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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

Medical marijuana law won’t be on ballot

OLYMPIA -- Washington voters won't be asked this fall if they want to reject changes to the state's medical marijuana laws which the Legislature passed this spring.

A petition drive to place the new law on the ballot won't be turning in signatures, the secretary of state's office said today.

Referendum 76 was a reaction to the change in state law that puts the state's largely unregulated medical marijuana system under the oversight of the Liquor Control Board, which currently regulates the recreational marijuana industry.

Medical marijuana dispensaries will have to be licensed, as will commercial growers. The law also sets up a registry system for medical marijuana users and imposes a tax system similar to the recreational pot system.

At numerous hearings during the 2015 session, some patients opposed the regulations, saying they fear they will not have access to the strains of marijuana that control their medical conditions, or be unable to afford the more heavily taxed drugs.

Earlier today, a group of opponents calling itself the Medical Cannabis Patients political action committee announced it would work to "improve the present laws for the benefit of patients."  A separate group, Sensible Washington, said it will try to overturn the law by challenging it in court.


Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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