Ways & Means Votes on Medical Marijuana Bill This Afternoon
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles‘ proposed legislation to better regulate medical marijuana is scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 1:30 p.m. today. UPDATE: Progress! “Feb 24: Executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 1:30 p.m.”
Here is the latest summary of the bill’s intent:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 101. (1) The legislature intends to amend and clarify the law on the medical use of cannabis so that:
(a) Qualifying patients and designated providers complying with the terms of this act will no longer be subject to arrest or prosecution, other criminal sanctions, or civil consequences based solely on their medical use of cannabis;
(b) Qualifying patients will have access to an adequate, safe, consistent, and secure source of medical quality cannabis; and
(c) Health care professionals may authorize the medical use of cannabis in the manner provided by this act without fear of state criminal or civil sanctions.
(2) This act is not intended to amend or supersede Washington state law prohibiting the acquisition, possession, manufacture, sale, or use of cannabis for non-medical purposes.
Following the failure of Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson’s bill, HB 1550, to make it out of committee (even with a Seattle Times endorsement), SB 5073 (and its companion bill, HB 1100) is the last major legislative hope for this session.
Sensible Washington is still gearing up to put a legalization initiative on the ballot. Named I-1135, the initiative will need some 241,000 signatures by end of June to make the ballot. Distribution of petitions should begin today.
This measure would remove state civil and criminal penalties for the cultivation, possession, transportation, sale, or use of marijuana. Marijuana would no longer be defined as a “controlled substance,” and civil and criminal penalties relating to drug paraphernalia would not apply to marijuana-related offenses. The criminal offense of possession of forty grams or less of marijuana would be amended to apply only to persons under eighteen years old.