Senator Rodney Tom

Three state senators have filed a bill to force medical pot dispensaries to get licensed through the Washington State Liquor Control Board—just like legal pot retailers. Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom introduced SB 5887 earlier today, co-sponsored by Republican Senators Seve Litzow and Ann Rivers.

The bill would apply the legal pot licensing scheme to medical pot, but dispensaries would be restricted to serving authorized patients only. Growers would be required to pay a 20 percent excise tax on medical pot products, which would also be exempted from retail sales tax. The deadline for compliance would be August 31, 2014.

The bill would also put additional restrictions on health care professionals who authorize the medical use of cannabis. Pot docs would be required to include the pot recommendation in patient health care records along with a specific diagnosis of the "terminal or debilitating" condition which allows for it. They would also be forbidden from co-marketing with dispensaries, and they can't operate an "authorization mill" that provides no other health care services.

Senator Tom is in a "higher education" session for the next hour at least, and was unable to comment. Senators Litzow and Rivers were similarly unavailable for immediate comment.