There has been an attack on the medical marijuana industry in Washington for quite some time now. Some blame I-502, some blame a lack of regulations, and some even blame members of the medical marijuana industry in Washington. Regardless of what you feel is the reason behind the attacks, I think we can all agree that they are occurring, which is bad for patients. There is proposal in Washington that would legalize cultivation for those over the age of 21 (good!), but at the same time would close all medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington (very bad!). Per The Joint Blog:
According to a press release sent Tuesday by Senator Kohl-Welles, the proposal would "phase out collective gardens and unregulated dispensaries", while directing the Liquor Control Board to increase the number of licensees under the recreational cannabis system. Qualified patients would be given the opportunity to apply for a waiver to receive cannabis tax-free, and the measure would establish a "medical marijuana endorsement to the marijuana retailer license to allow retailers to hold themselves out as knowledgeable in the medical use of marijuana."
In addition, the proposal would legalize the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants for everyone 21 and older. This move would simultaneously decrease the amount of plants a patient can cultivate from fifteen to six.
"The main intent of my bill is to simplify and unify the two systems so that complex gray areas and dangerous illicit markets will eventually cease to exist", says Senator Kohl-Welles.
I have long wanted to see Washington's legalization law amended to allow home cultivation. However, I don't want it to come at the expense of medical marijuana dispensaries. Yes, this bill is being proposed in a way that will 'unify the two systems' but I'd expect a lot of current dispensary owners to be on the outside looking in once licenses are issued. I support keeping the two systems separate, and getting clear, fair regulations in place for dispensaries. The two systems serve two different client bases, so it's logical to keep them separate. Hopefully we see a revamped proposal that legalizes cultivation and legitimizes the medical marijuana industry in Washington in a fair way.