Kill the Medical Marijuana Bill

Comments

1
Ben, your article is misleading. Under HB 2149, patients will be allowed 6 plants total, but only three may be flowering at the same time. The existing law allows 15 plants and does not specify how many may be flowering.

The simple fact of the matter is that current medical pot laws are untenable in the eyes of the Feds because they fail to meet the priorities of the Cole memo. And as much as you and I may bridle at the fact that the Leg. is appearing to accommodate the "capricious animals" in the US AG office, HB 2149 is a necessary and pragmatic measure that will ensure that Washingtonians can continue to sell and consume pot for recreational and therapeutic purposes WITHOUT fear of federal prosecution.

Sure, this law has its problems, but it is the right law for the moment, and in the future when Marijuana is no longer a Schedule 1 substance, these laws may be relaxed.
2
@1: Actually, suggesting patients may grow six marijuana plants is misleading. Under Washington law now, the vast majority of vegetative plants are not "marijuana" because they don't have enough THC. The Cody bill allows three blooming marijuana plants. The other three plants aren't even marijuana under state law.
3
Also @1, yes the feds hate dispensaries, and so do many locals. But that is no reason to re-criminalize home-growing patients with more than 3 blooming plants or 3 ounces of pot or who do not register with a government database that the feds can access. If the legislature wants to shut down dispensaries, they should narrowly target them and not the entire pot patient population.
4
I do not agree with statement made @1:
"The simple fact of the matter is that current medical pot laws are untenable in the eyes of the Feds because they fail to meet the priorities of the Cole memo." It is not a fact, it is an opinion. Any adult in the state of Colorado is currently allowed by law to grow 6 plants and the feds are not getting all concerned that the "Cole memo" is being violated. Why should our state spend more for prohibition when our citizens voted for less?
5
Would the registry be of the privacy-protecting design approved by the WA legislature a few years ago before Gregoire vetoed that section of the other bill?

That design is described in Alexei Czeskis' and Jacob Appelbaum's paper, "High Stakes: Designing a Privacy Preserving Registry," available at infosecon.net/usec12/papers/czeskis-appe….
6
I do not agree with the following statement from @1:
"The simple fact of the matter is that current medical pot laws are untenable in the eyes of the Feds because they fail to meet the priorities of the Cole memo." It is not a fact, it is an opinion. The reason I disagree is that the same Cole memo that was written for WA was written for CO. Any adult in CO can grow 6 plants, not just patients . The legal recreational and medical stores are open and operating. The feds have not had a problem with any of this, so why do you think that this is a valid reason for our state to be so draconian?
7
Dammit, Slog. The correct link for the privacy-preserving registry is http://infosecon.net/usec12/papers/czesk…
8
Hence why I sponsored I-1343. Medical use of cannabis was approved by the voters, not a compassionate legisliature. I-1343 would create a board of the state and community, with revenue to remain revenue neutral, to governor over the market. Petitions are ready and online at the facebook group Yes on Initiative Measure No. 1343, andwww.cppwa.org. We have till July 5th to get the 246,372 signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Then the people can do what needs to be done.
9
It's nobodies business how many pot plants I have no more than it is anyones business how many tomato plants I have in my garden. They are both for consumption purposes. When medical is pushed under, so are other things that contain marijuana that have successful medicinal uses among patients. (Example: PHO helps those in cancer remission to ward of returning cancer.) In recreational stores we will see plants that DID grow in that 2 million square feet of warehouse grow, AND they were sprayed with pesticides. THIS IS NOT MEDICINE.
10
Who ever wrote the story, "Ben", is right on the money. Whoever wrote the first comment is under educated. I fought this bill tooth and nail. And I will vote for the two repubs in my district because they yielded the Nay. And I am a sworn dem. Things change, and Cody will make my Repub friends very very happy.
Thanks
Aunt Betty
caretaker of a small private collective.
11
please now everyone must call the senate ways and means and tell them... no.. on sb 6542 they are going to try and add this to the buget
12
@2, Neither blooming nor non-blooming 'marijuana plants' are "marijuana" - just as apple trees are not "apples."

@4, beyond their public statements (see Cole Memo), no one but the federal attorneys general know what the federal attorneys general are thinking or planning. What the feds HAVE said is that they will NOT intervene if state marijuana regulations meet the priorities they have enunciated. Because we are not clairvoyant, WA is taking a more cautious approach toward legalization than CO: one that strives to meet the Cole memo's priorities. If the feds intervene, it will happen in CO before it happens in WA. Federal intervention is becoming more and more unlikely as attitudes slowly shift, but lawmakers are exercising an abundance of caution in this area because federal intervention could damage political careers and set back greater cause of marijuana legalization and decriminalization.

@10, clearly.

13
Given the piss-poor track record of the med. marj. crowd with anything approximating the truth, I'm going to go ahead and assume any statement of fact is a lie, and any statement of opinion is based on commercial self interest.
14
Why don't med patients just buy pot legally? I don't get the fuss.
15
I wanna know the where the State will get the resources to monitor all this? We entertaining (for lack of a better pun)a "Special Branch" of "Pot Police" in the future? Been smoking for decades, illegally of course. How they going to pull this off? Sorry but I am chortling.
16
@14 - A lot of medicinal pot has been cultivated to possess certain non-psychoactive properties and to lessen those psychoactive properties that recreational weed does possess. Different uses, different cultivars.
17
@12 Sure, apple trees aren't apples, but marijuana plants are still marijuana. See RCW 69.50.100(t): "'Marijuana' or 'marihuana' means all parts of the plant Cannabis, whether growing or not, with a THC concentration greater than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis ..."

@14 Patients will buy from I-502 shops. The issue here is whether we restrict their right to anonymously home grow 15 plants so they can obtain it for a fraction of the price.
18
Ben, thank you for continuing to fight for medical cannabis.

One point everyone is missing is that recreational shops and product manufacturers are prohibited from making curative or therapeutic claims toward Cannabis products. Legitimate patients won't have access to knowledgeable staff and the guidance needed to help patients find the right product for their individual needs. Innovation in the medical cannabis field is important and needs to be nurtured in this state. I say this as someone that will be participating in a 502 recreational company, there is a legitimate need for both.

-Cale Morgan

- Together we grow! -
19
I might be alone, but I sort of think this makes sense. I think that it should be legal to grow small amounts for personal use, but it should be legal under the recreational use regulations. Now that we have legal recreational marijuana (or when we do) there will be no more need for doctors to risk their licences to write prescriptions for schedule 1 drugs (which they are prohibited from writing prescriptions for).

We need to fix the recreational regulations to allow for growing for personal and co-op consumption (akin to the changes that formally allowed home-brewing). All of the deficiencies in current pot law can be addressed by reworking the recreational regulations--we don't need medical marijuana anymore.
20
@16 - And those specifically medical strains can continue to be grown under the recreational framework for people who want them.
21
Medical and recreational are separate and should remain that way. Regulations are necessary, but the Cody bill is a piece of horseshit and not the right choice for the medical patients of this state. If the state reps think trying to combine the two very different markets will lessen the "black market" and drive up sales for the recreational market, I believe they are sorely mistaken. The medical community will go back to the way it was (and still is in many states) when it was all underground and quiet. And their sales will still suffer and suck. They don't even have a properly setup and operating rec market yet, so how they presume to combine the two and have them function, is beyond me. And they way our state "representatives" are behaving towards this issue is deplorable. This whole thing is seriously screwed up. They are attempting to strip us (citizens) of this state of rights that we voted on and passed. It's wrong on so many levels.

And those of you who say why can we all just go to the same place for our weed? Well, for some its not about getting high, it's about being well as medicating with something natural, healthy and non-harmful.
22
The sad thing is that there are large areas of the state where "legal" marijuana is banned, or soon to be.

"Medical" marijuana is grudgingly available in those areas, but at this point it looks like "legal" might never be reasonably accessible.

So if the state shuts down the collectives, we will lose access, and re-criminalize marijuana for thousands of people, millions maybe.

And this is progress??
23
Good grief. First - a "recreational framework" for personal cultivation does not yet exist and there is little indication one will exist soon. Till it does, the medical framework is the only semi-legal access patients have to non-recreational strains.

Second - not everyone has the ability to husband plants or the personal living circumstances that allow cultivation. This is why dispensaries and designated providers are present in the current medical statutes.

Third - Three ounces on had and three flowering plants won't get you very far as a medical patient. It might be fine for a recreational user who just wants to unwind once in a while, but many patients require considerably more, especially if using high CBD, low THC varieties. That's why they currently not only have a 24 ounce limit with 15 plants, but are allowed more if they can make a personal case for needing more. It's much like telling a person facing intractable pain that they can have pain medicine on first day of the month, but they will have to do without for the remainder of the month. Actually, that's exactly what it is like.

Finally - the math makes no sense if the State has any real compassion for medical users beyond looking at them as just another tax resource. A "recreational user" will fair a lot better than a medical patient under the evolving law here in Washington. A recreational customer can only possess an ounce at a time, but can consume it immediately and buy another one. Say he buys an ounce a day and uses it before getting another. 30 ounces a month all nice and legal. A medical user under your non-existent "recreational" framework is restricted to 3 ounces on hand and 3 flowering plants.

It takes 8-12 weeks for many cannabis varieties to ripen. Let's use 9 weeks. No plant can deliver more than 3 oz when harvested without exceeding the 3 oz on-hand limit. Since one can only have 3 flowering plants at any given time, the best a patient could do is harvest one every 3 weeks. That works out to 1 oz a week, or 4 oz per month. The medical patient who has an actual need is restricted to about 4 oz a month while the recreational pot head can legally get 30 oz a month (or even more, if he chooses to use it faster). Way to go with dispensing justice.

Leave the current medical regulations as they are. They work. The State is not falling apart because they exist. But for goodness sake, give the recreational user an option for personal cultivation as well. Just like beer and wine, let him brew a bit of his own without the State climbing down his throat with taxes and regulations.
24
Recreational producers are not going to take the steps of non-profits interested in health by organic, H20 Distiller feed plants. Low income disabled people will lose their ability for access when they are unable to obtain their own grows which HB 2149 directly leads the way to doing in 2019 by the requirement to review whether the patients have achieved access through the state dispensaries. The profit marigins will take over just like the food industry where if Organic is grown it will be again double the price, by the way are the feds going to inspect it for organic certification? Good Luck with that. Has history taught us nothing in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act that placed such a high tax burden on the suppliers that it drove the herb into the black market. The assumption that medical patients would risk thier own access to grow by illegal selling to underminie the recreational shops is untenable. Patients are growing for themselves in great need of what they have on hand to treat themselves. The amount of 3 ounces is not feasible for extractions that sit on the shelf processing for a 3 week minimum time to cure as the standard alcohol extraction known vastly prior to 1937 in pharmacies; as Oregon found out and increased their amounts for patients. Where is the clear thinking gone, oh right polictics and profit focus not people. Demoncrates line their pockets and then provide social programs administered by government staffers all pulling salaries, because what we can not do it cheaper for the tax payer ourselves, oh right we are the taxpayers, who is really in charge in a Democratic society? Back to the firing the legislatures I think. Glad I am a registered independent.
25
Heard there is going to be a public meeting by Means and Ways Committee for 2149 in Olympia on Monday at 1:30 pm, Hearing Rm 4, Cherberg Bldg.
26
@ 21-24 - Just to be clear, I don't support the bill being passed. Not yet. But I do think that is the best long term plan. All of those things you want can be accomplished by relaxing the regulations on what is now called "recreational" marijuana (but really just marijuana in general). @ 23 Accidently makes that point as well. You don't need a prescription to brew beer at home for personal use. You don't need a business license either. It should be just like that.

And, really, I doubt any of this matters very much anyways, because I don't think doctors will continue to risk their freedom and ability to write prescriptions for by writing prescriptions for medical marijuana once it is available legal-ish without one. Then they can just suggest it or tell patients that it might help (like they would with tylenol, or, in very rare instances, alcohol).
27
@20- The shelf space for "non-recreational use" cannabis will be minimal, if any is allowed at all. State employees at state-run stores will also be prohibited from discussing medical use of cannabis with patients.

There is a Ways & Means Committee meeting tentatively scheduled for Monday (3/3) at 1 pm, after the Healthcare committee found a loophole to avoid a public hearing. My colleague actually received an email from a Senate staffer telling her that the bill was dead on Wednesday night. Funny, the difference that a day makes..

Patients with pain issues (a subjective symptom) will be required to be evaluated objectively (scientifically impossible) and required to suffer debilitating pain on a daily basis (no more migraine patients or patients with intermittent pain disorders). In order to avoid the doubled cost of buying cannabis from state-run stores, patients will be forced to register with the state. Every registry thus far has either been hacked or has been turned over the the DEA after court proceedings (Mendocino County, CA and OR cases). All this (and much more) goes against the years-long study that preceded the initial medical cannabis bill. Heck, they're even trying to change the scientific term "cannabis" (which took a while to include) BACK to "marijuana" for no legitimate reason that I can understand (fearmongering? prejudice?)

As a doctor who writes authorizations, I'm strongly encouraging patients to stand up for themselves because my colleagues and I can't make changes happen for our patients without their own investment.

If you'd like talking points for discussing this with your Senator (or flooding the inboxes of the committee members on Ways & Means), I have posted my letter on my blog at www(dot)stoneturtlehealth(dot)com. It is an open letter in collaboration with my colleague, Dr. Selena Eon, so please feel free to use it as you wish.
Thanks,
Dr. Katie Baker
28
@20- The shelf space for "non-recreational use" cannabis will be minimal, if any is allowed at all. State employees at state-run stores will also be prohibited from discussing medical use of cannabis with patients.

There is a Ways & Means Committee meeting tentatively scheduled for Monday (3/3) at 1 pm, after the Healthcare committee found a loophole to avoid a public hearing. My colleague actually received an email from a Senate staffer telling her that the bill was dead on Wednesday night. Funny, the difference that a day makes..

Patients with pain issues (a subjective symptom) will be required to be evaluated objectively (scientifically impossible) and required to suffer debilitating pain on a daily basis (no more migraine patients or patients with intermittent pain disorders). In order to avoid the doubled cost of buying cannabis from state-run stores, patients will be forced to register with the state. Every registry thus far has either been hacked or has been turned over the the DEA after court proceedings (Mendocino County, CA and OR cases). All this (and much more) goes against the years-long study that preceded the initial medical cannabis bill. Heck, they're even trying to change the scientific term "cannabis" (which took a while to include) BACK to "marijuana" for no legitimate reason that I can understand (fearmongering? prejudice?)

As a doctor who writes authorizations, I'm strongly encouraging patients to stand up for themselves because my colleagues and I can't make changes happen for our patients without their own investment.

If you'd like talking points for discussing this with your Senator (or flooding the inboxes of the committee members on Ways & Means), I have posted my letter on my blog at www(dot)stoneturtlehealth(dot)com. It is an open letter in collaboration with my colleague, Dr. Selena Eon, so please feel free to use it as you wish.
Thanks,
Dr. Katie Baker
29
@26 - In Washington, doctors don't risk their licenses by writing prescriptions for cannabis. They do not write prescriptions. They merely sign a letter that states that they have advised the patient of the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of cannabis, and in their professional opinion, the patient may benefit from it's medical use.
30
The HB 2149 is only one of three bills still alive 3/1/14. Senate bills 5887 and 6178 are being combined this weekend. Ann Rivers of Camas is pushing the legislation. 4 points: the rec market is prohibition era thinking at its worst. It was designed to limit access from the beginning. How are they going to roll the medical patients into a predesigned failure of a system? Second-why are they trying to squeeze the last nickel from the golden goose? They will just drive people back to the black market. Third-if the medical cannabis law was bad to begin with, why did they pass it? And lastly-why not align the rec market with the medical model, they are changing the wrong system.
31
poor people use the "sea of grass" method... uses lots of short plants.....

its always been a class war
32
I feared that Medical Marijuana would be undermined by legalization of recreational use and patients would not be able to maintain access to varieties that give them relief in adequate quantities. I feared they would have to face increased costs associated with for-profit cultivation while coping with high medical expenses and very little income.

These legitimate fears resulted in my vote against legalizing recreational use. It looks like my suspicions were correct in spite of all the reassurances by the bill sponsors.
33
Bwahtaha yeah vote for fascist Teabaggers!! They will free the weed. Then what? Consult nancy reagan?
34
@ 29 - I'm not sure that the formality makes any difference. At the very least, the risk certainly exists, and that was my point.
35
@34 - I'm not sure what risk you are alluding to. The whole reason the "letter suggesting a patient might benefit" approach was set up was to protect the physician from risk. Again, the physician is not writing a prescription for an illegal substance. He or she is not even suggesting the patient try it. The physician is merely suggesting that the patient may benefit from it's use, after discussing the potential risks and benefits. In the end the point of decision is where it should be - with the patient, not the physician or an uninvolved bureaucrat.
36
I'll tell you why people don't want to buy it. Because we can grow in our back yards for pretty cheap. A person could easily grow their years supply every summer with just a little bit of space. When these state backed stores open up, they will be selling ounces for around $250 I'll bet, with a 15% tax rate making the ounce cost 287.50 or so. For that same 287.50 I could build a raised box in my back yard, buy nutrients and grow my whole year supply.
37
@35 - Just because the whole reason for the letter is to protect the physician from risk doesn't mean that it will work. Lots of things fail at their primary or singular goal. I don't think it would actually work if the feds wanted to come after the doctors writing prescript...er..."letters". My point is that we don't need this crazy complicated and patently disengenous medical marijuana system (everybody knows what that "letter" really is, regardless of what letterhead or notepad it is written on or what it says). And, a Doctor telling you you might benefit from the use of something--in writing--is pretty clearly a suggestion that you try it.

Medical marijuana was a great stop gap, and it greatly benefited some people who needed it, but it shouldn't be the part of any ideal end-game. Once marijuana is truly legal for recreational use (i.e., no longer a controlled substance, let alone Schedule 1), the goal should be liberalization of the regulations, so that co-ops and growing for personal consumption is legal (as with beer).
38
A side note: In the ideal end-game I mentioned, nothing would prevent a doctor from reccomending marijuana or specific strains/sources. Also, doctors could write legitimate Rx's for marijuana and insurance might actually pay for it.
39
This guy is on medical marijuana http://www.wdsu.com/news/local-news/new-…