Pressure on Governor Inslee Last Hope for Medical Cannabis in Washington State
In Washington, lawmakers recently approved a bill that would do harm to, and greatly inconvenience thousands of people with debilitating conditions across the state. Senate Bill 5052, which now sits on Governor Jay Inslee’s desk after passing the state’s House and Senate, would shut down every medical cannabis dispensary in the state, reduce the amount of cannabis a patient can possess by over 80%, and would establish a patient registry that many activists and attorneys say is in clear violation of federal HIPAA laws.
If signed into law by Governor Inslee, or allowed to become law without his signature, Senate Bill 5052 would reduce the amount of cannabis a patient can possess from twenty four ounces, to three, and would reduce the amount they can cultivate from fifteen plants, to six. For patients that aren’t aware of the intricacies of the law, or don’t follow current affairs in regards to law changes, this will make felonies out of them overnight. Someone who was legally possessing three to twenty four ounces before, would be committing a felony and could be imprisoned for up to five years after this law takes effect. This alteration is being made without any legitimate reason for doing so, and despite the current limits being in place for roughly fifteen years with no one in the public urging a change.
The bill would shut down every medical cannabis dispensary in the state, ending thousands of jobs and greatly diminishing safe access. Many of these outlets have been operating for years, and serve hundreds, if not thousands of patients. They should be given a pathway towards becoming a legal state-sanctioned business, not shut down to benefit a separate recreational market.
For some patients, this will mean needing to travel several cities over to purchase their medicine, as they’ll be required to purchase from a recreational cannabis outlet (or the black-market), which many cities have outright banned.
Senate Bill 5052 would establish a patient registry, requiring patients to put their name on a government-operated list admitting to committing a federal crime. If patients don’t join the registry, they’ll be punished by having their possession and cultivation limits greatly reduced (three ounces to one, and six plants to four).
For those in Washington State wanting to prevent this bill from becoming law, it’s absolutely vital that they contact Governor Jay Inslee, and urge him to veto this proposal, or, at the very least, do a line-item veto of the worst portions of the bill. His contact information can be found by clicking here (his phone number is 360-902-4111).
When contacting him, make sure you clarify that it’s Senate Bill 5052 you want him to veto, and stress the following points:
– The bill would needlessly make criminals out of thousands of patients across the state by reducing their possession limits by over 80%, and their cultivation limits by over 50%;
– the bill would lead to the closure of hundreds of dispensaries, which will harm the economy as it will put thousands of people out of work; and
– the bill would implement a patient registry that is not only discriminatory as no other medication requires a registry, it’s also against federal HIPAA laws and is setting patients up for potential federal persecution.
The full text of Senate Bill 5052 can be found by clicking here.