Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Medical Cannabis Law Filed in Washington
Washington State Representatives Luis Moscoso (D-Mountlake Terrace), Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) and Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Wall) have introduced legislation to create a system of licensing and regulation for medical cannabis dispensaries, and to finally provide arrest protection for qualifying patients.
According to a press release sent today by Rep. Mosoco, House Bill 2058 is identical to legislation that passed both the House and Senate in 2011, before being largely vetoed by then-Governor Christine Gregoire due to concerns about federal intervention.
“With the legalization of recreational marijuana and subsequent changes in federal law and enforcement, we have a real opportunity to create a better medical marijuana system for Washington,” says Moscoso. “It’s time we established clear and consistent regulations that preserve patient rights.”
“Common-sense sideboards and reforms are needed in the existing medical marijuana industry,” says Rep. Walsh. “Voters clearly want recreational and medical marijuana to legally be available. We need to respect the wishes of the voters while designing a functional market that meets the need of our medical marijuana patients and recreational users.”
House Bill 2058 “ensures best practices for product safety, compliance, and employment standards, while guaranteeing patients maintain reliable access to affordable medicine.”
“We must ensure that patients maintain safe, affordable access to medicine that works,” says Representative Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo), who is co-sponsoring he bill with Moscoso and Walsh. “Action by the Legislature provides needed guidance for care providers who seek clear direction, as well as patients who use cannabis to treat terminal and debilitating medical conditions.”
House Bill 2058 – which would also provide definitive arrest protection for patients, enhancing the current affirmative defense – is in stark contrast to legislation that was recently moved to the full Senate after being approved by two committees, Senate Bill 5052, which would shut down all medical cannabis dispensaries in the state without giving them an opportunity to become licensed. Senate Bill 5052 would also establish a mandatory patient registry, and would reduce the amount of cannabis a patient can possess and consume, none of which House Bill 2058 would do.
House Bill 2058 has been referred to the House Commerce and Gaming Committee to await a public hearing.