Washington medical cannabis patients and providers should be prepared for delays in the roll-out of the state’s new medical regulations.
In particular, the state-managed database of medical cannabis authorizations is not ready yet, according to an email issued yesterday afternoon by the Washington Department of Health. This could spell dire consequences for Washington cannabis patients.
Lawmakers voted last summer to dismantle the state’s 18-year-old medical cannabis industry, and those regulations — which assimilate the medical industry into the I-502 recreational market — are supposed to take effect this Friday, July 1. Under the new regulations, patients will be required to get medicine from licensed cannabis retail outlets.
Recreational retailers, however, charge significantly more for cannabis products than dispensaries and collectives charged in the medical industry.
Regulators had planned a database that patients would register with to receive patient recognition cards. With such a card, patients would be allowed to:
- Purchase cannabis products sales-tax free.
- Purchase up to three times the legal limit for recreational users.
- Purchase products infused with higher amounts of THC than recreational users.
- Grow more than four plants at home.
- Enjoy full protection from arrest, prosecution, and legal penalties associated with their marijuana activities — though patients will still have an affirmative defense.
If the database is indeed delayed, it will inevitably spell trouble for Washington cannabis patients.
According to the Health Department’s email: “Patients and providers can still purchase marijuana from authorized retail stores; however, they can’t take advantage of the benefits until the database is operational.”
“The department is committed to ensuring patient safety, and it will continue to work on having the database ready as soon as possible,” the department said in its release.
Activists are planning a downtown Seattle protest for tomorrow during the afternoon rush hour to bring attention to the plight of Washington’s medical cannabis patients.
Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe