Washington State Updates Medical Cannabis Law

From CannabisMD.org comes this excerpt from SB 6032 – a bill to clarify some ambiguity in the existing Medical Marijuana law. A situation i’ve followed closely for many years while sabres rattle and protestors get rained on – endless debates and rallies with painfully slow progress.

I recall a rally on the Capitol steps in 1996/7 when the momentun and public opinion suggested that we were on the brink of some major freedoms in this erstwhile campaign. I was filming The HempenRoad and Dennis Peron was fresh off big victory in California (where is he now?) and Ralph Seely was fighting tough as cancer ravaged his body. Robert Lunday was there youthful and focused (pause). So much energy for such a simple and harmless treatment. There is simply not a toxic level to this plant (trust me, i would’ve found it by now).

As a dude with chronic GI tract problems and dozens of doctor’s visits (homeopathic, acupuncuture, chinese herbs, allopathic, specialists galore) as a result, i reckon i qualify in the expanded list of “acceptable ailments.” Also noteworthy is the police not being liable for not seizing stash so not more of that “i was just following orders” excuse and doctors and caregivers being specifcally removed from hassles – i am not so naive to think that this will be a smooth ride but (some of) the compassion clinics in California show it can be done discretely and honestly and legally.

Alas, workplaces are not required to provide a place for patients to use thier herb but i know a few Washington businesses which already do ;-).

Excerpts follow:


May 8, 2007, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed Senate Bill 6032, an amendment to The Medical Use of Marijuana Act of 1998, originally filed by Dr. Rob Killian, (back row in white shirt) physician of Martin Martinez, (far right) the Seattle man who claimed “medical necessity” at trial in 1996 and 1997.

More photos here
News articles here
Support letters here

MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN WASHINGTON STATE

Excerpts from SB 6032:

Sec. 1. The legislature intends to clarify the law on medical marijuana so that the lawful use of this substance is not impaired and medical practitioners are able to exercise their best professional judgment in the delivery of medical treatment, qualifying patients may fully participate in the medical use of marijuana, and designated providers may assist patients in the manner provided by this act without fear of criminal prosecution. This act is also intended to provide clarification to law enforcement and to all participants in the judicial system.

Sec. 2. The people of Washington State find that some patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses, under their physician’s care, may benefit from the medical use of marijuana. Qualifying patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses who, in the judgment of their physician, may benefit from the medical use of marijuana, shall not be found guilty of a crime under state law for their possession and limited use of marijuana;
Persons who act as designated providers to such patients shall also not be found guilty of a crime under state law for assisting with the medical use of marijuana; and
Physicians shall also be excepted from liability and prosecution for the authorization of marijuana use to qualifying patients for whom, in the physician’s professional judgment, medical marijuana may prove beneficial.

Legal use of medical marijuana:

Terminal or debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the use of medical marijuana include: cancer, HIV, MS epilepsy, intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments, Glaucoma unrelieved by standard treatments, Crohn’s disease unrelieved by standard treatments, Hepatitis C unrelieved by standard treatments, anorexia, and diseases with symptoms of wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when those symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments.

Licensed physicians shall be excepted from the state’s criminal laws and shall not be penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for advising a qualifying patient about the risks and benefits of medical marijuana or that the qualifying patient may benefit from the use of medical marijuana, or for providing a qualifying patient with valid documentation that the medical use of marijuana may benefit that patient.

A qualifying patient is a person who has been diagnosed with a terminal or debilitating medical condition by a licensed physician who has advised them on risks and benefits and recommended that he or she may benefit by the use of medical marijuana. A qualifying patient must possess valid documentation. Valid documentation includes a copy of a document signed by the physician, or a copy of the patient’s pertinent medical records stating that, in the physician’s professional opinion, the patient may benefit from the medical use of marijuana. The patient must also possess proof of identity such as a Washington state driver’s license or identicard.

A designated provider is a person who is at least 18 years of age and who has been designated to possess medical marijuana in writing by a qualified patient, and must also possess a Washington state driver.s license or identicard. A designated provider may not consume the marijuana he or she may possess for the use of the qualified patient, and must be “the designated provider to only one patient at any one time.”

A qualified patient or designated provider must present valid documentation to police upon demand, and must possess no more marijuana than necessary for the patient’s personal medical use, not exceeding the amount necessary for a sixty-day period. When an officer determines that a patient or designated provider qualifies under this chapter the officers may document the amount in possession, and they may take a relative sample for testing, “but not seize the marijuana”. Law enforcement officers cannot be held liable for failure to seize medical marijuana.

A qualifying patient under 18 years of age may engage in the medical use of marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation, however, production, acquisition, and dosage determinations shall be the responsibility of that patient’s parent or legal guardian.

If charged with a violation of state law relating to marijuana, a qualifying patient or a designated provider who assists a qualifying patient in the medical use of marijuana will have established an affirmative defense to such charges by proof of compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

Limitations:

It is a misdemeanor to use or display medical marijuana in a manner or place open to the view of the general public.

A health insurance provider cannot be held liable for claims of reimbursement for the medical use of marijuana.

A physician is not required to authorize the medical use of marijuana for a patient afflicted with a terminal or debilitating condition.

Places of employment, educational centers, correctional facilities, and other public places are not required to provide on-site accommodations for qualifying patients to use medical marijuana.

It is a class C felony to fraudulently produce any record purporting to be, or to tamper with the content of any record for the purpose of having it accepted as valid documentation.

The affirmative defense shall be denied to any person engaged in the medical use of marijuana in a way that endangers the health or well-being of any person through the operation of a motorized vehicle on a street, road, or highway.

Determinations:

The Medical Quality Assurance Commission in consultation with the Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, or other appropriate agency as designated by the governor, shall accept for consideration petitions submitted to add terminal or debilitating conditions to those currently included in this chapter. Consideration of additional medical conditions shall include public notice and a public hearing upon such petitions. Final determinations may be subject to judicial appeal.

The Department of Health shall adopt rules defining the quantity of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be a sixty day supply for qualifying patients. This presumptive determination may be overcome with evidence of a qualifying patient’s necessary medical use. The Department of Health shall make a good faith effort to include all stakeholders identified in the rule-making analysis.

The Department of Health shall gather information from medical and scientific literature, from consulting with experts and the public and by reviewing the best practices of other states regarding access to an adequate, safe, consistent, and secure source, including alternate distribution systems, of medical marijuana for qualifying patients.

The Department of Health shall report these findings to the state Legislature by July 1st, 2008.

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2 thoughts on “Washington State Updates Medical Cannabis Law”

  1. With billions of dollars invested into the court, jail, and prison systems, it’s really to bad our country hasn’t woke up and ended the prohibition of cannabis marijuana. There is another way: Currently the State of Washington could really use extra revenue. My recommendation is for the State of Washington to sell growing permit’s, that anyone over the age of 21 could purchase at there local City Hall for $300. per year. The $300. would be broken down thirds, and each $100. distributed back to the purchasers City, County, and State. When someone is a felon, it should be for a felony crime, not because government has inflated the crime to harass Mexicans (the first state to make a law for anti marijuana was Texas to harass Mexicans crossing the border back in the early 1900’s, followed by Texas asking the Federal Government to add it to other dangerous drugs during the opium war also in the early 1900’s. The Food & Drug Administration was started to inform the public what is in food, drugs and later cosmetics – not to tell us what we can & can not eat or take. For 10,000 years people have used marijuana. For 100 years, our country has harassed our own people, calling marijuana a dangerous drug. As we move backwards to the 1929/30 depression period, there is going to be more & more serious crimes, as people get poorer and have less attributed to the current rapid inflation. End prohibition for marijuana now, so the legal and prison systems’ can concentrate on far more serious issues and with any inflation period in our history, serious crimes went up fast. If there is a nuclear war in the near future, another reason for selling state growing permits to so many motivated growers state wide, is the state has now motivated people from all parts of the state to learn how to grow. Now there’s extra revenue for government without harassing the people. Caught without a permit could be a $3,000. fine. I am sure most people would be happy to pay $300. for a permit. I’ve heard estimated to date, that over 100 million American’s have smoked marijuana. Marijuana can be added to beverages & food and it helps with longivity of health & life. Sorry still can not smoke and drive, that’s still a DWI/DUI. Let’s once and for all end the prohibition for mature-adult’s in our country.

Whatcha think?