Washington: I-1372 Gathering Signatures To Protect And Strengthen Medical Marijuana
Backers of a new initiative to strengthen Washington state's medical marijuana law are now gathering signatures.
"Initiative Measure No. 1372, filed January 6, 2015, will protect and strengthen the medical cannabis law, RCW 69.51A, by offering compassion, clarity and consistency," said Kirk Ludden of Cannabis Patient Protection Washington (CPPWA) on Wednesday.
I-1372 would make the following changes, according to Ludden:
• Bringing Washington state law into compliance with stated federal policy
• Allowing business owners to obtain licenses for producing, processing or dispensing cannabis in a commercial manner. Using the language from ESSB 5073, specifying cannabis for medical use licensing, allowing producers and processors to deliver cannabis to any cannabis for medical use licensee, and allowing the botanical herb tax exemption on cannabis for medical use.
• Creating and empowering the cannabis for medical use board, made up of the state and the community, to govern all aspects of the market. Through licensing and regulation fees, revenue is generated for the board to regulate the not-for-profit cannabis for medical use market while remaining revenue neutral.
• Maintaining small, private residential gardens and patient cooperatives that do not violate the spirit or intent of law. As well as protecting existing cannabis farmer's markets serving qualifying patients.
• Restoring reciprocity for non-residents and other protections passed by the Legislature in ESSB 5073.
• Removing any instances of partially vetoed language. Reinstating essential definitions including cannabis, cannabis products, plant, etc., and correcting the spelling error of “useable.”
• Adding Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury to the list of qualifying conditions, as well as addresses suitability of organ transplants to ensure that medical use of cannabis can no longer be the sole disqualification for treatment.
• Extending the same criminal and civil protections to qualifying patients that prescription drug patients receive.
• Limiting housing discrimination for the medical use of cannabis.
• Restricting employment-related cannabis testing for qualifying patients.
• Requiring video proof of impairment for qualifying patients.
• Adding in protection to qualifying patients under 18 years of age, patients, legal guardians, and their designated providers.
• Expanding the tetrahydrocannabinoidols control substance exemption to health care professionals, qualifying patients, designated providers, collective gardens, cannabis for medical use licensees, licensed testing facilities.
• Limiting cooperation with federal investigations of authorized medical use of cannabis activities.
Signatures are being gathered to qualify for the November 2015 ballot, according to Ludden. The deadline for gathering the 246,372 signatures from register voters required to qualify is July 2, 2015.
"There are probably that many qualifying patients who are registered to vote," Ludden said. "If they all make sure to sign a petition once, it will qualify for the ballot. If all the registered voters in Seattle signed a petition once, it would qualify for the ballot."
Petitions are at the website: www.cppwa.org .
In 1998, Washingtonians overwhelmingly approved I-692, legalizing marijuana for medical use for qualifying patients. Since then the Legislature and state agencies have not shown compassion, illustrating poor judgment and lack of leadership with our medical cannabis law, according to Ludden.
"In the 1999 legislative session the Legislators and the Governor needed to remove cannabis from the state controlled substance Schedule One list with the new law," Ludden said. "The Legislature directed the department of health to define what a '60-day supply' meant.
"In 2008, they came back with 100 square foot of grow space and 35 ounces of usable cannabis," Ludden said. "The law enforcement community, dissatisfied with the amount, influenced the change to the current 15 plants and 24 ounces."
In April 2011, a letter from the police enforcement union to Governor Gregoire telling which sections to veto removed regulation for the medical use of cannabis, and definitions from RCW 69.51A.
In 2014, bills proposed unwarranted searches of home gardens, reducing qualifying patients amounts again, and making it difficult for veterans to get medical cannabis. "These legislative bills would have also violated monopoly, HIPPA, FDA, and DOJ laws by having a registry and combing the medical use of cannabis with an alcohol control board," Ludden said.
"The current bills proposed for the current legislative session continue to do the same thing while violate the same laws, as well as take away patients rights like eliminating private, non-commercial, patient collective gardens and ending authorizations for the medical use of cannabis," Ludden said.