Washington Citizens Confused By Medical Marijuana Law

September 22, 2009

Washington (ChattahBox) – It has been more than 10 years since the medical marijuana law was passed in Washington state. Yet, everywhere you look there is still mass confusion about what that law really is, and how to enforce it.

At the surface, it seems fairly straight forward: Only 15 plants per patient, or 24 ounces of dried marijuana. Those too sick to grow their own can go through a caregiver who grows it for them. Easy as pie, right?


The problem begins, but doesn’t end, with caregivers. Most growers will charge fees in the thousands, money which patients cannot afford, and obviously insurance refuses to cover.

That has led to many opening up dispensaries and cooperative growths. Because a caregiver can only provide marijuana for one patient at a time, they sign a temporary consent form that expires when they leave the dispensary. Then, the next patient comes in and does the same.

This is in addition to various cooperative growths that have been largely ignored by police, such as a recent case allowed to run that supplied marijuana for 40 patients.

However, police have began losing patience, and arresting many of these dispensary and growth owners in raids all over the state.

“The spirit of the law would recognize the necessity of having small cooperative ventures,” said Dan Satterberg, a King County prosecutor was quoted by KansasCity.com.

“But if they get past a certain size, become a magnet for neighborhood violence, or you get other people showing up to buy marijuana who are not permitted to under the law, then there’s tension.”

Individual patients were being arrested for a time, but the prosecution sent a memo to police headquarters making it clear that this was unacceptable, and that there was no need to try the sick and pained.

The fact that the laws have been interpreted in such vague ways, and that their selective nature has led to street selling and robberies, shows a lack of progress when it comes to medical marijuana.

It is, surely, an obvious piece of (further) proof that legalization is the only way to properly regulate this drug. How many more examples are needed?



6 Responses to “Washington Citizens Confused By Medical Marijuana Law”

  1. Mike R on September 22nd, 2009 12:10 pm

    Law enforcement officers who are confused about how to get their overtime hours in court now that they can’t arrest non-violent American citizens with impunity. Additionally, politicians are confused about how to maintain the massively imbalanced status quo that is the direct result of prohibition and the War on Drugs. Pharmaceutical company board members are confused about how to get rid of their grossly overpriced cancer and pain medications now that there is an all-natural replacement that is orders of magnitudes cheaper.

    The list goes on….

  2. Sam on September 22nd, 2009 6:50 pm

    They should just ban cannabis all together. Hemp would totally destroy our cotton industry since hemp is stronger and easier to reap. It would also reduce the amount of money pharmaceutical companies make off other weight gain / appetite / anti-nausea drugs. And it would also impact over-the-counter sale of drugs that help alleviate the side effects of the pharmaceutical company’s drugs mentioned above. Plus I don’t want my kid involved with this stuff because I don’t want to take the responsibility to raise him appropriately and the State knows what is better for me anyhow.

  3. RFWoodstock on September 23rd, 2009 11:59 am

    Valid medicinal value, it’s a victimless crime, the War on Drugs WAY too costly, too many arrests for simple possession, tax it and use the money to pay for health insurance and to reduce the deficit…Woodstock Universe supports legalization of Marijuana for a variety of reasons.

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  4. SunflowerPipes on September 23rd, 2009 11:53 pm

    There are many good persuasive arguments on why America should legalize marijuana; the problem is that fact has not translated into real political pressure on the people who can change the laws. One of the problems inhibiting legalization is that people that smoke a glass pipe or a hand rolled marijuana cigarette are not considered serious or mature. It is this stigma and the illegal nature of pot that makes people hide their use from public view, therefore reality of who uses pot is different than it seems. Marijuana Legislation is a serious issue and that has profound effects on crime the economy and society. In the end it is up to us to be public about our choices and to voice our opinions to the ones that ultimately decide what is legal. Every hand written letter that makes it to a representative is considered to be the voice of a thousand people who did not take the time to write. Send an email, send a letter, make a phone call and get counted.


  5. Smoker on September 29th, 2009 4:58 pm

    I would rather smoke an organic to relieve my pain and insomnia than to ingest a synthetic pill made by man. There is medical proof too many pills will damage internal organs, marijuana isn’t gonna kill my organs. Instead of popping Xanax or other crap like that for Anxiety my boyfriend smokes and he is calmer than if he was to take a pill. He’s not a zombie and a fully functioning member of society. GO ORGANIC!!

  6. Gypsy on October 3rd, 2009 3:44 pm

    Back in 2001 I had the option of oxys or medical green, I chose the green card. I have not had to use it for some time now and am so happy that I had made that choice. I have seen so many people get stuck with the oxy addiction and the pain and suffering that goes with it for the families and friends. My youngest son being one of them. I believe our government needs to re-think their stand on medical marijuana, as too many still believe in the old propaganda films where the eyes went crazy and people became out of control. I am a Criminal Justice major and one of our long standing agreements and discussions in class was about the fact that it should be legalized and that it’s hard to tax something that is a “weed” and can be grown anywhere. Ask any officer. They would rather go in and arrest some stoner over having to go in after someone who’s on meth or other drugs. Why? Because they don’t threaten to kill the officer…they’re laied back people. It’s a waste of tax payers time and money to be going after people for pot, and clogs our judicial system and jails, where there is a need for funding for real crimes such as rape and murder.
    I had Dr’s prescribe many drugs prior to my green card, most of which had warnings that they could destroy my liver and such. One a Dr swore by was latter recalled for causing heart attacks!
    Centuries of use shows Marijuana to be effective and safer than other drugs put out by pharmaceutical companies.

    Drug War Chronicle – world’s leading drug policy newsletter
    Medical Marijuana: New Washington State Quantity Limits Now in Effect

    from Drug War Chronicle, Issue #559, 11/7/08
    New rules governing the amount of medical marijuana Washington state patients can possess and grow went into effect Sunday. After holding public hearings and consulting with law enforcement, health workers, and medical marijuana advocates, the Washington State Department of Health has set those quantities as 24 ounces of usable marijuana and up to 15 plants.
    Under Washington’s medical marijuana law, patients are entitled to a 60-day supply, but just what constituted a 60-day supply had not been defined until now. While the new rules should provide some guidance and protection for patients, not everyone is happy.
    One medical marijuana grower told KOMO-TV News the new rules could lead to a crackdown on growers who are growing for more than one patient. The Washington law does not allow for growing co-ops. “That’s a totally ridiculous way to come up with a 60-day supply,” he said, noting that he has 37 plants growing in his basement.
    “Our goal in the rule making was to have a final rule that provided clarity for law enforcement, for patients and physicians and meets the needs that what we believe will be the majority of medical marijuana patients in Washington,” said Karen Ann Jensen, assistant secretary for health systems and quality assurance, who made the recommendation and will oversee the rules change.

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