Washington State Ambiguities

I suppose this post fits here. Though I intend to write of the law it’s the Washington State Medical Marijuana Act Chapter 69.51a RCW. So it seems this would be the right spot.

69.51a is probably one of the poorest drafted medical cannabis laws. For instance, the Act states that a qualifying patient my have a “designated provider.” That makes sense. Some folks are too sick to tend their own gardens. This provision simply allows another person to do it for them. Good so far? Okay.

69.51a has no provision for obtaining the plant stock. If you take a gander over at the Letters category you’ll see that I have attempted to address this little detail with the Clark County Prosecutor. So a patient can have 15 plants (of any size) but where those plants came from must remain a mystery. With this same little detail in mind, it’s illegal for one patient to give, sell or otherwise transfer processed cannabis to another. Clear? Good.

Now back to the designated provider thing. 69.51a (d) states, “Is the designated provider to only one patient at any one time.” The intent there seems pretty plain to me. A person (authorized in writing) can grow 15 plants for another and transfer the harvest of those plants to that one patient without fear of prosecution. Right? Right.

Now here’s where a few enterprising wordsmiths have attempted to muddy the waters. The words they have been playing with are “…at any one time.” Time? Hmmm, seconds, minutes, weeks? If you make me your designated provider and I then hand you cannabis that’s okay, right? Well, what if the form states I’m to be your provider for 15 minutes. At 16 minutes my designation expires and I open into another agreement with another patient – for 15 minutes.

Yeah, I know. I know! The thing is, people have opened dispensaries in this state based upon this illogical interpretation of the law. They get busted on a regular basis too. And then they carry on about how they are being persecuted. You know I’m a proponent of outright legalization. Make no mistake there. But when it comes to these kinds of shenanigans I’ve gota’ call bullshit.

And it gets worse.

The coppers just busted one of these outfits in Tacoma. Apparently, the police made several purchases from the “club” without providing the proper authorization\recommendation paperwork and then took ’em down.

Hold on here one second! Read that again. They didn’t pop them for peddling cannabis. They popped them for selling cannabis to people who didn’t possess an authorization. Ambiguity indeed. On both sides of the fence, obviously.

I used to believe I was well versed in Washington’s medicinal cannabis laws. This morning though, the statement made by the Tacoma police leaves me scratching my noggin. Does anyone in this state know what the law is? Or maybe it’s different from county to county. Right? Wrong.

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