 2/3 majority. At that point they stripped down the bill and removed all the sections that would require a change to I-502 so that they only needed a simple majority.

    By the final day we had picked up enough votes that this bill that had passed in the Senate with a 2/3 majority, couldn’t even get a simple majority in the House. Despite personal pressure on House members by the Governor, he couldn’t rally enough votes and the bill never made it to the floor.

    Roughly 50 marijuana bills were proposed in this last session….we killed every bad bill….every last one of them. Now all of those naysayers, like Russ Belville, who were gloating over the imminent death of medical, and blaming it on us, the medical cannabis activists, will just have to lick their wounds and whine about this issue till next year. Not that anyone really listens to Russ Belville anyway.

    Side Note: Russ was just up in Seattle for a recreational pot event and literally ran away from activists that tried to talk to him about his position. Russ….you truly are a little bitch.

    Steve Sarich
    Cannabis Action Coalition

  5. Uncle Arthur on

    That’s a good suggestion you made, so why don’t you just shut up?
    Sincerely,
    The guy that you called a douchebag just because you were butt hurt about my comments.

  6. Wow, Russ Belville, are you trying to sound like a douche bag on purpose? Can you write without sounding like a bleating sheep? Are you sure your not a woman and permanently on the rag (ya, ya, women, shut up, I’m a chick so I can say it. ) because you put out a little info and then BAM you sound like a bitch…..more info….whine, complain, moan and more bitch,,,,info…..bitch. Holy shit, take a Midol and then do your writing. If those “howling activists,” weren’t around, then we would be in the shit.

  7. Um…you just wrote a bunch of words and they were all stupid and made no sense. Maybe you should put the crack pipe away before you start typing little fella! Just the fact that you wrote the words Science and nonsense next to each other tells me you, my special little man, are a little light in the piazza, a tad shy of a full load of bricks, ya know, Looney! Yikes that must be embarrassing huh? Lets try this, little one, look up with your eyes, no…not up at the ceiling, look up higher on the web page, above these words, now read the words you wrote…..see how they don’t make sense next to each other? That’s right, your words are dumb aren’t they? There ya go pumpkin, now go run outside and play. Have a nice day sweetie. Bless your heart.

  8. Ok, no one jump me LOL I have no idea what i’m talking about, I’m just trying to figure all this shit out and by the time I do, everything will be changed again. Now, I don’t like the sound of the patient registry but is it so we don’t have to pay the taxes???? Or is it so they know the address of someone growing pot plants and they can check on you like your a damn sex offender. I hate the word registry!!!!

  9. Patient registry and med cards…….oh shit, ya I never even thought of that hahaha….we have been “registered” this whole time. I was all pissed they were going to know my name and they probably already knew it. Damn, right in front of my nose and never crossed my mind LOL

  10. It must be lovely to be you! It’s great that we have you “Uncle Arthur” as our “Conversational Administrator.” Attention everyone, Uncle Arthur, unbeknownst to us all, has decided that he will now oversee our written exchange of thoughts, opinions and feelings. Unfortunately he lacks the ability to recognize an actual “slur.” I’m sure you have your valid reasons for being rather annoying. I am also reasonably sure that a great number of people take Mr. Sarich seriously. My apologies to Mr. Sarich if I have stepped on your toes, as I am sure you are quite capable of replying for yourself. I found this simpleton merely too annoying and could not remain silent. Oh and Uncle Arthur…..shut up you douche bag!

  11. Wait….what? Sorry about my lack of knowledge about these stupid laws. I thought we ( MM patients were screwed by all this) This is what I have taken away from all I have read from different sites. It sounds like we have to register ( like we are damn criminals and they will know right where we live so they can check up on us) that we can only grow six plants, which sucks because I always kill 8 out of 15 of them because I have a black thumb. That they are shutting down dispensaries, which is horrible because I know nothing of different strains or their effects ( I have Lupus, Graves Disease, Spinal Stenosis and Fibromyalgia) The dispensary knows exactly what to give me, they mix things together and it’s perfect. I don’t like to feel high and they give me marijuana mixture that only makes my body high, it’s genius! I don’t want these asshole to know where I live. I am so worried! I guess I can go back to taking 20 vicodin a day, i’m sure they would like that better. I hate vicodin, it makes me feel sick. I wish it could stay the same at least for those of us who can prove we have stupid diseases anyways. Sorry…. i’m just pissed at the fact everything is about money and screw people who would benefit from MM. People are disgusting. I would never put money over people! Shut up ME!!

  12. He should stick to commenting on Oregon cannabis issues because NOBODY north of the Columbia River listens to…what’s-his-name anyway. Come to think of it, nobody south of the Columbia listens to him much either…

  13. Paul McClancy on

    Seems Russ Belville is the most hated activist in the cannabis community. He seems like a “take what I can get approach” guy to cannabis reformation. In the end, he realizes there can be a backlash in public opinion if cannabis laws are too liberal.

  14. This is so petty and childish. I’m not sure who “Radical Russ” is, but he certainly sounds immature, and seems to have his priorities skewed. And defending a patient registry? Really?

    Why is TheWeedBlog giving him a voice?

  15. Since Russ always roots for the enemies of medical cannabis, he’ll be sorry to here that WE WON today! We beat back the attack on medical today and defeated the big money lobbyists hired by the 502 businesses that wanted to force patients to shop at their recreational stores and turn us into criminals. We won’t have to pay pirate prices for mediocre schwag after all. Sorry Russ. Sorry Alison Holcomb. Sorry NORML! Screw all of you! We’ll be back with the best medical bill in the country next January and we’ve already lined up bipartisan support for it.

    Steve Sarich
    Cannabis Action Coalition

  16. Russell Orsborn on

    you really are unaware of anything but your own voice, maybe you and Nancy race can have a duet show, “It;s ALL about US”, the show doesn’t any facts or science nonsense we have opinions that are the only ones valid, wake up, not everybody can afford to play the “MMJ patients subsidize recreational program” game. GREEDY and SELFISH 502

  17. So what Russ is saying, is that because the legislature is trying to implement a very poorly written recreational law, that all medical patients should suffer for it. How about making the recreational law so it can compete with the medical law. Or better yet, how about letting all citizens grow their own plants. That is what freedom is all about. There is no government agency regulating how many tomato plants I can have in my backyard. Nor are they regulating the amount of any vegetable crop I can grow. I don’t have to sign up for a registry in order to grow any other plant out there. That is why I 502 isn’t a very well written law. Just last year Washingtonians voted to take liquor away from the liquor control board because we didn’t like the way they ran it. Now they want to force their same failed model onto cannabis and it won’t work. Anyone that knows anything about the cannabis plant knows that the average plant will harvest more than 3 ounces, putting the grower immediately out of compliance. What about that issue. Also there is no way for the state to enforce this law of a maximum amount allowed. Unless they take growing rights completely away from everyone. This not bad enough for you, as the state decides who the few people are that do get to grow and distribute, is there any doubt that there is corruption going on. The state is getting ready to let a billion dollar industry take root, but only a limited amount of people get to profit on it, hmmmmm no room for corruption there.

  18. Uncle Arthur on

    Steve, I’m sure you have your valid reasons for disagreeing with Russ. I also realize that you are very concerned about medical marijuana patients. But you won’t save medical marijuana by accusing people that you disagree with Holocaust slurs. It makes it hard to take you seriously.

  19. If your a mmj user it takes one pound for a 60 day supply of oil. This does not include anything for smoking, eating, concentrates, vaping, tinctures, lotions, topicals, suppositories, etc.
    An ounce of buds per pound of oil for internal intake.
    An ounce a week for inhalation method.
    These are the baseline usage numbers for effective medicines for one patient. Some patients require even stronger concentrations, two ounces per pound of oil.
    You can use trim but it isn’t nearly as effective. The beauty of this plant is you utilize every part, no waste.
    If you think these numbers are skewed then you have no knowledge whatsoever regarding mmj. Legislators should not involve themselves in the doctor/patient relationship.
    Don’t get me started on plant counts…

  20. Rectal Russ still thinks he’s the attack dog for NORML. Attacking the activists who are trying to save medical here is Washington is typical of his rabid, nonsensical rants that got him fired from NORML in the first place. I’m sure that Rectal Russ blames the Holocaust on those pesky Jews.

  21. All propaganda is phoney on

    Biggest, dumbest waste of tax dollars ever. This needs to stop. Legalize it like in CO and call it a day, solve the state budget issues and let adults choose for ourselves like the big grown ups we all are if want to partake or not. This is ridiculous. I can’t believe this crap is still happening. Do people seriously actually still care if someone smokes pot or not anymore? ugh. Don’t like it? Don’t smoke it. I don’t drink but I don’t run around trying to shut down pubs. Lame.

  22. California and Washington have been the spear heads for fighting Marijuana prohibition whether it be rec. or medical, they opened doors for other states to learn from and follow, we as a society can only make sure we learn from their mistakes. Mistakes were made hopefully the will of the people will prevail and the “PEOPLE WE ELECT! can iron out all the wrinkles without having the feds intervene.

    The process of legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana is is going to to be just that a “process” it’s brand new territory because our politicians and federal govt refuse to admit the FACTS!

    Having an ounce or two month for my “personal use” of some some killer shit that I grow is well worth it. If you want to smoke weed but are to lazy to grow your own in a state were it is legal to do so “tough shit!!!”, PAY THE FUCKIN TAXES AND CHILL OUT!

    Folk are always going to complain

    This is why there will always be a market for commercial marijuana cultivation and UNCLE SAM has nothing to be worried about!

    Being from Colorado I love the the fact that I can grow my own bud as do most from my local area, the few that are bitcing are just that; “just a few.”

  23. This is so ridiculous and not to mention childishly petty. I’ve lost all respect for Russ Belville after reading this article. how could you possibly defend a patient registry? What other medication forces someone to put their name in a registry? There’s all kinds of privacy issues and safety issues.

    “(write the TV ad that convinces a soccer mom we should just repeal all marijuana laws… I’d love to read that.”

    As a marijuana activist its sad to see someone say something like this. The message would be simple — putting an abrupt end to cannabis prohibition would stop murders, due to criminal organizations being defunded.

  24. Why are we having this conversation? Why isn’t cannabis just as legal as possessing or growing your own corn? Isn’t that what legalization means?

    Your article lumps all of Washington’s medical patients in with the jerks of Sensible Washington. That organization does not represent the medical community at all, so quit talking about their screw ups being the fault of medical patients and growers.

    I would say that the patient registry is the least of the medical community’s issues with HB 2149 or SB 5887, but since you focus on it as the main gripe, let me explain why we have issues with the registry as it is to be set up.

    1) The Washington patient registry is maintained by the Liquor and Cannabis control board, not the department of health. Oregon’s is maintained by their department of health, and Colorado’s registry is manged by the CO department of health.

    2) Washington’s registry is accessible by Local, state *and federal* law enforcement and procecutorial personnel. Colorado and Oregon only allow access by local and state officials, and the information provided is limited.

    3) Besides local, state and federal LE access, the Washington registry will also be accessible by the Liquor Control board, the department of revenue, and the health care professional’s disciplining authorities. Sounds like it will be an online registry. Gee, that will never get hacked, and no one will ever share their login information.

    4) Information in the WA registry can be shared with others for statistical and reporting needs once personally identifiable info is redacted. I see a train wreck just waiting to happen here… Oops! Did I forget to redact all of their data?

    5) WA law does not list or define penalties for unauthorized disclosure of registry data. Colorado makes disclosure a class 1 misdemeanor and you have to mail, fax or show up in person to get confirmation. Oregon will only answer “yes” or “no” to requests for patient status and will not disclose provider or physician info at all. Oregon applies HIPPA rules to the marijuana registry and the data in the registry is only accessible by the group that manages it.

    6) We already have a registry of sorts. Any dispensary, doctor or law enforcement person can check the validation database of the doctor who wrote the authorization. You can visit their website or call them, give them the patient’s name, and they will be told a) “yes the person is authorized” or b) “no the person is not authorized”. What else do all of the entities listed above need to know?

    Now, let’s talk about the issues people have with rest of the law.

    1) When I get a prescription filled, I go to a pharmacy where someone can advise me about my medicine if needed. I do not go to a liquor store or a 7-11. Both versions of the law require patients to go to retail stores to get their medicine.

    2) Retail stores are not allowed to mention anything about the medical uses of cannabis. The law recommends that stores that want to work with MMJ patients apply for a medical “endorsement”. That process has not been defined yet, and there has been no mention of any extra costs associated with said endorsement.

    3) Retail growers are allowed to use 200 different types of pesticides, and there is no requirement for them to disclose whether pesticides have been used on their cannabis. I think the issues with this one are self explanatory.

    4) Medical patients will be exempt from paying sales tax, but I seriously doubt medical users in other states would covet the compounding 75% excise tax. By comparison, Colorado’s excise tax is only 15%.

    5) There will only be 334 retail stores allowed statewide. It is recommended that they allow for a few more to handle the medical users, but it is not law. Many cities and counties have moratoriums disallowing retail stores in their jurisdiction. The state cannot compel them to allow retail stores, so many patients will have travel very long distances to obtain a few days supply of medication.

    6) Medical patients are allowed to posses three ounces of useable marijuana; forty-eight ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form; two hundred sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form; or twenty-one grams of marijuana concentrates. The qualifying patient or designated provider may also grow, in his or her domicile, up to six plants, three flowering and three nonflowering, for the personal medical use of the qualifying patient. Patients trying to kill cancer or control epileptic seizures will be hard pressed to produce enough medicine from 3 plants. Also, the numbers above make no sense, because it takes about half a pound of cannabis to produce 21 grams of Rick Simpson oil. That is a lot more than 3 oz.

    7) The LCB also gets to define what medical cannabis is, and what the THC to CBD ratio needs to be. The fact that they say medical cannabis must have a concentration of CBD at all shows that they really have no idea what medical cannabis is.

    Take a look at the items above to tell me again that the medical community is nothing but a bunch of wailers who don’t want to sign up for a registry.

  25. Johnny Bloomington on

    It’s all overly complicated BS! Patient registry? Same as med cards right?

    IDEALLY, the feds should trash schedule I and do the damn FDA studies. Throw Marijuana in with the rest of modern medicine. This way it can be refined and bought from your local pharmacy and payed for by your insurance. If you don’t like that idea then maybe you should be focusing on reforming our shit health care system and not creating an alternative weed healthcare system.

    Recreational marijuana should be sold just like alcohol which looks to be happening. I like Colorado’s model much better with home grow. Their taxes are too high (pun?;) which still leaves open the black market.

  26. One, more thing. Targeted therapies based on an individuals genetics are becoming mainstream in medical science. How does this differ from targeting strains for individuals and their illnesses?

  27. More radically retarded bullshit excuses. If I-502 hadn’t passed, they wouldn’t have had the pressure thinking that collective gardens would outcompete the recreational stores. No matter how much you choose to spin your arguments based on semantics Russ, the facts always stand that the WSLCB have been the frontrunners in recommending the shut down of this program, specifically for rolling out I-502. There is no way you can argue your way out of this.

  28. All propaganda is phoney on

    SB 5887 might suck even more than HB 2149.

    Sec. 14.
    All marijuana excise taxes collected from sales of marijuana, useable marijuana, and marijuana-infused products under RCW 69.50.535, and the license fees, penalties, and forfeitures derived under chapter 3, Laws of 2013 from marijuana producer, marijuana processor, and marijuana retailer licenses shall every three months be disbursed by the state liquor ((control)) and cannabis board as follows:

    (5) An amount not exceeding one million two hundred fifty thousand dollars to the state liquor ((control)) and cannabis board as is necessary for administration of chapter 3, Laws of 2013;

  29. All propaganda is phoney on

    Mendocino County to Turn over Medical Marijuana Records (by Mary Callahan, Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

    More Pot Records Released to Federal Grand Jury (by Tiffany Revelle, Ukiah Daily Journal)

    Mendocino County Battles U.S. Subpoena for Medical Pot Growers’ Records (by Peter Hecht, Sacramento Bee)

    Another Big Medical Marijuana Dispensary Operator Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

  30. All propaganda is phoney on

    Federal officials, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, indicated as late as early 2011 that they would not be cracking down on medical marijuana use, but that abruptly changed at the end of that year and Mendocino growers and sellers came under heavy pressure.

    The county abandoned its permit program in January 2012 under threat of a federal lawsuit. One year ago, a federal grand jury began issuing subpoenas to county officials, demanding “any and all records” of growers. County officials resisted, but in April they struck a deal with the U.S. Attorneys Office to release the records after editing out personal information, including names, addresses and parcel numbers.

    That deal apparently did not hold up, and on Wednesday the county announced it was complying with new grand jury subpoenas to release unredacted information on a more limited number of growers. Mary Callahan at the Santa Rose Press Democrat reported that county and federal officials were not saying how many growers are being btargeted. A press release from county Supervisor Dan Hamburg characterized the new subpoenas as being “much more narrowly drawn.”

  31. All propaganda is phoney on

    Mendocino County has agreed to turn over to a federal grand jury information on pot growers who signed up for a medical marijuana permit program in 2010 and 2011.

    It’s not known how many people or what type of information is involved, but as many as 500 people paid $830,000 to participate in the landmark program, which had, at the time, assurances from the county that their participation was lawful. But that was before the federal government began a crackdown on dispensaries and growers in California at the end of 2011.

  32. Medical cannabis is important as is recreational. Their importance overlaps in many areas. I have multiple sclerosis. Over the last eight years I have experienced, on one or more occasions, most of the symptoms listed on mainstream medical web sites. My life is good, but at times it can be terrifying. When vision goes, the legs don’t work and I’m spastic from the toes to the hips (pain!), the shoulders can’t hold up the arms (spastic pain!), the cognitive abilities are taxed to an unbelievable point, posture slumps and the chin wants to rest on the breast plate, the face is numb, food and drink fall out of the right side of the mouth and choking is the norm, cannabis helps. There are more symptoms. All of this was going on while I was the primary caregiver for my wife who had non small cell lung cancer, mat to the brain. Evelyn had chemo and the other routine treatments. She died a year ago September 1. During my wife’s care in California we found one type of oil based capsule at a cannabis dispensary that made her illness more tolerable. Many others did not work as well. The Feds closed this dispensary. Weeks went by and the manufacturer was picked up by another dispensary. This happened two more times. Each time she lost significant ground on her comfort level. She was going to die regardless, baring a miracle, but “it” mattered. I have found for my comfort all cannabis is not grown to have the same medical properties. The plant naturally varies, unless grown from clones. I can vaporize the equivalent of seven joints in a row of many varieties and receive very little medical relief. Or, as I do now, I can vaporize 1/8 of a teaspoon (of a strain that works) at a time, eight times a day, and receive significant relief. Strain matters for medical cannabis. Recreational matters for different reasons. There are growers in California, and (I assume) other states, who have spent thirty or more years perfecting their strains for their ailments. Destroying cannabis strains is akin to book burning. Information is lost, possibly forever. If cannabis legalization is done properly, these developed strains will not be lost.

  33. The registry Washington will have will has far greater privacy protections that any of the other 18 medical marijuana state registries – none of which has ever been used to press federal charges against a state-authorized patient or grower.

  34. All propaganda is phoney on

    And as mom-and-pop pot stores are being forced out in Washington, other states are making it difficult for poor pot growers to break into the business.
    But the bills are no surgical strike on medical dispensaries; they actually target the “affirmative defense” in the medical marijuana law, which allows patients and care providers to raise a legal defense before a judge—a keystone of our voter-approved medical pot law that has nothing to do with dispensaries.
    Last year, when The Stranger obtained documents outlining the state’s plans to gut the medical cannabis law, the ACLU of Washington vowed to protect the right of pot growers to raise the affirmative defense at trial. ACLU criminal justice director Alison Holcomb, who also wrote the 2012 initiative that legalized cannabis for adult recreational use in Washington, said at the time, “The ACLU opposes elimination of home growing and the affirmative defense.”
    But now, Holcomb says the organization is officially neutral on the anti-medical-marijuana proposals, even though the bills would revoke those legal defenses for pot-growing patients who don’t register with a proposed state database..
    For now, HB 2149 and SB 5887 are moving forward, in some cases without public testimony.

  35. All propaganda is phoney on

    While it seems Colorado’s vision of ‘legalization” is moving forward, Washington’s version seems to be a battleground. Colorado chose to make cannabis available to the general public through existing medical cannabis access points before expanding the system. This made sense, as the access points there where already regulated.Washington state has chosen the opposite route, but the motivation seems to be more about money than getting things right. Governor Gregoire’s veto of the very sections of the bill that would have put regulations into place on medical cannabis are now being pointed to a reason to gut the law passed by citizens initiative in 1998.
    Although the State Liquor Control Board which is overseeing the implementation of Initiative 502 states that the first year supply will be less than 13% of expected recreational demand, they have recommended and lawmakers are considering changing the language under which most medical access points operate in an effort to close them and redirect medical cannabis patients to the 502 licensed stores. The LCB also states that 25% of recreational demand will be from those less than 21 years old who will only be able to buy illegally.But rather than direct efforts against the Black Market, the lawmakers have chosen to believe that ‘medical cannabis is the biggest threat’ to the success of I-502 and that ‘90% of medical cannabis patients are faking’ just to get high. That this premise has not been raised since 1998 is telling. The People made medical use the law and for years the only problems came from those that violated the spirit and intent, which was to ease peoples suffering. Now they are described as fakers, black marketeers and a threat if allowed to continue to grow and possess the limits established in 2008 after careful consideration by stakeholder groups and put into law. Many patients are either physically unable, do not have the space or other resources or are simply brown thumbs when it comes to growing for themselves. These are the patients that the collective garden models serve. The residential collective gardens typically consist of a few people sharing resources and talent to provide for all. The “commercial” collective’s share a wider range of resources with larger networks of patients. These are the access points where patients can obtain their medicine for a donation compensates the collective’s for their time and other expenses in making the medicine available. Allowed 15 plants and 24 ounces, it is proposed to reduce that to 6 plants and 3 ounces.It is likely that the LCB licensed stores will not carry some medical strains or that they may be bought out by recreational consumers. If this happens, patients who would have had relief will suffer instead so that the state can collect taxes. Few are aware the 25% tax applies at 3 levels and is compounded to an effective 95 3/8% rate before a sales tax is added. These are costs few patients can afford and other needs they have will go wanting.
    Washington State’s effort at legalization of recreational cannabis use will move forward, but lawmakers would do well to leave medical use alone and focus on making recreational work on its own legs before closing down what is place and serving the needs of so many patients.But what about the general public? Colorado’s law allows home growing of 6 plants for personal recreational use. Home growing is still illegal for the public in Washington. Allowing home growing gives people control over what is in the cannabis they consume. Money not spent in those stores will still be spent, but at the discretion of the people into the legitimate economy, not directly to state coffers.Real Legalization is producing an initiative for 2014 that will allow home growing for the general public 21 and older without tax, fee, license or permit, out of public view. Not for profit sharing between adults will be allowed as well.
    There is a place for the 502 stores. But they should not dismantle the existing medical cannabis system until it has been proven to serve 100% of recreational demand and evidence that integrating medical cannabis into that system will be in the best interests of the patients.

  36. I think this is how Mark A.R. Kleiman wants the recreational, and medicinal industry to work. His aim is to reduce private production, to drive demand to the state controlled side. If you read his book, I think this is obvious. But, I think his overall plan is to make the whole thing fall back into the black market, in a purposefully failed system. I hope I’m wrong, and the dude sets up the best possible win-win situation for the public and the state. But, with reducing home grow status, I don’t see how his system will work out.

  37. I guess I am naive. The law here (NM) says the patent registry is confidential. We are just a number. So far, that has held to be true. The program is run by the Department of Health.

  38. Its just like the state and federal gun registries. That way they know right where to come n get ya when the SHTF.

  39. because what SHOULD BE and REALITY are two entirely different things. you really think these legislators want a registry for the PROTECTION of patients?(if so, i got a bridge to sell ya)

  40. The registry should be set up to protect a state’s citizens from Federal prosecution. Please explain the safety hazard. Not being snarky, just want to know.

  41. I’m glad I’m not the only one, Russ. What is the big deal about a patient registry?

  42. no, it would happen ALOT FASTER;EASIER with the defeat of ;502. i agree with this article on most points except the mandatory registry. until federal law changes, these mandatory registries are a safety hazard for anyone working with/using MMJ.not to mention unconstitutional.(self-incrimination, anyone?)

  43. Patients are going to be forced into a mandatory registry, and all current safe access points, some of which serve thousands of patients, will be closed. None of this would of happened without the passage of Initiative 502.