Washington State Looks To Regulate Medical Marijuana As Legal Recreational System Takes Hold

WASHINGTON:  Dozens of marijuana plants await harvest at a production site for “Loaded Soda,” an Olympia-based business that provides marijuana-infused sodas, vitamin waters and other products to more than 400 medical marijuana collectives throughout the state.

Owner Dave Kois stands in the middle of the three-foot plants, discussing the different strains of marijuana that he’s growing, as well as his thoughts on efforts by the state to regulate the medical market that he currently caters to. Two bills working their way through the Legislature seek to reconcile the medical market with the new recreational market approved by voters in the fall of 2012.

Lawmakers in Olympia have worried that the largely unregulated medical system would undercut the taxed, recreational industry, and U.S. Justice Department officials have warned that the state’s medical marijuana status quo is untenable.

“It’s about money for the state,” said Kois, who grows marijuana that has high levels of a compound known as CBD and is low in THC, the chemical that causes users to get high. “They see medical as a threat to their tax money on the recreational side. I understand that. But I think that the two should be regulated separately. They’re two separate systems and they should stay that way.”


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