Washington's Med Marijuana Law Needs Fine Tuning
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Washington's Med Marijuana Law Needs Fine Tuning
Posted by CN Staff on March 24, 2010 at 16:06:46 PT
By Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Special To The Times
Source: Seattle Times 
Seattle, WA -- In the past two weeks, we have seen two traumatic incidents involving medical marijuana.On March 9 and again on March 15, the homes of two medical-marijuana patients who are also providers were the sites of violent home invasions. The victim of the first attack died from his wounds. The owner of the second home suffered injuries in a gunfight that also left one of his attackers critically wounded. These attacks highlight shortcomings in our law and the need for reform.
In 1998, the people approved Initiative 692 by a margin of 59 percent, which allowed doctors to authorize the use of medical marijuana for patients with terminal or debilitating conditions. While the law also allows patients to grow their own plants or designate a provider to grow them, it does not provide guidance on where to obtain seeds or cuttings. The law also states that a designated provider may serve "only one patient at any one time." The vagueness of the current law makes it very difficult for patients to get the medication they need and are legally entitled to.Some are working to make medical marijuana more readily accessible to patients. Last June, the Change Dispensary opened its doors in Spokane and made no secret of the fact that it was providing medical marijuana to multiple patients. Its owners were arrested and charged with felonies.Our law puts patients and providers in an impossible position. A patient or provider can comply with the law and still be subject to arrest, prosecution or seizure of medical marijuana. Often, a patient or provider must endure the stress, cost and embarrassment of a trial — and the patient must disclose private medical information — before being acquitted by a jury.This failure to provide complete protection leaves everyone — patients, doctors, providers and law enforcement — confused about the rules. Because of this, patients and providers are often afraid to call on law enforcement for protection from burglars or even to report thefts or assaults.It is time to provide qualified medical-marijuana patients complete protection under the law and to directly regulate the production and dispensing of cannabis. Patients should not have to fear arrest, home searches or property seizures by law-enforcement officers. Providers who want to help patients access medical marijuana should not have to risk prosecution and robbery.As King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recently told The New York Times, "By forcing this production to remain underground, you increase the risk of violence for everybody and you disburse that violence to residential neighborhoods and put everybody at risk."More than a decade has passed since Washington's citizens clearly stated that physician-authorized medical use of marijuana should be legal. In 2011, I will introduce legislation to protect patients from arrest and prosecution and provide well-regulated, safe, consistent and secure sources of cannabis for medical use through licensed dispensaries. I hope citizens across the state will help me pass this legislation to improve the safety of patients, our loved ones and the communities in which we live.Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, chairs the Senate Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee. She was prime sponsor of Senate Bill 5798, passed by the Legislature on March 11, which extends to all health-care professionals with prescriptive authority the ability to authorize the medical use of marijuana.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author:  Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Special To The TimesPublished: Wednesday, March 24, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 26, 2010 at 15:47:21 PT
Kohl-Welles To Speak at Ballard Marijuana Forum
By Robinson Newspapers StaffMarch 26, 2010 State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles of the 36th District will participate in a panel at a forum hosted by Grammas for Ganja March 30 in Ballard.Kohl-Welles sponsored Senate Bill 5789 this session to extend the ability to authorize medical use of marijuana to other licensed health professionals who are already authorized to prescribe controlled substances. These professionals include naturopathic doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.Kohl-Welles also recently penned an op-ed for The Seattle Times about her plans to introduce legislation next session to provide full legal protection for medical marijuana patients and providers who work within the law.The forum will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 30 at the Ballard House Community Room, located at 2445 N.W. 57th St.Gramma’s for Ganja Executive Director Jeanne Black-Ferguson will host. Also expected to attend are Rep. Reuven Carlyle, Dr. Sunil Aggarwal of the University of Washington and Wallingford’s Terra Hemp Manager Jacqueline Meringer.Copyright: 2010 Robinson Communications Inc.URL:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 24, 2010 at 17:04:51 PT
Clinton: Medical Pot Use Not To Blame
Clinton: Medical Pot Use Not To Blame for Trafficking from Mexico March 24, 2010Mexico -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says drug trafficking from Mexico isn't being driven by a demand for medicinal marijuana in California and other states that have legalized medical use.Clinton appeared in Mexico City Tuesday with her Mexican counterpart, Patricia Espinosa, to discuss remedies for cross-border drug smuggling and the scourge of violence in Mexico. She was asked by a Mexican journalist what the U.S. government is doing about states that permit medical marijuana.She said medical pot in places such as California - where dispensaries advertise product from in-state patient growers - has little connection to pot being trafficked across the border."We do not see this as a major contributor to the continuing flow of marijuana, the vast, vast majority of which is used for recreational purposes," she said.Attorney General Eric Holder has announced he won't target legitimate medical marijuana patients or cultivators in states where medicinal use is legal. But Clinton said the administration is enforcing federal laws "where there is any evidence that use of the medical marijuana is not tightly controlled and contained to those people for whom it is a medical substance."URL:
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