Sen. Kohl-Welles introduces medical marijuana reform legislation

On Tuesday 36th District Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, along with Rep. Jim Moeller of Vancouver and bi-partisan support, introduced new legislation to clarify and provide a strong legal framework for Washington’s existing medical marijuana laws.

The bill, according to Kohl-Welles, reflects the tenth iteration since she first released it last February, incorporating input from patients, providers, advocates, health professionals, government officials, legislators, and law enforcement representatives.

The resulting legislation, Senate Bill 5073 (.pdf) and House Bill 1100 (.pdf), if made into law, would establish a regulatory system for the sale and purchase of medical marijuana to qualified patients.

Current law established under voter-approved I-692 in 1998 permits patients with specified terminal or debilitating medical conditions to grow medical marijuana for personal use or designate a provider to grow on their behalf. Legislation passed in 2007 resulted in the Department of Health setting the allowable amount of marijuana for medical use, and a measure passed last year allows all health professionals having prescriptive authority to authorize medical marijuana.

Under the new bill, the Department of Agriculture would develop regulations through a public rule-making process for growing medical marijuana. And, patients would be permitted to purchase medical marijuana products from dispensers licensed by the Department of Health or by taking part in a regulated patient collective.

“There is much ambiguity around our state’s current medical marijuana laws that is resulting in inconsistent enforcement throughout the state,” Kohl-Welles said in a statement Tuesday. “Creating a statutory and regulatory structure for licensing growers and dispensaries will allow us to provide for an adequate, safe, consistent, and secure source of the medicine for qualifying patients, address public safety concerns and establish statewide uniformity in the implementation of the law.”

Under the new legislation legally compliant patients and growers would be protected from arrest, search, and prosecution for the use of medical cannabis. The bill would also require law enforcement to consult a voluntary registry of patients before conducting warrantless searches or arrests, and registered patients would be protected against search and seizure, unless existing evidence indicated criminal activity was taking place.

Read more about Kohl-Welles campaign here, and the particulars of Senate Bill 5073 (.pdf) and House Bill 1100 (.pdf).

14 thoughts to “Sen. Kohl-Welles introduces medical marijuana reform legislation”

  1. Good for Her! It’s about time those in high places started looking out for the medical marijuana patients! If it’s legal under State Law, i.e. the State Constitution, then leave them alone. I don’t seem them going into the pharmacies and busting up the joint with guns, demanding to know if they sold pills out the back door, or if any of them are abusing the pills. Jeez. Get a grip on reality folks. Cannabis IS MEDICINE. Don’t matter if you like that FACT or not, it’s true. There have been so many studies done proving that point it’s not even funny. Go ahead, Google marijuana studies. I dare ya.

  2. what in the sam hill does this have to do with Ballard? Geeky Sweedes – Take it off of the blog. It just doesn’t belong here. You’re showing your lack of judgement by posting it.

  3. We elected this gal — that’s what it has to do with Ballard, dude. Perhaps, perhaps, we could find a viable candidate to run against her …

  4. Looks like she’s smoked a few too many.
    Better save what few remaining brain cells you have left.
    Stoners are drag on society.

  5. Wow, ignorant people still think that marijuana is dangerous. It’s no more dangerous than drinking or smoking, yet people don’t berate those.

  6. Legalizing marijuana means that it can be regulated effectively. It means that, for example, you can set a legal maximum blood THC content for drivers and enforce that limit. It means a higher percentage of /actual/ criminals in our jails. It likely means fewer people who are willing to sell it to kids: why risk getting busted when you can make money selling pot legally?

    Legalized marijuana is just about inevitable. Look at the national trend — we’re hardly the first state to consider this. If you don’t like it, you can simply go live in 1950.

  7. Yeah, I elect Homeless dude because he uses turns of phrase like “sam hill”. It implies that adorable ignorance that is so popular with the kids these days. He can win it!

  8. If marijuana was legal it would be regulated and actually harder for kids to get. When I was in high school it was easier for most kids to get pot or any range of drugs, but alcohol took a little work.

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