Medical Marijuana Patients Are ‘Bad For Profits’ If They Can Grow Their Own
The Washington State Liquor Control Board — which had its alcohol-selling duties taken away by voters, only to be put in charge of recreational marijuana by “legalization” measure I-502 — has, unfortunately, been put in charge of medical cannabis, as well.
Despite last fall’s promises that I-502, which legalizes possession of up to an ounce of pot, “wouldn’t affect medical marijuana,” and assurances that the two systems would be maintained separately, it didn’t take very long for state bureaucrats to extend the WSLCB’s authority to include medicinal cannabis as well as recreational marijuana.
The Board has extended the deadline to submit public comment for the draft recommendations regarding medical marijuana. The new deadline is November 13, and complete information on how to submit comments is at the end of this article.
The medical cannabis system, which has been working for 15 years now, since voters overwhelmingly approved it back in 1998, has — well, what do you know — suddenly been deemed a pressing “problem” which “needs regulation.”
And, surprise surprise! Once the Liquor Control Board bureaucrats were asked for their input on medical marijuana, they recommended that both channels of safe access for patients — home-growing and through collectives — be shut down, as if the bureaucrats are afraid their mass-produced, over-taxed pot wouldn’t be able to “compete” with patient collectives.
Top officials both in the LCB and in the Washington Legislature have expressed the opinion that more than 90 percent of all medical cannabis patients in the state are faking it. So the nastily cynical plan seems to be, since practically all of them are faking it, let’s treat them like the recreational users they really are — and make money off them.Medical marijuana patients in Washington have basically been told they’re “bad for profits” if they don’t participate in the recreational legalization scheme of I-502 — and more than that, they’re being forced to do so, under these recommendations.
Even when you put aside the questions of the affordability of cannabis for patients if they are no longer allowed to grow their own, safe access remains problematic under I-502.
Only 21 recreational marijuana stores are permitted to open in Seattle. Currently, there are considerably more than 200 medicinal cannabis dispensaries operating in the city — and that’s just Seattle. How can reducing the number of access points tenfold, be called “preserving safe access for patients”?
Meanwhile, under these recommendations we have a decidedly non-medical body — the Liquor Control Board, for goodness’ sakes — in charge of the entire supply of marijuana in the state, which patients literally having nowhere else to legally go for medicine that is, to many of them, crucial to life and health. The LCB is, of course, completely unqualified to making the kinds of medical decisions that completely controlling the state’s entire supply of cannabis entails.
Inexorably moving towards gutting medical marijuana in Washington, the Board claims there are no currently legal medicinal cannabis businesses in the state. This would come as quite a surprise to hundreds of tax-paying access points with business licenses — and this pronouncement comes despite the fact the RCW 69.51a clearly allows the formation of patient collectives, and the exchange of money for marijuana within those collectives.Millions of dollars are currently being paid to the Washington Department of Revenue by medicinal cannabis businesses. According to KIRO, the Department collected $2.3 million in taxes from 85 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state in 2012. One collective owner, Ryan Kunkel of Seattle access point Have A Heart, recently paid about $110,000 in cash.
As the Liquor Control Board’s recommendations currently stand, they would:
• Eliminate all medical marijuana home grows and collective gardens
• Eliminate the affirmative defense for medical marijuana patients by instituting a mandatory patient registry and designated provider registry
• Eliminate the current process used to add new conditions to those authorized for medical marijuana, forcing patients to lobby for legislation for to cover their conditions
• Force patients to obtain all their marijuana through recreational, I-502 stores, where the employees are expressly forbidden to discuss medicinal uses of cannabis
• Reduce current patient possession limits from 24 ounces to 3 ounces
Please Email or Write the Liquor Control Board
“Fifteen years of medical cannabis laws, legal precedence and now people’s lives and livelihood are being threatened by a small group of government bureaucrats looking to expand their authority,” said activist John Novak of 420leaks.org. “We have the public documents to prove this has been their plan all along.”
The new deadline for public comment is November 13, 2013, which coincides with the public hearing/special meeting on the subject.
Submit public comment by email at email@example.com, by fax at 360-664-9689 or by mailing them directly to:
Liquor Control Board
P.O. Box 43080
Olympia, WA 98504-3080