Medical Marijuana in Washington State has a long history of community, compassionate care, legalization activism, and standard setting self regulation.
In 1998 voters approved Ballot Initiative I-692 which removed criminal penalties for medical cannabis patients with valid documentation from their doctor of a debilitating condition.
At the time these conditions included cachexia; cancer; HIV or AIDS; epilepsy; glaucoma; intractable pain (defined as pain unrelieved by standard treatment or medications); multiple sclerosis. Later, chronic renal failure, Crohn's disease, Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain, diseases including anorexia which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, and spasticity were added as approved conditions.
Cannabis dispensaries opened to allow collectives of patients to cooperate in the production, processing, and distribution of their allotted Cannabis plants.
These communities are responsible for creating a path way to recreational Cannabis legalization while serving as a breeding ground for the healing powers of Cannabis. Breeders hunted through generations of Cannabis genetics to find ratios of Cannabinoid that suited their patient base, processors shared information on extracted essential Cannabis hash oil in safe and effective ways. All the while members of the community were incessantly lobbying Olympia for Cannabis normalization and legalization.
Initiative 502 was passed in 2012 which created a system for licensing, regulating, and taxing Cannabis production processing, and sales for what is considered "recreational cannabis". These laws did nothing to change existing medical marijuana laws.
As the "i502 market" was created and developed, the deep rooted infrastructure of medical cannabis communities and organizations quickly came under fire. Most i502 retailers who had worked hard to obtain a WSLCB license did not want to compete with a market that was not required to follow the same regulatory guidelines they were. The result was SB 5052 also known as the Patient Protection Act. This act created the market you see today.
Without consideration for the patients who had come to rely on medical Cannabis products and dispensaries, the old medical community was dismantled and forced into the recreational marketplace.
As of July 2016 all medical Cannabis patients will be expected to purchase their medicine from stores that have obtained a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board License. You can learn about the rules and regulations for Washington State Cannabis patients on our "Get Registered as a Medical Cannabis Patient" page.