Washington Governor Signs Bill to Close Dispensaries, Reduce Patients’ Rights
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed Senate Bill 5052 into law, a proposal that will lead to the closure of every medical cannabis dispensary in the state, while implementing a patient registry and drastically reducing the amount of cannabis a patient can possess and cultivate.
Senate Bill 5052 requires all currently operating medical cannabis dispensaries to close by July 1st, 2016, putting an end to hundreds, if not thousands of jobs, and greatly decreasing safe access for patients. The proposal will also reduce the amount of cannabis a patient can possess by over 80%, from 24 ounces to 3, and will reduce the amount they can cultivate from 15 plants, to 6. And this is only if they enter a patient database admitting to committing a federal crime; if a patient refuses to join the database, they’ll only be able to possess an ounce, and cultivate 4 plants.
The measure will establish a medical cannabis endorsement license to be distributed by the newly-named Liquor and Cannabis Control Board, which retail outlets can apply for to demonstrate that they’re knowledgeable in the field of medical cannabis. This, however, won’t take away from the fact that many cities in the state have an outright bans on recreational cannabis outlets (but not on medical facilities), meaning many patients will now need to travel several cities over to purchase their medicine; either that, or rely on the black-market.
Sensible Washington, a nonprofit organization working since 2010 to end cannabis prohibition and the drug war in Washington State, says its legal team is examining the legality of the bill, and they may end up filing a lawsuit to have it overturned.