By JAY BERNEBURG
Currently, access to medical marijuana in Washington is, for the most part, unregulated. If the recreational marijuana program in Washington is going to be successful, the Legislature must pass legislation regulating access to medical marijuana.
However, this legislation must regulate medical marijuana separately from recreational marijuana to protect patient access to medical marijuana.
As the Liquor Control Board moves forward in setting up a system to serve recreational marijuana users, it has become increasingly fearful that the state-licensed stores might not succeed because many of their customers are already being served by medical marijuana providers. If medical marijuana outcompetes recreational marijuana, the state-licensed stores will fail.
The fact of the matter is, medical and recreational should not be competing markets. Medical marijuana is supposed to be for people with terminal illnesses and debilitating conditions, while recreational marijuana is for everybody else who wants to use marijuana.
However, when viewed as competing markets, medical marijuana has an unfair advantage over recreational marijuana.