Senate Passes Bill To Regulate Medical Marijuana
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Senate Passes Bill To Regulate Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on March 08, 2014 at 15:34:44 PT
By Lisa Baumann and Rachel La Corte, AP
Source: Associated Press
Olympia, Wash. -- A measure to overhaul the state's medical marijuana system cleared the Senate Saturday as the state moves to merge that largely unregulated market with the still-developing legal recreational market.Senate Bill 5887 passed on a 34-15 vote and now heads to the House, which passed a similar measure last month. Both chambers will now negotiate a final bill to reconcile the medical market with the recreational market approved by voters in the fall of 2012.
The changes under the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center include reducing the amount of marijuana and the number of plants patients can possess, doing away with collective gardens and establishing a patient registry."The bill you have is a result of bicameral bipartisan effort," Rivers said, calling the measure a framework. "This is the very best attempt to protect our patients and their rights while making sure we meet Initiative 502 guidelines," which legalized the recreational use of marijuana.At the end of 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize possession of recreational marijuana by adults 21 and older. The voters also called for the establishment of systems of state-licensed pot growers, processors and retail stores.Sales have already begun in Colorado, but licensed stores in Washington state aren't expected to open until this summer.Washington has allowed the medical use of marijuana since 1998. The hundreds of dispensaries that currently exist are not regulated by the state, but they loosely operate under current state law on "collective gardens" that allows qualifying patients to pool their resources to grow, produce and deliver medical cannabis.Lawmakers have worried that the largely unregulated medical system would undercut the taxed recreational industry established by Initiative 502. U.S. Justice Department officials have warned that the state's medical pot status quo is untenable.Medical marijuana patients have flocked to public hearings on the issue in both the Senate and House in recent weeks, decrying the potential changes.Under the measure that passed Saturday, collective gardens would be eliminated on Sept. 1, 2015, meaning that unless current dispensaries receive a license from the state, they will have to close. But under the measure that passed Saturday, patients and designated providers may form cooperative marijuana-growing operations of no more than four participants.Rivers has said she's sympathetic to patients' concerns, but she's worried about what the federal government will do if the state doesn't make the changes."I believe we are doing a lot for our patients in this," Rivers said. "They were at front of mind when we were developing this bill."Under her measure, the amount of cannabis patients can have would be cut from 24 ounces to 3 ounces. Under the recreational law, adults are allowed to have up to an ounce. The measures also limit the number of plants patients can grow to six. Under current regulations, they can grow 15.Rivers' bill would allow a health professional to authorize an additional amount, but no more than eight ounces or 15 plants. Her measure would also allow additional amounts for marijuana-infused products like liquids and concentrates.The measure permits stores to have a medical endorsement to sell medical as well as recreational marijuana and allows an option for endorsed retail stores to solely serve medical-marijuana patients. The bill requires the Liquor Control Board, which is overseeing implementation of Initiative 502, to consider the needs of patients in determining the number of retail licenses issued. Currently, the board has limited recreational retail licenses to 334 across the state, for which there are currently more than 2,000 applications.The measure also allows patients with an authorization card to not pay sales and use tax at retail stores that have a medical marijuana endorsement. Patients with an authorization card are allowed to grow in their homes, something that recreational users are not allowed to do under Initiative 502.Also under the bill, the state's Liquor Control Board would be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board.Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, voted against the measure because he said no funding was included in the bill for local governments to work with the new regulations. "The only piece of the puzzle we missed is the revenue share," he said.Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, said one of her keenest disappoints came in 2011 when then Gov. Christine Gregoire vetoed her legislation to regulate the medical marijuana industry. She and Rivers noted that adding revenue sharing for local governments remains possible and that the bill is work in progress. Source: Associated Press (Wire) Author: Lisa Baumann and Rachel La Corte, Associated PressPublished:  March 8, 2014Copyright: 2014 The Associated PressCannabisNews   Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #8 posted by HempWorld on March 09, 2014 at 19:09:11 PT
Thank You!
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 09, 2014 at 18:23:36 PT
Thank you. I have it posted now.
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on March 09, 2014 at 17:31:03 PT
Dem's make smart decision. 
California Democrats are making a smart decision to support (RE) legalizing cannabis. It will further expose the disconnect Republicans have with voters and do so on a national scale.
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Comment #5 posted by HempWorld on March 09, 2014 at 16:29:27 PT
CA Dems approve mj legalization!
California Democrats have approved a party platform including a plank calling for marijuana legalization, marking a major shift for the state party. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, state party delegates moved Sunday to adopt a platform that includes support for "the legalization, regulation and taxation of pot in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol." The platform was adopted by a near-unanimous voice vote.California Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom, formerly the mayor of San Francisco, made the case for the position change during the Democrats' 3-day convention in Los Angeles. "It's time for all of us to step up and step in and lead once again in California, just as we did in 1996. We did just that with medical marijuana," Newsom said during his Saturday address to the convention. "But for almost 20 years now, we've sat back admiring our accomplishment while the world, the nation, and states like Colorado and Washington have passed us by. ... It's time to legalize, it's time to tax, it's time to regulate marijuana for adults in California."Newsom continued, "This is not a debate about hippies. This is not a debate about stoners. We can't diminish this issue or the people involved in this debate by belittling them and trivializing them. Let me be clear. You can be pro-regulation without being an advocate for drug use." Watch Newsom's speech
Legalize It!
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on March 09, 2014 at 15:15:15 PT
I know there are others
but I was just pointing out that soon the entire west coast will look like this.
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on March 09, 2014 at 15:06:25 PT
So it will look like this:
California, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Mexico. All legal cannabis states."Marijuana is bad, marijuana is illegal, end of discussion"-Former Drug Czar, William BennettUh, apparently NOT Bill! You bloviating bag of bovine bottom blow!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 09, 2014 at 14:26:51 PT
California Democrats Call for MJ Legalization
California Democrats Call for Marijuana Legalization, Fracking Ban March 9, 2014URL:,0,682637.story
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on March 09, 2014 at 08:57:54 PT
Mark Souder, laying low.
This guy's stupidity and misguided power have hurt so many people. As MMJ becomes used and studied more and more, it is clear that this man's loyalty to the pill pushers in his neighborhood have helped to facilitate the pain and suffering of many.Mark Souders face and eyes have the look of a mentally ill person. He was the designated congressional butt plug to keep any discussion on MMj from happening.A perfect candidate for cage time, if you ask me.
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