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Medical Marijuana Patients Are ‘Bad For Profits’ If They Can Grow Their Own

The Washington State Liquor Control Board — which had its alcohol-selling duties taken away by voters, only to be put in charge of recreational marijuana by “legalization” measure I-502 — has, unfortunately, been put in charge of medical cannabis, as well.

Despite last fall’s promises that I-502, which legalizes possession of up to an ounce of pot, “wouldn’t affect medical marijuana,” and assurances that the two systems would be maintained separately, it didn’t take very long for state bureaucrats to extend the WSLCB’s authority to include medicinal cannabis as well as recreational marijuana.

The Board has extended the deadline to submit public comment for the draft recommendations regarding medical marijuana. The new deadline is November 13, and complete information on how to submit comments is at the end of this article.

The medical cannabis system, which has been working for 15 years now, since voters overwhelmingly approved it back in 1998, has — well, what do you know — suddenly been deemed a pressing “problem” which “needs regulation.”

And, surprise surprise! Once the Liquor Control Board bureaucrats were asked for their input on medical marijuana, they recommended that both channels of safe access for patients —  home-growing and through collectives — be shut down, as if the bureaucrats are afraid their mass-produced, over-taxed pot wouldn’t be able to “compete” with patient collectives.

Top officials both in the LCB and in the Washington Legislature have expressed the opinion that more than 90 percent of all medical cannabis patients in the state are faking it. So the nastily cynical plan seems to be, since practically all of them are faking it, let’s treat them like the recreational users they  really are — and make money off them.

Medical marijuana patients in Washington have basically been told they’re “bad for profits” if they don’t participate in the recreational legalization scheme of I-502 — and more than that, they’re being forced to do so, under these recommendations.

Even when you put aside the questions of the affordability of cannabis for patients if they are no longer allowed to grow their own, safe access remains problematic under I-502.

Only 21 recreational marijuana stores are permitted to open in Seattle. Currently, there are considerably more than 200 medicinal cannabis dispensaries operating in the city — and that’s just Seattle. How can reducing the number of access points tenfold, be called “preserving safe access for patients”?

Meanwhile, under these recommendations we have a decidedly non-medical body — the Liquor Control Board, for goodness’ sakes — in charge of the entire supply of marijuana in the state, which patients literally having nowhere else to legally go for medicine that is, to many of them, crucial to life and health. The LCB is, of course, completely unqualified to making the kinds of medical decisions that completely controlling the state’s entire supply of cannabis entails.

Inexorably moving towards gutting medical marijuana in Washington, the Board  claims there are no currently legal medicinal cannabis businesses in the state. This would come as quite a surprise to hundreds of tax-paying access points with business licenses — and this pronouncement comes despite the fact the RCW 69.51a clearly allows the formation of patient collectives, and the exchange of money for marijuana within those collectives.

Millions of dollars are currently being paid to the Washington Department of Revenue by medicinal cannabis businesses. According to KIRO, the Department collected $2.3 million in taxes from 85 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state in 2012. One collective owner, Ryan Kunkel of Seattle access point Have A Heart, recently paid about $110,000 in cash.

 

As the Liquor Control Board’s recommendations currently stand, they would:

• Eliminate all medical marijuana home grows and collective gardens

• Eliminate the affirmative defense for medical marijuana patients by instituting a mandatory patient registry and designated provider registry

• Eliminate the current process used to add new conditions to those authorized for medical marijuana, forcing patients to lobby for legislation for to cover their conditions

• Force patients to obtain all their marijuana through recreational, I-502 stores, where the employees are expressly forbidden to discuss medicinal uses of cannabis

• Reduce current patient possession limits from 24 ounces to 3 ounces

• Eliminate Rick Simpson Oil, hash oil, and other concentrates which are crucial for the treatment regimens and continued health of many patients.

Please Email or Write the Liquor Control Board

“Fifteen years of medical cannabis laws, legal precedence and now people’s lives and livelihood are being threatened by a small group of government bureaucrats looking to expand their authority,” said activist John Novak of 420leaks.org. “We have the public documents to prove this has been their plan all along.”

The new deadline for public comment is November 13, 2013, which coincides with the public hearing/special meeting on the subject.

Submit public comment by email at medicalmarijuana@liq.wa.gov, by fax at 360-664-9689 or by mailing them directly to:

Medical Marijuana
Liquor Control Board
P.O. Box 43080
Olympia, WA 98504-3080

 

  • Denise Dorey

    Alcohol is a dangerous addictive substance with little medicinal value that qualifies as a drug. Cannabis is an herb with infinite medicinal value that is not addictive or toxic at any dosage. To be controlled by alcohol boards is wrong, & taxes on medicine is morally wrong.

  • Burton

    Apart from being completely asinine and just ignoring the law, it seems they are ignoring something else. Medical Cannabis patients do not want to get high, they want to get well, and cannabis is what is capable of doing that. Options for treatment like Rick Simpson oil and various creams and tinctures, which they plan on making illegal, are vital and cannot be replaced with smoked or eaten cannabis.

  • harry

    het if you want to kill the lcb, i’ll be happy to ablidge for ya

  • Zeke

    What I don’t get is why its perfectly fine to grow your own tobacco or brew your own liquor anywhere but in states where cannabis is legal they’re trying to say you can’t grow your own.

  • Tom

    Steve, I totally agree with your article here. This is a serious threat to the industry and to patients.

    However, you put that MMJ patients are “bad for profits” in quotes both in the title of your piece and I’m the body. The implication is that this is a direct quote from a source on the WSLB, which is wrong–no one has in fact said that as far as I can tell. It does a disservice to your argument to do this, it comes across as putting words in their mouths. If I’m wrong and you can source that quote, holy crap *please* do, it’d be a bomb.

    Otherwise, the strongest argument is to focus on fifteen years of tax paying and strong self-policing in the MMJ industry. Showing that there already exists a reasonable framework that can be converted into new regulations is really important right now. Making that case calmly and professionally is extremely urgent. Without a clear, reasonable proposal from the MMJ side, the Lege will certainly go with the WSLB’s reccommendations.

  • Tom

    Ok, this kind of comment actively damages the case Steve and others are trying to make. Nothing could be worse than looking violent and stupid. This is a serious issue, friend. Please help us treat it seriously.

  • Danny Fry

    How did the liquor board get control of this? I wish you guys a lot of luck on this one.

  • Bob

    Thank you Steve , for your activism . Never thought I’d leave my home state , especially after the amount of traveling I have done across this nation . Washington was always such a great place to come home to .For three generations my family has called the Evergreen State home . Gutting my rights as a patient will probably force me into relocating .

    I-502 is reflective of the insidious nature of the political class . This group of well funded and well connected individuals preempted the inevitable conclusion of legalization of cannabis in Washington State with a bill that looked to feed the system on the backs of cannabis users . How can people even participate , with such shrewd and cunning forces working against you to diminish or limit your inalienable freedoms . It never ceases to amaze me that in the land of freedom and liberty , there is always someone there to limit your freedoms .

    ( I consider cannabis cultivation and use in any form or fashion in the privacy of ones own property to be an inalienable right ) . I do not consider impaired driving to be a freedom , however the state already had laws on driving under the influence, I do not support the arbitrary or unscientific zero tolerance threshold the 502 group sold the public . If Washington state law enforcement needed more tools to deal with possible drug driving I assure you they would have asked for just that . This was used as a bargaining chip to law enforcement state – wide,as a possible revenue stream to make up for any lose of revenue made from charging cannabis users with simple possession .

  • SteveSarich

    Great article! Sorry….but the LCB officials belong behind bars. They’ve been plotting behind closed doors, in violation of the state’s Open Public Meetings Act, to come up with rules to turn the most vulnerable segment of our population, cancer patients, AIDS patients, MS patients….into felons for growing their own medicine. Oh…and if that’s not enough, the want to pass a state Constitutional Amendment take away our right to an affirmative defense based on medical necessity! Just to make sure we can’t defend ourselves in court!

    So if the lack of availability to your medication doesn’t kill you, your attempt to grow it will land you in a prison cell and you can die there.

    Just remember…..”Pot’s legal now!” See how much “safer” you’re going to be now, thanks to Alison Holcomb?

    You better get off your lazy butts, or we’re not going to survive this one folks. You bet get down to Lacey for the hearing on Nov. 13th… if you plan on continuing to grow your own medication….cause you’re about to lose it.

    Steve Sarich
    Cannabis Action Coalition
    http://www.cannabisactioncoalition.com

  • SteveSarich

    Actually, that’s not a good strategy. We know the “fix” is in with the legislature and the Governor. Our best strategy is to kill ANY bill with the word “marijuana” or “cannabis” in it this year. It will be a “Trojan Horse”. They make some vague promises (cheaper taxes, or some other lie they think buy), the bill will hit the floor of the House, and then it will have 27 new amendments added to it, all bad. Once it passes, anything we were promised in return for giving up even more of our rights, will be sectionally vetoed by Gov. Inslee.

    At that point the bill doesn’t look ANYTHING like what we were promised and THEY’RE all pointing out that “the patient community supported the bill”. We can’t be that stupid this year! No compromise this year! None….ZERO!

    How do we know that this is what they have planned? We have their email. It’s up on http://www.420Leaks.com …read it for yourself.

    And don’t think for one friggin second that somehow an appeal to their compassion, or asking for “a reasonable framework”, or being “calm and professional”, will influence these heartless bureaucrats for damn second. They’re plotting in secret to take medication away from cancer patients! What make you think any of the above strategies would make ANY difference to these people?

    Steve

  • SteveSarich

    True…no violence. But having them thrown in jail, like they’d like to do to us, I think is poetic justice.

  • medcannabis1

    If there is corruption..then let law-enforcement do their jobs… if the political class of citizen has participated in this underhanded method of prohibitionist tactics..then let them be removed from office… for this issue is far to important for any of us not to work together to firmly establish that the citizens of Washington who use the herb cannabis for it’s medicinal qualities are not vice influenced sinners who should viewed as “liars” by the prohibitionist profiteers. The rules should stay as they are ..with an ability for the medical cannabis citizens to have whole plant botanical substance available under the current regulations.
    This is not about profit….this is about compassionate care and support of local economies and our friends who have supported this movement from the beginning.
    The lesson we have learned is simple.. ” that those that support prohibition and the American Slave trade with the Prison Industry will not simply go away because of a progressive change in the law. ” They are well financed..well positioned to keep there power base intact..and a willingness to do and say anything to accomplish those above mentioned facts..
    So in the future..we must insure that WE THE PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON elect only COMPASSIONATE CITIZENS to public office..and we can bring some common sense to our government.. and it’s law enforcement agencies.

  • jeff

    Talk about crimes against humanity!

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