Obituary: Medical Cannabis Pioneer And Seattle Icon JoAnna McKee Has Passed

WASHINGTON:  JoAnna McKee, Medical Cannabis Pioneer and Seattle Icon, has passed away. JoAnna cofounded Green Cross Patient CO-OP with her partner Stich Miller in 1993, after seeing a news report mentioning a medical cannabis dispensary in Seattle but not being able to locate an active dispensary.

When JoAnna and Stich spoke with the Seattle AIDS Support Group, a patient said he was looking for a dispensary in order to help combat wasting syndrome, and JoAnna said they were looking for a dispensary to donate medical cannabis to.

That night, Green Cross Patient CO-OP was born.  The organization would request that patients get a note from the Doctor stating they know the patient is using medical cannabis, and JoAnna would call the doctor’s office to verify the doctor’s signature.

In 1995, JoAnna made the news by collecting signatures for a medical cannabis initiative. A local DEA agent saw the news and had a Kitsap County Sheriff raid their home in which they confiscated 140 pot plants; however, inside the home the sheriff deputies hid the medical cannabis that was packaged in bottles around the house. The case was dropped due to insufficient evidence – this would be the first Medical Cannabis Dispensary Raid in the U.S.

In 1997, Green Cross National Safety Council filed a lawsuit against Green Cross Patient CO-OP for copyright infringement, because of the similarity in name and the green cross logo. JoAnna contacted them and brokered a deal in which they agreed JoAnna could use the name Green Cross, but it had to include Patient CO-OP, and she was required to make minor edits to her logo. This would be the first copyright infringement case involving cannabis.