2nd Press Release 11 February 2015

Will Olympia Show True Leadership & Compassion

While Revolutionizing Medical Cannabis

~~11 February 2015

WASHINGTON STATE—With the start of signature gathering on January 21st for Initiative Measure No. 1372 for the People to vote on in November, a legislative section 1 version being cited the Medical Cannabis Reform Act (MCRA) was sent the Representatives, Senators, and Governor Inslee as well.

Will Legislators & Governor show true leadership, compassion, as well as make history revolutionizing medical cannabis legalization? Or will it be the people to be the ones to make history?

Current bills proposed this session continue with Olympia's history of politics and will eliminate private, non-commercial collective gardens as well as authorizations for the medical use of cannabis. Collective gardens came from ESSB 5073 that survived the 2011 sectional veto was meant to be private, non-commercial patient cooperative. Unfortunately the medical cannabis market, wanting to serve the community, chose to use the collective garden section to open their commercial business. The commercial market does need regulation, not patients working together to make the medicine. How does ending medical authorizations not end medical cannabis? As long as cannabis remains a federal schedule 1 controlled substance, does Olympia think that they will have compliance with health care professionals and qualifying patients going on a list? A list of any kind is a registry, and doesn't protect or serve the best interests of qualifying patients nor health care professionals.

The Legislature also continues to propose turning medical cannabis over to the Liquor Control Board (LCB). Beside the fact that recreational use and medical use are two different markets, and that the LCB is not a health care agency:
~~LCB has 17 public meeting violations and just agreed to a $192,000 settlement to a case against them to be dropped. They need to be directed to pay from their bonds, not tax payer dollars. Even still, new cases and ethics charges have been filed against them.
~~LCB still have pending cases against them for the implementation of I-502.
~~4,000 recently released pages show how they held private meetings to end medical cannabis.1

~~In an article in September Rick Garza said that the LCB will not have the revenue to regulate recreational cannabis.

Also turning medical cannabis over to the liquor control board would break FDA and DOJ laws about combining alcohol and medical companies. Which starting filings to the Legislature last year the recreational use of cannabis, and are currently to the People as I-1373 and 1375.

The Medical Cannabis Reform Act (MCRA) is the legislative version of I-1372 with a section 1 written for the legislature. I-1372 comes from I-632 filed November 27, 2013, and I-643 filed December 23, 2013 as the Ric Smith Memorial Act (RSMA) before the House's first filing last session as HB 2233. I-1343 changed it to the Ric Smith Remembrance act. HB 1020 is the current filing of RSMA for this session, so almost half the text is already filed in the House. MCRA doesn't have some of the restrictions put in for politics and other special interests groups while creating the regulation that is needed for the medical cannabis market.

With SSB 5528, which was unanimously passed out of the Senate Health Care Committee during the 2013 session, half of the text of the MCRA is already filed in both Houses. Only the following would need to be done:

(1) Any small edits to the companion bill texts so that the final copy reflects the final text pdf file, to insure that things like the spelling correction for “useable”.

(2) Once the above is done, an amendment that no more amendments can be added nor any sectional veto be done. (This is to prevent special interests groups and politics from putting in unnecessary things. The board will address all of the Legislators and government agencies' concerns. The line-item veto protection is so that Washington state's qualifying patients don't end up with an incomplete law that they have had since the 2011 veto of ESSB 5073.)

In the 22 other states that have medical cannabis, none have a board consisting of the state and the community with separate revenue to regulate the market while remaining revenue neutral? Having a separate revenue from the state prevents special interests from dominating the board. If Legislators don't choose this path, continuing with politics as usually, Washington state still has a chance if I-1372 qualifies for the ballot. The people began medical cannabis and it may take them to put in the compassionate, fair and history making regulation.

Kirk Ludden,
Jun 7, 2015, 1:04 PM