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Recently in the Toke Signals article “No Liquor Control Board Involvement In WA Medical Marijuana,” I spoke critically of attempts to put medical marijuana in the hands of the liquor control board. At the time, it was in response to Amendment 224 by Sen. Ann Rivers, the Senate Republican Whip, to SSB 5034, the budget for Washington state. At the end of the article I let everyone know when they could show up to speak out against this liquor control board involvement.

At that time, it was believed that the “Striking Amendment,” or in other words the counter-proposal to the Senate’s budget (which had AMD 224) put forward by the House, did not include anything about the Liquor Control Board creating new regulations for medical marijuana.

It was to our horrified dismay that we discovered 141-2 in the “Striking Amendment.”  141-2  reads:

“(2) Within the amounts appropriated in this section from the liquor revolving account–state appropriation, the liquor control board must work with the department of revenue, the department of health, and affected stakeholders to develop proposed legislation regarding the integration of a regulated medical marijuana market with the recreational marijuana market. At minimum, the proposed legislation should address the following: (a) Agency requirements to regulate medical marijuana and health care providers and administer and collect taxes; (b) Licensing and regulation provisions for medical marijuana producers, processors, and retailers; (c) Regulations regarding the oversight of health care professionals that authorize the use of medical marijuana for their patients; (d) Rules regarding collective gardens, possession amounts, and age limits; and (e) Implementation of a tax structure for the medical marijuana market.”

This is almost a word for word copy of AMD 224 by Rivers, but it’s not. This is AMD 141(2) in the House’s Striking Amendment for the budget.

I apologize if I sound like a broken record, but giving the Liquor Control Board power over one variety of medication — while not giving it power over others — is discrimination, and it marginalizes those who use cannabis medically. If the Liquor Control Board can regulate my medicine, I presume they must be qualified to regulate my relatives’ heart medication and painkillers. Since they aren’t, and this would never be allowed, they have absolutely no business regulating MY medication either!

The Liquor Control Board is already having issues creating any sort of regulatory scheme for 502 stores, and have yet to present a reasonable plan for dealing with the feds, distribution, pricing or the “black market” that will continue to thrive off anyone under 21 under 502.

Why would we discriminate against everyone in the medical marijuana community, many of whom are upstanding community members and voters who require cannabis to maintain a  moderately acceptable quality of life? Why would we do that while also risking the lives of terminally ill patients, on the off chance an already over-burdened Liquor Control Board will be able to establish regulations in a timely manner?

Simply put, this seems absurd and somewhat heartless.

I think it’s also important to note this push for Liquor Control Board regulation directly contradicts the intent of 502. When voters were presented with I-502, they were repeatedly told that recreational marijuana wouldn’t be impacting medical cannabis. Seems like they were only able to keep that lie up for six months.

AMD 224 and 141(2) are not the only attempts to put medical marijuana in the hands of the Liquor Control Board, either.

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[Cacophony/Wikipedia]SB 5887, which I also mentioned in the article “No Liquor Control Board Involvement In WA Medical Marijuana,” is simply disgusting. Not only does SB 5887 call for Liquor Control Board regulation of medical marijuana, the same as AMD 224 and 141(2), but it also requires medical marijuana to be put on your medical records.

If you go to section 3(2)(ii) of SB 5887, it clearly reads “Documenting in the patient’s medical record that the patient may benefit from treatment of a terminal or debilitating medical condition or its symptoms with medical use of cannabis.” Putting this kind of documentation in your medical records can lead to problems with health insurance coverage, donor organs and other medical services that are desperately needed by the terminally ill impacted by these laws.

Sb 5887 is poison for the medical marijuana community.  It threatens to risk lives by having the liquor control board to create new regulations. To then further risk these people’s lives by impeding their ability to get the same level of healthcare as everyone else, by requiring this sort of documentation in medical records, seems close to murder.

We need everyone in Washington calling their state legislators in opposition! Click here for a link to your legislators.

Please oppose any Liquor Control Board involvement in medical marijuana as defined in the budget, such as AMD 224 to SSB 5034 or section 141(2) in the House budget proposal. Also, please strongly voice opposition to Sb 5887 concerning the medical use of cannabis. Remember, even though you are passionate, always be polite!

Their will be a hearing Tuesday, April 16, 2013, Senate Hearing Room 4, Cherberg Building, Olympia, Washington, at 7:30 a.m. Please come and speak out against this discrimination if you can! Do it for every patient to close to death to get off the bed, or to busy with medical treatment to make it!

I know it’s extremely short notice, but even if it’s just a phone call, stand up for these people who are unable to stand up for themselves. YOU are the only one that can save us now. Please take that responsibility to heart!

~ Jeremy Webb



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