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An amendment has been added to SSB 5034, the budget for Washington state, by Sen. Ann Rivers, the Senate Republican Whip. Amendment 224 states “The Liquor Control Board must work with the Department of Health and the Department of Revenue to develop recommendations for the Legislature regarding the interaction of medical marijuana regulations and the provisions of Initiative Measure No. 502.”

Not only does this violate their promise — that I-502 and recreational marijuana wouldn’t be affecting patients’ access to medical marijuana — but it marginalizes those using cannabis as medicine.

In November 1998, in the State of Washington, based on solid science and good moral values, the voting majority recognized cannabis as a medicine. Therefore, unless the Liquor Control Board will be regulating pharmaceuticals like painkillers and heart medication, there is no reason that policy for this medicine should be guided by them.

This opinion goes for both Amendment 224 to SSB 5034 and to SB 5887, another bill that aims to put control of medical marijuana in the hands of the Liquor Control Board.

I think those spearheading the movement to advocate for SB 5887 should be especially ashamed of themselves. It’s my opinion they are nothing more than worthless punks tricking the medical community to serve their ulterior motives, but that’s for another article.

The slim minority of people, that actually do support having the Liquor Control Board regulate medical marijuana, have been grossly misinformed by select individuals with ulterior motives, as I just mentioned. The LCB is already busy creating regulations for a recreational system under 502, with the main purpose being generating revenue for the state.

This regulation, and the Liquor Control Board’s understanding of cannabis, is limited to cannabis as recreational vice that can be exploited for profit at best. This limit, and/or focus, to their knowledge not only directly contradicts the current intent and spirit of Washington medical marijuana law, but could lead to regulations formed by people so far removed from the reality of medical marijuana that it costs innocent lives.

Let that settle in for a second.

I-502, and the profit driven nature of recreational marijuana policy, is NOT what medical marijuana is about in the State of Washington. Medical marijuana in Washington is intended to be a compassionate endeavor, focused on improving quality of life for those with severe medical conditions.

More importantly, the nature of some of the conditions treated by medical marijuana — such as cancer, wasting syndrome or severe seizures — have more severe consequences when left untreated then anyone seems to be acknowledging.

What happens when you take away medication from someone that requires that medicine for their day-to-day survival? This isn’t a riddle, folks. They die.

You take the medication away, or create lapses in safe access while a profit-driven group decides on new regulations, and grandmas, grandpas, moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, all loved, all someone’s family, DIE.

Some people need not to stop marginalizing this medication and its users. Some people need to realize that these are policies that could quickly and easily kill many people if not handled appropriately; with patience, great care, thought, and extreme compassion.

We will be turning out for the public hearing (meet at 2:30 pm Wednesday 4/10/2013, outside the John L. O’Brien Building, Olympia, WA), on striking the current budget, to express why it’s of utmost importance that Amendment 224 by Sen. Ann Rivers, doesn’t show up in the final budget.


Editor’s note: This opinion piece was written by Jeremy Webb for Toke Signals.


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