Washington State Liquor Control Board Issues Official Recommendations for Medical Cannabis Regulations

Today the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) released its official recommendations on regulating medical cannabis in the state. walcb

Tasked with regulating the upcoming recreational cannabis market brought forth by passage of Initiative 502 last year, the WSLCB was directed through a provision in the state’s budget to work with the state’s Department of Revenue and Department of Health to draft recommendations to the state legislature on how to regulate the state’s medical cannabis market now that recreational cannabis is legal. Now, the final recommendations have been sent forth to the legislature for consideration.

Many of the alterations suggested by the WSLCB are considered controversial, particularly by those in the medical cannabis community; prior to their finalization, draft versions of the recommendations were made available for public comment, which drew a hailstorm of responses from angry medical patients and advocates denouncing the proposed regulations – particularly the suggestions of removing patients’ rights to home grow (medical patients and caregivers in Washington are currently allowed to grow up to 15 plants), the reduction of patient possession limits (patients can currently possess up to 24 ounces; the WSLCB suggested a reduction to 3 ounces), and the elimination of collective gardens.

Although the finalized recommendations are generally the same as the draft version, one major aspect was altered: The recommendation to revoke patients’ rights to home grow was changed to suggest patients be allowed to cultivate 6 plants (3 flowering, 3 non-flowering).

The WSLCB released this statement regarding the alteration:

We are recommending that authorized medical marijuana patients be allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use. This decision is based on multiple conversations with the medical community, medical marijuana dispensary owners, medical professionals and others. Opinions are diverse. Ultimately, if a medical professional believes an authorized patient may benefit from the medical use of marijuana, we recommend that that individual may grow a limited number of plants at home for personal use.

The recommendations also indicated that the legislature should:

  • Establish a mandatory patient registry, which would be made available to law enforcement.
  • Reduce patient possession limits from 24 ounces to 3 ounces.
  • Reduce the limit of plants patients are allowed to cultivate from 15 to 6.
  • Apply the same recreational tax to medical cannabis (25% at the production level, 25% at the processing level and 25% at the distribution level), but offer exemption for local sales tax (10%).
  • Eliminate collective gardens (and dispensaries).
  • Restrict health care providers’ practices to ensure they do not consist primarily of authorizing medical marijuana.
  • Require all medical cannabis authorizations to expire annually, and require an examination for a renewal.
  • Require labeling that includes levels of THC and other cannabinoids on all medical cannabis products.
  • Mandate that only recreational marijuana retailers with a special endorsement from the WSLCB can accept medical marijuana authorization cards.

With the legislative session just a few weeks away, many Washington patients and advocacy groups have been intently lobbying lawmakers to protect patients’ rights, despite the opinion of the Liquor Control Board.

If you are a Washington resident and you would like to encourage your legislators to make rational, compassionate decisions when considering the future of medical cannabis in the state, you can click here to look up your district’s lawmakers, or you can call the Washington State Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000.

– TheJointBlog

5 thoughts on “Washington State Liquor Control Board Issues Official Recommendations for Medical Cannabis Regulations”

  1. “We are recommending that authorized medical marijuana patients be allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use. This decision is based on multiple conversations with the medical community, medical marijuana dispensary owners, medical professionals and others. Opinions are diverse. Ultimately, if a medical professional believes an authorized patient may benefit from the medical use of marijuana, we recommend that that individual may grow a limited number of plants at home for personal use.”

    That’s complete hogwash. They cherry picked their conversations.

    The real study on what a patient should be allowed to have took place when this state did an exhaustive study on this when coming up with the 60 day supply rule back in 2008.

    I have obtained documents from the Department of Health on this and you can read it all here:
    https://app.box.com/s/mf1bp3uf0cv8csym7yh5

  2. These final WSLCB Medical Marijuana Recommendations are COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. The WSLCB completely disregarded almost ALL input from the MMJ community, but they did compromise on home grows and taxation. A mandatory patient registry & the elimination of collective gardens are NOT what we asked for. Additionally, I find this recommendation to be particularly horrendous: “Integrate medical and recreational marijuana producers, processors and retailers into one licensing system. Only recreational marijuana retailers with an endorsement may accept medical marijuana authorization cards.”. What are we supposed to do at a 502 store when we need specific medical strains or extracts/concentrates?

    The official recommendations have been filed, now it is the MMJ community’s turn to OBJECT. During December our elected officials will be in their home districts so now is the time to call them an set up an appointment to meet, face to face. This is CRITICAL if we’re going to win this battle to save Medical Marijuana in Washington State. Set up an appointment before they go back into session in January. Our legislators are ELECTED BY US and WORK FOR US, and should be held accountable by us. Contact your legislator today to let them know that you will not stand aside and let them destroy our industry.

    More information: https://www.facebook.com/saveWAMMJ

  3. IF WE DO NOT STAND TOGETHER AS ONE.. THEY WILL TEAR US APART

    Washington) could create a Medical Marijuana Control Board and make the LCB unneeded… if we can show a stand and create our own way and show the rest of the world how it is done correctly,- Washington could be the template used for medical cannabis around the country. I feel this can not happen if we do not all rise together.
    my thoughts are this.. that if we convince them(legislation) to let us do a 2 year study– studying all sorts of stuff.. because, i think after 2 years.. recreational will be so busy with the stoned tourists and stoned college kids that we (medical) will be a non threat.. Which is the ultimate goal..

    Governments love studies.. let them make the money… on studies and stuff that makes their egos swell..
    this is the email i have been sending to my state and local government… I WELCOME ALL THOUGHTS TO THIS…

    if we do not stand together — they will tear us apart..

    these are the words i have been sending my loval and state officials….
    —————————
    I am writing with a question/idea.
    Current I-502 implementation has created quite the uprising with the medical cannabis community and we believe it is rightfully so, however, since we are civilized and capable of great things, we should utilize this time for groundbreaking ideas and innovation.

    My hope is that we can, as the recreational pot industry takes hold in the Washington market, do a simple study.

    Assuming we (medical Cannabis patients) are following current guidelines as stated in RCW 69.51a can we not implement a 2 year cross study to see what the newly created recreational market organically impacts the states existing medical cannabis laws?
    The data collected would be unbelievably useful. Things like:
    1- How many doctors lose patients whoms needs would be met by the new I-502 market?
    How many doctors see an increase in patients needing specialized or specific needs met that recreational marijuana cannot help? I would think the State Medical Board would need to be involved in this. This would help understand what people actually need from each option they are given.

    2- A comprehensive tax impact and use study, both state and federal. The benefits of this would be varying and important as a foundation for future cannabis endeavors.

    3- Possible NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) study that takes in to account the recreational use vs. recommended medical specific use and abuse potential. What abuse potential it may have or lead to in the “gateway” factor that is so often cited as a negative of recreational use. This is an opportunity to finally quantify what, if any, effect recreational vs. medical access may have on communities at large.

    4- Long term look at what useful roll would the Liquor Control Board have with medicine and what other options could we create for them as the leaders of the I-502 market, such as ”Pot Tourism” and ”Pot Bars”. It is my belief that the Medical Community will be a very small part of the equation once the I-502 market is in full gear. Before we let them tackle something as complex as the medical aspect, lets evaluate how the recreational side is handled.

    5- Environmental impact study

    6- A better understanding of concerns pertaining to the viable use of a I-502 store as a medical access point. This is a big deal, the underlying law that no one is talking about is a simple one. As soon as you offer a store that sells marijuana for recreation the Federal Schedule I designation of the medicine takes over, thus, superseding the patients’ needs and making them a federal felon for asking, discussing or otherwise using cannabis in a medical way. Therefore, if we are not careful and paying attention to these definitions we could be making sick people a target of the federal law.

    Basically the way myself and so many patients that i talk to feel:

    We understand that recreational pot use is coming; we do not want to be a part of that as patients.
    We would like to remain separate and used as a model for the country as we pave the way to nationalize medical and recreational cannabis use. The immediate future is an opportunity to collect data and quantify it in such a way that the whole country can implement a positive and beneficial system.

    Tearing down an existing system so quickly to implement new and untested one, this is over bureaucratic and a wasteful.

    The fight that so many Washingtonians fought almost 2 decades ago to get cannabis to the place it is today must be considered and drawn from. Those patients that paved the way did it for the medical use, not the recreational use.

    WE SAY…

    As we create a Medical Marijuana Control Board-
    Let I-502 open its first stores and from that moment on give a 2 year comprehensive study period.

    The system will show its faults and strengths quickly, let them. LEARN from them. Please do not learn from them by taking away our ABILITY to help each other. Helping one another is the only way we will move upward in history.

    As you bring medical cannabis and recreational marijuana policy to discussion, let’s be fluid and let the system organically grow itself as it has thus far by doing a few studies and applying the lessons to practical solutions.

    A simple 24 month study would give us all a solid foundation to be community and nation builders.

    Thank You for your consideration,

  4. Rediculous. Most collectives are pro-health and nearly non-profit. Besides uncle Sams’ cut. They may as well tax us for breathing THEIR AIR too. All the while being force fed GMO B.S.

  5. I don’t understand why a collective or dispensary is a competition to Liquor Control Board ! We been here for awile for the patients and now there just gonna shut us down like its nothing. This doesn’t make sense?

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