Washington: Users of medical marijuana may now have more rights than ever

Senate Bill 5052 would allow those who utilize medical marijuana — per their doctors’ orders — to possess quantities of the drug up to three times larger than those who only use marijuana recreationally. The bill also included a number of provisions for medical marijuana users. In addition to allowing patients to grow their own marijuana at home — up to six plants worth, unless a healthcare professional authorizes more — they would also be allowed to take part in cannabis-growing cooperatives, with up to four users per cooperative. Washington would also allow for more marijuana retailers than the previously declared statewide limit (334 retailers) in order to accommodate medical users, and would exempt those with prescriptions from paying sales tax on “medical products.” However, these benefits would come with a cost: under SB5052, patients that have been prescribed medical marijuana would be required to have their names included on a state database, in order to assist with the enforcement of possession laws. Not everyone agreed with the state in wanting to create this database. Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles attempted to pass an amendment that eliminated this requirement due to health care privacy laws. “What I am most concerned about is that patients have an adequate, a safe, a secure supply of the medicine that works for them without government intrusion and without a new bureaucracy being developed,” said Kohl-Welles. The bill passed the Senate 36-11, sans that particular amendment, and is now heading to the state House of Representatives. Last session, another bill regarding the differences between recreational and medical marijuana users did not pass House scrutiny.]]>

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