WA Holds Hearing on Plan to Gut Medical Pot Law, Group Submits Patient Feedback

WA Holds Hearing on Plan to Gut Medical Pot Law, Group Submits Patient Feedback

Activists overfill a public hearing of the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

Last month a legislatively-appointed workgroup suggested repealing most of Washington State's voter-enacted medical cannabis law—in part to ensure more revenue for the new voter-enacted recreational pot law. In the ensuing uproar from patients across the state, the workgroup scheduled a public hearing on the draft recommendations, set for this Wednesday, November 13 from 6-9 p.m. at 5300 Pacific Ave., Lacey, WA 98503.

The state chapter of Americans for Safe Access quickly coalesced stakeholder meetings statewide to help inform patients and encourage them to attend the hearing and stay involved throughout the legislative session, where advocates fear a medical pot law slaughter may occur.

Today the group submitted recommendations to the state workgroup based on the stakeholder input received from those meetings. Among the conclusions: don't slash patient pot possession limits, don't ban home growing, don't eliminate medical dispensaries—especially when I-502 shops are legally forbidden from discussing the medical benefits of cannabis—stop demonizing doctors, and don't force them to register their pot patients in a government database.

The general consensus was that medical cannabis needs a parallel distribution system to the recreational stores approved by Initiative 502. The heavy taxes imposed by the recreational pot law are of great concern to patients, who frequently consume 6-10 times as much cannabis (or more) than average tokers. Everyone agrees that voters never intended to scrap the 1998 medical pot law when they passed the 2012 recreational pot law, nor did they intend for medical cannabis to be taxed beyond the means of poor pot-growing patients.

The medical pot repeal hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, November 13, at 6 p.m. at Worthington Center, 5300 Pacific Avenue in Olympia. Expect a packed house.