Washington Medical Marijuana Database May Not Be Operational By July 1

WASHINGTON: The Department of Health wants medical marijuana patients and providers to be prepared for possible delays when Washington’s new medical marijuana law takes effect July 1.

The law requires DOH to oversee the development and administration of the medical marijuana authorization database. The agency reportedly is experiencing some software challenges with the database, and it may not be ready by July 1.

The database is necessary to produce recognition cards.  Under the new law, recognition cards are required if patients and designated providers 21 and older wish to have access to the following benefits:

  • Purchase products sales-tax free.
  • Purchase up to three times the current legal limit for recreational users.
  • Purchase high-THC infused products.
  • Grow more than four plants in their residence.
  • Have full protection from arrest, prosecution, and legal penalties, although patients will still have an affirmative defense.

Patients and providers can still purchase marijuana from authorized retail stores; however, they can’t take advantage of the benefits until the database is operational.

In a press release, the department emphasized it is committed to ensuring patient safety, and promised to continue to work on having the database ready as soon as possible.

A status update is expected no later than Thursday if the agency fails to meet the deadline.

Washington Begins Process Of Aligning Marijuana Stores

WASHINGTON: Washington on Wednesday adopted emergency rules and issued new draft rules to begin the process of aligning the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market.

The State Liquor and Cannabis Board‘s actions are the result of new legislation which established a priority system for licensing existing medical marijuana stores.

The emergency rules, which are effective immediately, allow the board to begin the process of licensing new retail outlets that may sell both medical and recreational marijuana. Existing recreational stores may also apply for an endorsement to sell both.

The board will begin accepting retail license applications on Oct. 12.

New Marijuana Law Side Effect: Youth Possession Now A Felony

WASHINGTON: A prosecutor in southeastern Washington has charged three teens with felonies for marijuana possession, saying a new law demands the higher level of offense.

The Lewiston Tribune in Idaho reports three teens ages 14, 15 and 17 have been charged in nearby Asotin County with felonies that could net them up to five years in prison. The offense was previously a misdemeanor with a maximum 90-day jail sentence.

Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols says Senate Bill 5052 contains the new language.

Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center says the tougher penalty was designed to deter minors from trying an adult drug.

Marijuana Stores Could Double In Washington State

WASHINGTON: Washington could get lots more pot stores.

State regulators will allow medical marijuana providers to seek retail licenses later this fall. There are no strict limits on how many new licenses could be granted, and there is no requirement that they focus on medical patients.

This sounds like it could mean more competition. But it also means that all pot stores will be on equal footing.

The passage of Initiative 502 in 2012 launched Washington’s regulated marijuana system. But officials watched in dismay as hundreds of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries sprouted on street corners around the state. Now under a new state law, “gray market” marijuana providers must get state retail licenses or close their doors.

Liquor and Cannabis Board spokesman Brian Smith said the number of new licenses his agency can grant is open-ended.

Seattle Medical Marijuana Providers Want ‘Good Guy’ Status

WASHINGTON:  In the medical marijuana business, Seattle has determined that there are good guys and bad guys.

Seattle and King County recently sent letters to all medical marijuana businesses, warning them they need to close. Seattle sent two kinds of letters: one to “good guys” who have a good shot at getting a state license, and another to “bad guys” who probably won’t.

King County took a harder line, telling all the dispensaries in unincorporated areas to close.

Washington’s Medical Cannabis Farmer’s Markets Remain Open, For Now

WASHINGTON:  With recent changes to the medical cannabis laws in Washington the future of medical cannabis farmer’s markets are looking bleak and uncertain.

One market, MMJ Universe in Black Diamond, announced this week that after years of providing a safe access point for thousands of medical cannabis patients they would be shutting down by August 8th. This announcement came shortly after a press conference by the King County Sheriff that said all medical cannabis dispensaries will need to shut their doors if they are not part of the regulated system that Washington has created for recreational use.

When I arrived at the MMJ Universe market on Saturday, I was pleasantly greeted with a sign that said, “We are staying open.” Apparently, they have been advised that they will be able to remain operating until at least October and possibly beyond.

To check out my video at MMJ Universe on Marijuana Channel One, click here:

Some Patients Concerned About New Medical Marijuana Rules

WASHINGTON:  Many patients who depend on medical marijuana are paying close attention to Washington’s new regulations, which could have a big impact once they take effect.

“It should be to help patients get more access in this new legal market, not less,” said Cari Boiter, a patient who uses medical marijuana to treat a hereditary joint problem.

Boiter says the products she buys at the Seattle Medical Marijuana Association are really the only effective treatment for her collagen deficiency.

She can visit once or twice a month, stock up, and get on with her life, but isn’t sure it will be this easy under the new regulations.