WA Senator Announces Proposal to Shut Down Dispensaries, Legalize Cannabis Cultivation for Everyone 21+

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WA Senator Announces Proposal to Shut Down Dispensaries, Legalize Cannabis Cultivation for Everyone 21+

Washington State Senator Jeanne washingtonKohl-Welles has announced that she will be filing legislation this week to combine the medical cannabis system with the recreational cannabis system, while also legalizing the personal cultivation of cannabis for everyone 21 and older.

According to a press release sent Tuesday by Senator Kohl-Welles, the proposal would “phase out collective gardens and unregulated dispensaries”, while directing the Liquor Control Board to increase the number of licensees under the recreational cannabis system. Qualified patients would be given the opportunity to apply for a waiver to receive cannabis tax-free, and the measure would establish a “medical marijuana endorsement to the marijuana retailer license to allow retailers to hold themselves out as knowledgeable in the medical use of marijuana.”

In addition, the proposal would legalize the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants for everyone 21 and older. This move would simultaneously decrease the amount of plants a patient can cultivate from fifteen to six.

“The main intent of my bill is to simplify and unify the two systems so that complex gray areas and dangerous illicit markets will eventually cease to exist”, says Senator Kohl-Welles.

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Senator Ann Rivers has already filed a similar bill, Senate Bill 5052. That proposal is scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday in the Senate Committee on Health Care.

“My colleague on the other side of the aisle, Sen. Ann Rivers, is also working hard on this issue and her legislation has many commonalities with mine,” says Senator Kohl-Welles. “I anticipate that we will find a way to pass legislation that combines the best of both of our proposals.”

Some activists, however, are expressing concerns with this approach.

“Although we strongly support legalizing the personal cultivation of cannabis for adults, we are adamantly opposed to combining the medical cannabis market with the recreational market”, says the nonprofit organization Sensible Washington, a group working to repeal cannabis prohibition and end the drug war in Washington State. “We believe that this will increase prices, decrease access and ultimately put a heavy, unnecessary burden on patients.”

They continue; “Even with a change in the licensing structure, it would likely take years before the recreational cannabis market would be in a position to provide proper access for the entirety of patients in our state. Medical cannabis dispensaries operating throughout Washington should be reasonably regulated, and given the opportunity to be licensed under the state as a medical cannabis safe access point. We feel that it would be a regressive move to shut these locations down, giving them no opportunity to continue providing for their patients, simply to bolster the recreational cannabis industry.”

The group concludes that they “remain opposed to any legislation that would make life more difficult for those with serious, debilitating conditions, as we believe this proposal would do.”



  • perry dewees
    January 21, 2015

    Keep them separate, simple as that!

  • Denise Ward
    January 22, 2015

    Funny how we listen to our leaders like the good little slaves that we are. I think it’s great that marijuana be liberated fully and this is one step in the right direction but now we’re going to listen to the people who put smokers into jails and accept their restrictions of five or ten plants or however many they specify? Why? Why not 20? Why not 25? What’s with the numbers? Just out of the blue? Do 20 plants make you sicker? Why do we have restrictions AT ALL?

  • Terry King
    January 22, 2015

    leave medical marijuana alone. it is medicine don’t try to tax us

    • Anonymous
      January 22, 2015

      I agree medical patients need protection, but after touring a few labs as well as recreational and medicinal farms, it’s disturbing the lack of attention and quality control remains on the medical side. Yeah, Recreational has a lot of improvement to make, absolutely, but medical doesn’t even have to check (and often doesn’t) for mold content or other contaminants.

      We need an untaxed (or reasonably taxed) option for medical patients. We also need an improved tax structure for recreational, but need that regulation on recreational to offer the same quality control to medical so patients can medicate without concern or guesswork.

      • james peterson
        February 2, 2015

        you are seriously saying this with a straight face and you even afraid to put your name on it i swear labs what the hell are you talking about. Quality control how about telling them what the rec people are spraying there pot with to stop mold and the decarbonaztion process

  • Budmasterflex
    January 22, 2015

    Limits on numbers of plants are a joke… One plant can be grown into a bush yielding several pounds

  • Harry Om
    January 22, 2015

    I’m sorry, the government does not do anything particularly well when it gets their hands into it. It’s already made a huge mistake by getting the WSLCB involved.

    It’s ridiculous anti-advertising laws prohibit med patients from seeing ads unlike those screaming ads all over the place for medications and alcohol that do a lot of harm, as witnessed by disclosures that enlighten the user to that damage.

    Medical patients need to protect themselves and not rely upon government to screw this all up. They are not to be trusted. Laws being made by people who know nothing about this medicine.

  • Janet Benson
    January 24, 2015

    Putting a limit on how many plants we as medical patients is complicated . I do not want to take the 8 medications my doctors want me to take. But the cost is high to take the chance to grow plants. I planted what I w as allowed and I lost some plants. To unseen problems. I also have to worry if I start starts so I have replacements for those that die am I over my limit and will I be investigated just because I am a marijuana patient. Who do we talk to to get answers

  • Anonymous
    January 24, 2015

    ANYone who grows for their medicine KNOWS , 6 is will kill them.

  • Anonymous
    January 24, 2015

    ANY one who grows for their medicine KNOWS , 6 as a limit, will kill them.

    In California you can grow 12 njuvenile plants until they SEX, then you it’s down to 6. most time 60% come out males.

    clones so far have been a pain, but may the only way if they choke people down to 6.

    Washington still has to work this out HONESTLY

  • Anonymous
    January 25, 2015

    I say just let it grow, let it grow!!!

  • Smokes
    January 27, 2015

    I agree with Denise…numbers? Why? In a greenhouse you can grow plants that will yield pounds of bud from each plant…the truth is that the government doesn’t have a glue on how to bring Medical Cannabis and I502 together…register and vote…that’s our only power.

  • james peterson
    February 2, 2015

    why the hell merge that would be like merging the pharmacies in with the liquor stores what the heck are you thinking medical has worked the way it is here since 98 no one has died or been harmed so what are you messing with it for . Because rec is failing so blame it on medical you guys are insane. Rec is failing because the cannabis sucks and the cannabis is 3 x that of the street so leave medical alone and figure out that you need to regulate rec better maybe lower the tax and regulate how much a gram they can charge hell simple fix

    • Moirraine
      February 8, 2015

      Because some want to lord their choices, not ours, and not FOLLOW the LAW passed in 1998.

      This woman hates cannabis patients, period, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why.

  • eddie
    February 13, 2015

    Keep them seperate and license the QUALIFIED Medical growers and dispensery.

  • tyler perry
    April 14, 2015

    Its very unfortunate, for people like myself with a debilitating condition to be forced to find my medical Marijuana at a recreational 21+ store and be forced to pay double the price . I was one of the many that was opposed to I 502 because I knew this would end bad for the medically ill patients. WHY do the lawmakers feel they need to do away with dispensaries and take away our rights at medical patients? Is the state not making enough money off recreational taxes? Here this ! keep our rights as medical patients intact and tell the dispensaries they must pay tax or transition OR be forced to close . LEAVE Medical patients out of the recreational side… it’s worked since 98′ we have proven it. Keep us away from Recreational PLEASE !!

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