Bill to amend medical marijuana law introduced in Washington State

For the third consecutive session, the Washington State Legislature will consider a bill that authorizes the State Department of Health to adopt implementing rules for the State's voter-approved medical marijuana law. Specifically, Senate Bill 5176, sponsored by Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle), allows the health department to determine by rule what constitutes a sixty-day supply of medical marijuana.

The bill intends to remove the ambiguity surrounding how much marijuana a patient and his or her caregiver may legally possess. Since the law was enacted in 1998, there have been numerous disputes between patients and law enforcement over what constitutes an appropriate supply of marijuana.

Although patient advocates are eager to eliminate confrontations between patients and police, many fear that the Department of Health might establish a marijuana possession limit that is too restrictive. As a result, the ability of patients to maintain a consistent and reliable supply of medical marijuana would be hampered.

Therefore, if the legislature is going to delegate authority to adopt rules for medical marijuana, it should require the Department of Health to consult with patients and patient advocates in Washington State before changing the medical marijuana supply limit.

Please visit to send an e-mail letter to your state legislators, urging them to ensure that the Department of Health - if it is authorized to change the medical marijuana law - receives substantial input from the patients whose lives will be affected.