Things are Getting Terribly Weird In Washington State…

…for medicinal cannabis folk.
‘Cuz of I-502.

Mostly ‘cuz of 502, I think. I also think the Washington medicinal laws (69.51.a) are a big enough mess some sort of revamping was inevitable anyway. But that inevitability isn’t why I’m writing. It’s ‘cuz of 502. Am I talking in circles? Perhaps it’s appropriate given…well, let me explain.

It’ll take a minute. You might care to grab a beverage and a snack. I’ll wait.

So back in 2011 a legislative bill modifying 69.51.a was signed by the governor. I’ve written of it here several times previously. Some of this will be a rehash, but please bear with me.

5073 (the bill) had language setting up a system for dispensing medicinal cannabis under the watchful eye of various state agencies. Everything from the cultivation to the point of sale. After a bunch of tomfoolery it went to the Governor’s desk. I say tomfoolery because a Representative (actually) suggested an amendment providing “patients” with free pizza. What, you think I’m making this up?!


Anywho, the governor dropped her old friend Jenny (Western WA. U.S. Attorney) a note asking what she thought about the bill. Jenny told Chris (the Gov.) she just might get a wild hair and decide to prosecute those state actors involved in the cultivation and distribution of a Schedule I Substance.

Gov. Chris struck (vetoed) 36 sections of the bill and then signed it. And left a mess.

One of the things 5073 did was clarify the section of 69.51.a related to “designated providers.” The law had read a provider could have only one patient at any one time. As one might imagine certain entrepreneurs got creative with the definition of “time.” Hmm, could that be as little as a few minutes? NEXT!

The law now reads a designated provider may have only one patient in any 15 day period. Not 15 minutes. Loop hole closed.

But 5073 also provides for “collective gardens.” The definition of being only slightly ambiguous. But enough. The business folks simply changed the name of their business, including the word “collective,” and carried on.

And I know this opinion won’t be popular, but I think they fucked us. Not the legislature, but the peddlers. “Collective” became synonymous with “store front” and municipalities starting passing moratorium, bans, and zoning restrictions.

For an activity that should have never been on anyone’s radar. A mess.

So then, 502 passed. You know, HISTORY! Washington and Colorado are the only two places on the planet where cannabis is legal. Well, sorta. Kinda.

And then the medicinal shops (operating illegally) in the northwest part of the state became an issue. The Washington Liquor Control Board (LCB) realized the competition for their sanctioned retail recreational shops would be pretty stiff, what with the black-market and the grey (medicinal shops). Something has to be done!

And exactly what that might be is why medicinal folks in this state are a bit concerned. Frankly, I could give a fat rat’s about the shop keepers. Hell, as far as I’m concerned this whole issue is of their doing. I’m concerned about me, and my buddy across town with Parkinson’s and my gal friend doing the chemo. All of whom tend small gardens for their own use.

See, the legislature has appropriated 2.5 million dollars for the LCB to implement Initiative 502. Sounds rather innocuous on the face of it, doesn’t it?

Now take a look at the budget. Skip to section 141. The LCB has basically been tasked with resolving the disparity between recreational cannabis and medicinal. No, I’m not shittin’ you.

Section 141

Circles within circles.

Here’s an article by Jim Boldt ((Washington State Wire). He gives further information on the subject.

Jim – WSW

Is your head spinning?

I’m not gonna help in the least. And I might even make it worse.

As I said, I blame the unscrupulous entrepreneurs (mostly up north) for this mess. Pretty much.

See, it’s quite clear those sections of 5073 that got nixed where intended to provide for the dispensing of medicinal cannabis. Simple logic (and a read of the bill) would lead us to believe, then, collective gardens where not intended to do the same. Collective gardens are merely a mechanism allowing a small group of patients (3 to 10) to pool their resources and grow up to a whopping 45 plants. No store front. No business hours. No zoning. Nobody’s business.

And right there, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, is the answer to the competition conundrum. If the law was simply enforced as it is written there wouldn’t be any recreational/medicinal friction.

This is where the medicinal shop keepers will have a fit. They will yammer about “safe access points.” They’ll tell stories about folks in wheel chairs buying cannabis from some shady character in a back alley. Yada, yada…”It’s for the patients!”

My ass. It’s for your pocket-book.

When the recreational stores get under way anyone over 21 will be able to go shop for cannabis and products containing the same. Oh some will scream that various strains for various maladies won’t be available and folks will suffer. Uh, you ever heard of demand and supply? I guarantee you if enough folks ask for this that or the other thing, including CBD rich product the retail market will do its damnedest to get it on the shelves. Because that’s how a legal retail business operates. They want what the customer wants to be on the shelves.

So, how ’bout we simply enforce the law, as it is written?
Problem solved.

Dizzy? ☺



  1. David Maupin said,

    September 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Don’t you think it might be better to task the Liquor Control Board with expanding it’s Recreational Cannabis production and distribution program to include adequate supply for Medicinal Cannabis patients? Patients who can supply documentation from their attending physician stating that they may need to purchase a slightly larger amount than the recreational user, and perhaps with a little less tax or not. Yes, the current Medicinal Pot Shops are illegal under both State and Federal Law and so must be closed. The unregulated personal patient grows, individual and collective, must also be eliminated because of the lack of a tracking system from seed to finished medicinal form allowing for possible diversion to the black market and even export across state lines. Worse yet, under the current Medical Marijuana Law not one dime is added to the State or Federal coffers. No, we need reconciliation between Medical and Recreational Cannabis so that the needs of both can be addressed by a single regulating agency, WSLCB. Lol, in a Rat’s Ass, lol.. November through Jan.1 for WSLCB to come up with recommendations for new legislation. I know we patients are going to get screwed, question is how badly? Yep, I’m getting dizzy.. 😉

    • capndrift said,

      September 30, 2013 at 8:08 am

      Again, I’m sure my opinion(s) will prove not to be popular among the medicinal community, but here goes.

      And again, again, it’s all about demand and supply. The retail operators can’t make a dime from a product that’s not on the shelf. Supply will be driven by the demand. Regardless of whether the customers are looking to treat their MS or kick back on a Friday night and watch a flick (while high) and munch popcorn.

      A price break for patients? Maybe. Maybe a retailer would offer a break simply to draw those customers. I’m ambivalent here.

      Puchasing more than an ounce is moot. A person could go to several shops purchasing several ounces. Is there anything in the law stating the frequency of purchases? I don’t think so. The question is if the Powers That Be reduce the current possession amount for a patient. More on that in a minute.

      You and I both know that some cultivating patients peddle off their “overage” to the grey-market. This is particularly tempting given many folks utilizing medicinal cannabis are disabled and trying to get by on a minimal income. The “overage” is a result of the amount of cannabis a patient is allowed to possess under the law: 1.5 pounds. Don’t think for a minute the PTB aren’t aware of this.

      I anticipate a radical drop in the allowed patient possession amount.

      This will minimize the amount of extra material laying around. The grey-market will be shutdown and what does manage to get to the black-market will be insignificant.

      With that change I think many patients (those diverting to the grey-market, anyway) will voluntarily quit growing because it no longer pencils out. 1,000 Watt lights aren’t cheap to run. Not to mention the soft costs of supporting materials. All that will be left will be the minimalist (small HID or fluorescent lighting) and summer grows.

      Look at it this way, if a patient were allowed to have as many plants as they cared to, but could only possess a few ounces then it’s ‘problem solved.’

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