It’s That Time of Year Again

The Washington State legislature convenes January 12th. I’m a tad bit anxious about what may transpire with medicinal cannabis law(s) during the coming session.

If you’ve picked up a newspaper in the last year, or surfed the intertubes, or maybe shot the shit with your buddies you must be aware that Washington is waaaay behind the curve when it comes to cannabis: recreational or medicinal.

Too much bureaucracy is screwing up the whole “party time” side of things while not enough seems to be an issue with the “medicinal dispensing” arena. So seems to be the general consensus from the pundits, anyway.

So the state legislature is gonna ‘fix it.’
And that tells you why I’m anxious, eh?

On the medicinal side, last year some heinous legislation was introduced, making it to the 11th hour before it was nixed in a political cat fight over money. Whew! ‘Patients’ in this state took a collective big sigh — but here we go again.

So I wrote a letter.

Initially, my draft had items of contention I wanted to address and then offered up possible solutions. There were a lot of items. I decided it was just a tad verbose (TL;DR) so I pared it down quite a bit to just a few high points.

In this particular copy and paste Moeller is named in the header. I sent the same letter (via USPS) to my other representative and district senator as well.

Representative Jim Moeller 12-31-14
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA. 98504

Good day, Representative Moeller, hopefully this correspondence has found you well.

I’m quite sure you’ll have your hands full this coming session with issues such as transportation and education. Unfortunately, marijuana (both recreational and medicinal) is going to be on the agenda as well.

As an individual legitimately utilizing cannabis in the treatment of a neurological malady I’d like to touch on that subject. Hopefully the staffer currently skimming this has the time to read my communication and it passes muster to be relayed on.

I’ve two points to touch on with recreational cannabis, as it’s currently regulated:

1) It isn’t tenable given the tax structure. The present scheme is folly in a free enterprise system in that retail prices can’t meet or beat the current street price, or that of a “medicinal collective” of your choice. Something needs to be done to make retail store pricing on par AND allow store owners profit while adding to the state’s coffers.

2) Washington is the only state out of the four (plus D.C.) that doesn’t include a provision for minimal home growing. This should change, if for no other reason than the positive repercussions it would have to individuals with minimal needs at the medicinal end of the cannabis controversy.

Said provision wouldn’t have any effect on the State’s coffers. As I’m sure you’ve heard numerous times a non statistically significant number of people brew their own beer, and less grow tobacco.

The medicinal end of that controversy is where I’ll go now.

There will undoubtedly be several proposals introduced this session to both “rein in” the supposedly grey medicinal market and meld it with the recreational system. As far as retail sales go I’m fine with whatever the legislature comes up with. However, I believe innocent medicinal folks are at risk of getting caught in the crossfire.

From the various proposals I’ve seen there are several points of concern.

1) There is absolutely no need for a mandatory registration. Especially if minimal grows are allowed under “502.” Mine and my doctor’s name are on my prescription medication containers. A valid doctor’s recommendation serves the same purpose. There have been cases in other states of law enforcement officials cross referencing registries endeavoring to subvert a patient’s constitutional rights. Let’s not set up a system here where the same can be abused here.

2) There are proposals that preclude a clinic from specializing in cannabis recommendations; this is problematic. Yes, I don’t agree with some doc tossing up a tent at Hempfest and charging $50.00 a head to write medicinal cannabis recommendations. This, as well as other behaviors by profiteers, undermines the integrity of 69.51.a. Howsoever, not allowing “specialty clinics” would be crippling to some. The Veterans Administration won’t currently allow its providers to make a recommendation. Many private health organizations (Kaiser?) won’t either.

Specialty clinics are nothing out of the ordinary. Myself, I’ve been to pain, physical therapy, hematology, neurology, dermatology and the same cannabis clinic for the last seven years. The V.A. is my health care provider.

In my opinion bad actors (physicians) should be addressed by their peers and regulatory agencies, not the legislature.

In closing;
There are other quibbles I might have, but from what I’m seeing my biggest concern is the legitimate self providing ‘patient’ taking a beating with this legislative session. I would ask that whatever comes down the pike, however it is decided on what to do with the current medicinal retail operations, the taxing structure and disbursement in regard to retail recreational stores, modifications to 69.51.a, etc… you keep in mind the intent of nearly 60% of the citizens of this state when I-692 was drafted and passed back in 1998.

Thank you,

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