WA Judge Rules Doctors Can Advertise MMJ

Some rules changed in Washington last week when Pierce County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Martin overruled a previous law, which banned medical marijuana advertisements by health care providers.

The ruling stemmed from the case of Dr. Scott Havsy, who was sued by the Department of Health in 2012 for publishing advertisements that contained information about medical marijuana and steps to find out if one would qualify for the program. The ads appeared on his website and in certain phone books, and depicted a marijuana leaf with a prescription symbol.

Judge Martin ruled last week that the current ban was a violation of the First Amendment, the right to free speech. “I believe an argument can be made that the speech in question is not purely commercial, but has an informational component for the benefit of the recipient,” Martin explained.

Now, it may be easier for patients in Washington to connect with doctors familiar with and who are friendly towards cannabis therapy, which remains a contested topic in some medical communities.

Meanwhile, the Washington state medical marijuana market remains in a state of limbo as lawmakers in Olympia begin the next legislative session looking for ways to introduce regulations to the currently largely unregulated system.



Photo Credit: Coleen Whitfield


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