Three Washington state government agencies are recommending changes to Washington's medical marijuana system once recreational marijuana legalization is implemented. Some of the biggest proposed changes according to Just Say Now:
- Reduce the amount a qualified patient or designated provider can possess at any given time from twenty-four ounces of useable marijuana to three ounces. (Regular adults are limited to only one ounce.)
- Eliminate home grows and the ability for a qualified patient or designated provider to possess marijuana plants in any stage of growth. (Currently, patients can grow up to 15 plants.)
- A single system for medical and recreational producer and processor licenses. Only recreational marijuana stores with an endorsement may accept medical marijuana authorization cards. Make the new regulatory system for medical marijuana effective no sooner than January 1, 2015. (There are currently more dispensaries operating in many parts of the state than there will be licensed retails.)
- Utilize the same tax structure as recreational marijuana, but provide an exemption from state and local retail sales and use taxes on purchases by medical marijuana patients registered with the Department of Health. (Medical marijuana is not current subject to any special tax.)
These changes are from the Liquor Control Board, the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Health (the full report can be read here). In order for most of these changes to be adopted, it would require approval from the Washington Legislature. I have been contacted by many concerned Washington medical marijuana patients. Many of these patients are the same ones that were contacting me about their opposition to I-502.
This going to be a battle for sure. I'm curious why Washington State agencies feel the need to change the medical marijuana laws in their state, while Colorado has left it's medical marijuana program the same it was before legalization. Why not just keep them separate? Are you a patient in Washington State? If so, are you worried about these changes? Why or why not? Are you a recreational user, and if so, how do you feel about these changes?