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Medical Marijuana

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Opportunity for Input: Marijuana Scheduling

In his veto message for portions of SSB 5052, Governor Jay Inslee instructed the Department of Health to thoroughly consider the idea of re-scheduling or de-scheduling marijuana in consultation with medical professionals and stakeholders, and to present him and the Legislature with an appropriate resolution.

Currently marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under both state and federal law, meaning it is illegal and viewed as having no potential medical benefit. It could be changed to Schedule 2-5 or removed from scheduling altogether. However, this change would not affect marijuana's continued status as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law.

Prior to the meeting, please review the draft for marijuana scheduling options (PDF) that will be considered. A comment worksheet (PDF) for marijuana scheduling options can be downloaded and submitted to the department. We will be accepting your input until 5 pm on Friday, December 4.

We look forward to reviewing these options along with others you may have prior to finalizing a report for the Governor. The meeting presentation (PDF) is available for you to download.

You are invited to this meeting to learn more and offer input: 

November 20, 2015
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Educational Services District 113
6005 Tyee Drive SW
Tumwater, WA 98512

If you cannot attend in person, you may join us through web conferencing by registering at GoToWebinar:

  • Start and join at the specified time and date 
  • Choose one of the following audio options:
    • To use your computer’s audio: When the Webinar begins, you will be connected to audio using your computer's microphone and speakers (VoIP). A headset is recommended.

    - OR -

    • To use your phone: If you prefer to use your phone, you must select "Use Telephone" after joining the webinar and call in using the numbers below.

    United States (Toll-free): 1-877-309-2071
    Access Code: 302-176-803
    Audio PIN: Shown after joining the webinar

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you think may be interested. If you have any questions, you may contact us at 360-236-4819 or at

Marijuana Product Compliance

  • On October 5, 2015, the Department of Health filed emergency rules related to requirements for certain marijuana products. These rules are required by 2SSB 5052 (section 10) and 2ESSHB 2136 (section 207) to ensure patients have access to tested, reliable products after the medical and regulated markets are merged on July 1, 2016.

    Because marijuana is a plant that must be started by seed or clone, grown, tested, processed, and packaged before it is sold to the consumer, the Department of Health had insufficient time to use the full rule-making process and ensure an adequate supply would be available to patients on July 1, 2016.

    The emergency rules are only temporary. We have also begun the regular rule-making process with full input and participation from the public. The emergency rules are available below:

Proposed Medical Marijuana Consultant Certificate and Authorization Database Rules

The Department of Health has completed two important tasks required to be in place by July 24, 2015:

  1. Providing a way for healthcare practitioners to report each calendar month they write more than 30 new or renewed authorizations for the medical use of marijuana. Reporting is required beginning July 24, 2015, and ends July 1, 2016. This reporting is being done through an electronic survey available on our website.
  2. Developing a standard form for medical marijuana authorizations. Starting July 24, 2015, all new authorizations must be written on the standard form below. Starting July 1, 2016, all authorizations must be on this new form in order to be valid. The form must be printed on tamper-resistant paper.
  3. 2SSB 5052 – Cannabis Patient Protection Act

    On April 24, 2015, Gov. Inslee signed 2SSB 5052, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (PDF). This act creates licensing and regulation of all marijuana producers, processors and retail stores under the oversight of the renamed Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB). Information about licensing is on LCB's website. It also directs the Department of Health to complete tasks that include:

    • Contracting with a third party to create and administer a medical marijuana authorization database;
    • Adopting rules relating to the operation of the database;
    • Adopting rules regarding products sold to patients and their designated providers;
    • Consulting with the LCB about requirements for a retail store to get a medical marijuana endorsement;
    • Creating a medical marijuana consultant certification program;
    • Developing and approving continuing education for healthcare practitioners who authorize the medical use of marijuana; and
    • Making recommendations to the legislature about establishing medical marijuana specialty clinics.

    The act will take effect in three stages. Below are some of the significant changes. We encourage you to read the entire act carefully.

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    Effective April 24, 2015:

    • The department must begin work to establish the database.
    • No person under the age of 21 may participate in a collective garden or receive marijuana that is produced, processed, transported or delivered through a collective garden. A valid designated provider age 21 or older may participate in a collective garden on behalf of the patient.
    • The LCB may conduct controlled purchases from licensed retailers and collective gardens to ensure they're not providing marijuana to people under the age of 21.

    Effective July 24, 2015:

    • Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are added as qualifying conditions.
    • A qualifying condition must be severe enough to significantly interfere with the patient’s activities of daily living and ability to function, which can be objectively assessed and evaluated.
    • All new authorizations must be written on a form developed by the department and printed on tamper-resistant paper.
    • Patient examinations and re-examinations must be performed in person at the healthcare practitioner’s permanent business location.
    • Healthcare practitioners who write more than 30 authorizations per month must report the number to the department.
    • Healthcare practitioners cannot have a practice that consists primarily of authorizing the medical use of marijuana.
    • No more than 15 plants may be grown in a single housing unit even if multiple patients or designated providers reside there.
    • Butane extraction is prohibited unless the person is a processor licensed by the LCB.

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    Effective July 1, 2016:

    • All marijuana producers, processors and retail stores must be licensed by the LCB.
    • All marijuana and marijuana products must be tested for safety and THC/CBD levels, accurately labeled, and sold in child-resistant packaging.
    • Licensed retail stores may apply for and get a medical marijuana endorsement.
    • All authorizations must be written on a form developed by the department and printed on tamper-resistant paper. All other forms of documentation are no longer valid.
    • Patients under 18 years of age must have permission from a parent or guardian, and must participate in treatment.
    • The database becomes operational.
    • Patients and designated providers may be entered into the database by presenting their authorization to a licensed retail store with a medical marijuana endorsement.
    • Possession amounts change depending on whether the patient or designated provider is entered into the database:
      • Entered: May purchase up to three times the current limits at licensed retail store with a medical marijuana endorsement and may possess six plants and eight ounces of useable marijuana; healthcare practitioner may authorize additional plants to a maximum of 15; purchases at retail stores with a medical marijuana endorsement are not subject to sales tax; provides arrest protection.
      • Not entered: Patient or designated provider can be arrested but has an affirmative defense to criminal prosecution for possession of up to four plants and six ounces of useable marijuana; may not participate in cooperatives; purchases at retail stores limited to amounts for all adults and are subject to sales tax.
    • Up to four patients and designated providers may form a cooperative at the residence of one of the members and may grow the total authorized amount for the four members. Cooperatives must be registered with the LCB.
    • A healthcare practitioner may sell or donate to patients topical products that have less than 0.3 percent THC.
    • Collective gardens under the old law are no longer allowed. New language allows for cooperatives with specific restrictions.

    Decision from the Washington Supreme Court

    A May 2015 decision by the Washington Supreme Court has clarified that Chapter 69.51A RCW doesn't legalize the medical use of marijuana. It only provides qualified patients holding a valid recommendation and their designated providers with an affirmative defense to criminal prosecution (State of Washington v. William Michael Reis (PDF)).

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