Medical cannabis patients are applauding the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the House that would fully restore vetoed provisions of a regulatory proposal first passed in 2011, along with a proposal in the Senate that would add Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions.
House Bill 2058 is co-sponsored by Representatives Luis Moscoso (D-Mountlake Terrace), Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla) and Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo). The legislation is considered the most practical solution for regulating medical cannabis, while ensuring continued access to safe and affordable remedies that allow patients to live healthy, productive lives.
"Now more than ever, patients need dedicated champions in the Legislature who are not afraid to take a stand for what's right," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). "We commend Representatives Moscoso, Walsh and Appleton for showing the courage to lead on this crucial issue."
HB 2058 would reinstate the language passed by the 2011 Legislature, but vetoed by then-Governor Christine Gregoire, primarily due to fears about federal intervention. The recently adopted Congressional budget measure prohibiting the Department of Justice (DOJ) from interfering in the implementation of medical cannabis laws offers substantial protection for Washington state. Advocates say with the turnaround in federal law, it's worth taking a second look at the legislation that passed once before.
"The regulatory framework created in the 2011 bill still works today," says Kari Boiter, ASA's Legislative Analyst and Washington State Coordinator. "Just like its predecessor, House Bill 2058 establishes a dedicated pathway to licensing for experienced businesses that make safe products and offer quality care to patients."
Across the rotunda, Senate Bill 5379, a proposal to officially recognize Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a qualifying condition will get a public hearing Tuesday in the Senate Health Care Committee. Patients, military veterans, abuse victims and supporters plan to pack the room.
"Every single day, twenty-two men and women who honorably served our country take their own lives," says Marine Corps Veteran Patrick Seifert, Chair of ASA-Washington and Founder of Rainier Xpress, a medical cannabis collective in Olympia. "Senator Hobbs' bill is a beacon of hope for patients who suffer from PTSD."
SB 5379 is prime sponsored by Senator Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), with seven members of the Senate from both sides of the aisle signing on in support, including Senators Ann Rivers (R-La Center) and Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle). The benefits of using medical cannabis to ease symptoms of PTSD have been widely reported on after recent clinical research and comes on the heels of an $8 million grant awarded by the State of Colorado to study the issue in-depth.