Washington: Liquor Control Board Chairwoman Uses Marijuana For Pain
By Steve Elliott
The soon-to-retire chairwoman of the Washington State Liquor Control Board -- which is in charge of recreational marijuana in the state, and perhaps soon medicinal cannabis as well -- has admitted she used medical marijuana this week to control pain after a knee replacement surgery.
Sharon Foster said her doctors sent her home with heavy painkillers, reports The News Tribune of Tacoma. "I have enough oxycodone to go on the black market," she said.
But Foster decided opioids weren't for her. She opted instead this week to use marijuana, which she's been in charge of regulating for two years now. She obtained some cannabis-infused brownies for that purpose.
“By the time I went to bed, which was maybe an hour and a half or two hours after I ate this brownie — piece of brownie — I didn’t feel anything,” Foster told the News Tribune’s statehouse reporter. “So all I know is, I was relaxed enough to go to sleep. So if I was high, I don’t know it,” she claimed.
Foster reportedly used the brownies Sunday night, Monday night, and again Tuesday night.
The LCB chairwoman -- who became well-known among medical marijuana activists for her snippy communication style during public meetings with the patient community last year -- would not say where she got the marijuana brownies she used to control her pain. Did she pay the high retail prices at one of the state-licensed recreational marijuana stores created by Initiative 502? Does she have a medical marijuana card to get the brownies from a dispensary? Sharon's not saying.
If Foster is a medical marijuana patient, it would be seen as particularly ironic by many patients in the state, especially after the LCB recommended last year the Washington's MMJ program should be, for all practical purposes, shut down in favor of the state's recreational marijuana outlets (the "502 stores").
“I think the medical marijuana market is out of control in many places," Foster said, report Marcie Sillman and Matthew Streib at KUOW. "People ought to know that it's well tested and it's not full of bad things that can happen in a growing operation," Foster said. "People are probably willing to pay a little bit higher price for having that security in the product they're buying.”
By the way, that expensive "security" which Foster so loosely speaks of consists of state-licensed pot which allows up to 200 pesticides, a deal-breaker for many medical marijuana patients with compromised immune systems or impaired liver function. Ironically, the state wants to take the right to cultivate one's own medicine away from patients so they'll be forced by by the overpriced, pesticide-laden pot being peddled in the 502 stores.
State regulators last legislative sessioon claimed that medical marijuana dispensaries were "unfair competition" to the over-taxed, under-powered pot available in state-licensed recreational stores. Activists mused that career politicians were more concerned about fattening their tax coffers than they were about the health of many patients who depend on affordable, safe access, and many of whom could never afford the high prices of the retail stores.
Photo of Sharon Foster: Ted S. Warren/Associated Press