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Senate sends medical marijuana bill to Governor

The Washington State Senate today agreed on a bill with the House of Representatives that would clarify our state’s existing law on the use of medical marijuana. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D), who represents the 36th District, which includes Phinney-Greenwood, was a co-sponsor of the bill.
“This is huge step forward in ensuring that qualifying patients have safe, consistent and reliable access to their medicine,” Kohl-Welles said in a press release. “Currently, unless patients grow for themselves or obtain medical marijuana from a designated provider, the law doesn’t offer a legal pathway for patients to access their medicine. This bill creates a much needed regulatory framework so both patients and law enforcement have a bright line in knowing what is legal and what isn’t.”

Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5073 would strengthen current law originating from Initiative 692, which was approved by 59 percent of the voters in 1998.  The measure would establish a regulatory system for the growing, sale and purchase of medical marijuana. Authorized patients with qualifying medical conditions would be able to purchase medical marijuana products from dispensaries licensed through the state Department of Health (DOH) or by taking part in a patient collective consisting of no more than ten authorized patients.. The state Department of Agriculture would create a licensing system for the growing of medical marijuana and DOH would do the same for dispensaries. The bill would:

  • Establish a regulatory system for producing, processing, and dispensing cannabis intended for medical use.
  • Establish protection from criminal liability, including arrest protection, for certain qualifying patients, designated providers, health care professionals, licensed producers, licensed processors, and licensed dispensers.
  • Establish a voluntary registry in which qualifying patients and designated providers may enroll and receive protection from arrest and prosecution.

The bill now moves to the governor for her consideration.

Kohl-Welles toured Phinney Ridge’s medical marijuana dispensary, SPaRC (Seattle Patient and Resource Center), at 7200 Greenwood Ave. N., in February. Greenwood has its own dispensary, The Healing Center Organization (THCO) at 511 at N. 85 St.