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State may revise medical pot law

Tue., Feb. 5, 2013

Bill requires patient authorization cards

OLYMPIA — Washington is in danger of having two different, and sometimes conflicting, marijuana laws, one for those who have it for medical uses and one for everyone else, legislators were told today.

The Senate is considering a revision to medical marijuana laws that would clarify how the state would regulate the drug under a 1998 initiative and address how the state designates someone as a qualified patient.

Washington is the only state with a medical marijuana law that does not also have a state registry for patients who have a doctor’s approval to use the drug. Senate Bill 5528 would require patients to have an authorization card on some type of tamper-proof paper, but no registry.

A registry with a patient’s name and address that could be made public “could be just a roadmap for burglars,” Arthur West, a medical marijuana advocate, told the committee.

The State Liquor Control Board is setting up a system for marijuana to be grown, processed and sold in Washington under last year’s Initiative 502. But the stores licensed by the control board will be separate from marijuana dispensaries that have sprung up to supply medical marijuana. And marijuana legal under I-502 will be taxed at a higher rate than medical marijuana.


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