23 Legal States

Washington Medical Marijuana Laws

Full Text of Washington's Medical Marijuana Law

**CHANGES IN 2011**

Washington State Medical Marijuana Act

CHAPTER 69.51A RCW

Sec. 1. TITLE.
This chapter may be known and cited as the Washington state medical use of marijuana act. 

Sec. 2. PURPOSE AND INTENT.
The People of Washington state find that some patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses, under their physician's care, may benefit from the medical use of marijuana. Some of the illnesses for which marijuana appears to be beneficial include chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in cancer patients; AIDS wasting syndrome; severe muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis and other spasticity disorders; epilepsy; acute or chronic glaucoma; and some forms of intractable pain.

The People find that humanitarian compassion necessitates that the decision to authorize the medical use of marijuana by patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses is a personal, individual decision, based upon their physician's professional medical judgment and discretion.

Therefore, The people of the state of Washington intend that:

Qualifying patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses who, in the judgment of their physicians, would benefit from the medical use of marijuana, shall not be found guilty of a crime under state law for their possession and limited use of marijuana;

Persons who act as primary caregivers to such patients shall also not be found guilty of a crime under state law for assisting with the medical use of marijuana; and

Physicians also be excepted from liability and prosecution for the authorization of marijuana use to qualifying patients for whom, in the physician's professional judgment, medical marijuana may prove beneficial.

Sec. 3. NON-MEDICAL PURPOSES PROHIBITED.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to supersede Washington state law prohibiting the acquisition, possession, manufacture, sale, or use of marijuana for non-medical purposes.

Sec. 4. PROTECTING PHYSICIANS AUTHORIZING THE USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA.
A physician licensed under chapter 18.71 RCW or chapter 18.57 RCW shall be excepted from the state’s criminal laws and shall not be penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for:

  1. Advising a qualifying patient about the risks and benefits of medical use of marijuana or that the qualifying patient may benefit from the medical use of marijuana where such use is within a professional standard of care or in the individual physician's medical judgment; or
  2. Providing a qualifying patient with valid documentation, based upon the physician's assessment of the qualifying patient's medical history and current medical condition, that the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the particular qualifying patient.

Sec. 5. PROTECTING QUALIFYING PATIENTS AND PRIMARY CAREGIVERS.

  1. If charged with a violation of state law relating to marijuana, any qualifying patient who is engaged in the medical use of marijuana, or any designated primary caregiver who assists a qualifying patient in the medical use of marijuana, will be deemed to have established an affirmative defense to such charges by proof of his or her compliance with the requirements provided in this chapter. Any person meeting the requirements appropriate to his or her status under this chapter shall be considered to have engaged in activities permitted by this chapter and shall not be penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for such actions.
  2. The qualifying patient, if eighteen years of age or older, shall:
  1.  
    • Meet all criteria for status as a qualifying patient;
    • Possess no more marijuana than is necessary for the patient’s personal, medical use, not exceeding the amount necessary for a sixty day supply; and
    • Present his or her valid documentation to any law enforcement official who questions the patient regarding his or her medical use of marijuana.

The qualifying patient, if under eighteen years of age, shall comply with subsection (2) (a) and (c) of this section. However, any possession under subsection (2) (b) of this act, as well as any production, acquisition, and decision as to dosage and frequency of use, shall be the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian of the qualifying patient. The designated primary caregiver shall:

  1. Meet all criteria for status as a primary caregiver to a qualifying patient;
  2. Possess, in combination with and as an agent for the qualifying patient, no more marijuana than is necessary for the patient’s personal, medical use, not exceeding the amount necessary for a sixty day supply;
  3. Present a copy of the qualifying patient’s valid documentation required by this chapter, as well as evidence of designation to act as primary caregiver by the patient, to any law enforcement official requesting such information;
  4. Be prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for the personal, medical use of the patient for whom the individual is acting as primary caregiver; and
  5. Be the primary caregiver to only one patient at any one time.

DEFINITIONS.
The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

"Medical use of marijuana" means the production, possession, or administration of marijuana, as defined in RCW 69.50.101(q), for the exclusive benefit of a qualifying patient in the treatment of his or her terminal or debilitating illness.

"Primary caregiver" means a person who:

  1. Is eighteen years of age or older;
  2. Is responsible for the housing, health, or care of the patient;
  3. Has been designated in writing by a patient to perform the duties of primary caregiver under this chapter.

  "Qualifying Patient" means a person who:

  1. Is a patient of a physician licensed under chapter 18.71 or 18.57 RCW;
  2. Has been diagnosed by that physician as having a terminal or debilitating medical condition;
  3. Is a resident of the state of Washington at the time of such diagnosis;
  4. Has been advised by that physician about the risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana; and
  5. Has been advised by that physician that they may benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

 "Terminal or Debilitating Medical Condition" means:

  1.  Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders; or
  2. Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications; or
  3. Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications; or
  4. Any other medical condition duly approved by the Washington state medical quality assurance board as directed in this chapter.

 "Valid Documentation" means:

A statement signed by a qualifying patient’s physician, or a copy of the qualifying patient’s pertinent medical records, which states that, in the physician’s professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for a particular qualifying patient; and proof of Identity such as a Washington state driver’s license or identicard, as defined in RCW 46.20.035.

Sec. 7. ADDITIONAL PROTECTIONS.

  1. The lawful possession or manufacture of medical marijuana as authorized by this chapter shall not result in the forfeiture or seizure of any property.
  2. No person shall be prosecuted for constructive possession, conspiracy, or any other criminal offense solely for being in the presence or vicinity of medical marijuana or it’s use as authorized by this chapter.
  3. The state shall not be held liable for any deleterious outcomes from the medical use of marijuana by any qualifying patient.

Sec. 8. RESTRICTIONS, AND LIMITATIONS REGARDING THE MEDICAL USE OF MARIJUANA.

  1. It shall be a misdemeanor to use or display medical marijuana in a manner or place which is open to the view of the general public.
  2. Nothing in this chapter requires any health insurance provider to be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the medical use of marijuana.
  3. Nothing in this chapter requires any physician to authorize the use of medical marijuana for a patient.
  4. Nothing in this chapter requires any accommodation of any medical use of marijuana in any place of employment, in any school bus or on any school grounds, or in any youth center.
  5. It is a class C felony to fraudulently produce any record purporting to be, or tamper with the content of any record for the purpose of having it accepted as, valid documentation under section 6 (5) (a) of this act.
  6. No person shall be entitled to claim the affirmative defense provided in Section 5 of this act for engaging in the medical use of marijuana in a way that endangers the health or well-being of any person through the use of a motorized vehicle on a street, road, or highway.

Sec. 9. ADDITION OF MEDICAL CONDITIONS.
The Washington state medical quality assurance board, or other appropriate agency as designated by the governor, shall accept for consideration petitions submitted by physicians or patients to add terminal or debilitating conditions to those included in this chapter. In considering such petitions, the Washington state medical quality assurance board shall include public notice of, and an opportunity to comment in a public hearing upon, such petitions. The Washington state medical quality assurance board shall, after hearing, approve or deny such petitions within one hundred eighty days of submission. The approval or denial of such a petition shall be considered a final agency action, subject to judicial review.

Sec. 10. SEVERABILITY.
If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

Sec. 11. CAPTIONS NOT LAW.
Captions used in this chapter are not any part of the law.

Sec. 12.
Sections 1 through 11 of this act constitute a new chapter in Title 69 RCW.

 

FULL TEXT OF SEATTLE DISPENSARY LAW

Council Bill Number: 117229
Ordinance Number: 123661


AN ORDINANCE relating to medical cannabis or medical cannabis products, and the regulation thereof within the City of Seattle.

Status: Passed as amended
Date passed by Full Council: July 18, 2011
Vote: 8-0 (Excused: Licata)
Date filed with the City Clerk: July 21, 2011
Date of Mayor's signature: July 21, 2011
Date introduced/referred to committee: July 11, 2011
Committee: Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture
Sponsor: LICATA
Committee Recommendation: Pass
Date of Committee Recommendation: July 13, 2011
Committee Vote: 4 (Licata, Clark, Harrell, Rasmussen) - 0

(No indexing available for this document)

Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note to Council Bill 117229

Electronic Copy: PDF scan of Ordinance No. 123661


Text

 AN ORDINANCE relating to medical cannabis or medical cannabis products, and the regulation thereof within the City of Seattle.

 WHEREAS, federal law prohibits the production, processing, and dispensing of medical cannabis or medical cannabis products, and strict sentencing guidelines enhance the penalties for violations of more than 99 plants or within 1,000 feet of school; and

 WHEREAS, state law strictly enhances the penalties for violations of the Controlled Substances Act for violations within 1,000 feet of a school; and

 WHEREAS, in 1998 the State of Washington approved the medical use of cannabis by patients with certain medical conditions and now several other states allow for the medical use of cannabis; and

 WHEREAS, Washington law also permits patients to grow medical cannabis for their own use or to designate a provider to grow medical cannabis for them; and

 WHEREAS, in 2011 the Washington State Legislature passed ESSSB5073 which permits collective gardens by qualified patients and/or their designated providers whereby they may, consistent with state law, collectively grow cannabis for their own medical use; and

 WHEREAS, in 2011 the Washington State Legislature passed ESSSB5073 which permits cities to regulate and license the production, processing, or dispensing of cannabis or cannabis products within their jurisdiction; and

 WHEREAS, in 2011 Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law some portions of ESSSB5073, described above, to take effect on July 22, 2011; and

 WHEREAS, there are now numerous medical cannabis dispensaries within the City of Seattle, many of which comply with local laws and regulations and peacefully provide care to qualified patients; and

 WHEREAS, the City of Seattle and Seattle voters, who enacted Initiative 75 on September 16, 2003, have made the investigation and prosecution of cannabis violations a low priority; and

 WHEREAS, the City of Seattle expects the Seattle Police Department to continue to provide balanced and measured enforcement of established Medical Cannabis enforcement policy, in compliance with state and local laws; and

 WHEREAS, based on an estimate that four to five percent of Seattle residents, like in other jurisdictions, are medical cannabis users, Seattle may have over 25,000 patients using medical cannabis; and

 WHEREAS, the City of Seattle believes that the medical use of cannabis should be conducted in a safe and fair manner for the health, safety and welfare of the community; and

 WHEREAS, the City of Seattle acknowledges federal prohibition but wants to respond to the changes in state law in a responsible manner that will minimize impacts on patients, providers, and the health, safety, and welfare of the community;

 NOW, THEREFORE,

 BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE AS FOLLOWS:

       Section 1.  The medical use of cannabis under Chapter RCW 69.51A shall be conducted in compliance with all local laws and regulations applicable to similar activities.

       Section 2.  Any manufacture, production, processing, possession, transportation, delivery, dispensing, application, or administration of cannabis, that qualifies as the medical use of cannabis under Chapter RCW 69.51A, shall not exempt any person from complying with requirements of any applicable law of the City of Seattle, including but not limited to:

            A.     The requirements to obtain a business license for engaging in business in the City of Seattle as set forth in Seattle Municipal Code ("SMC") 5.55.030, and to report and/or pay all applicable taxes and fees; and

           B.     Requirements of the City's Land Use Code as set forth in SMC Title 23, including any and all requirements for land use permits; and

            C.     Requirements of the City's Historic Preservation, Environmental Protection, and Noise laws as set forth in SMC Title 25; and

           D.     Requirements of the Building, Construction, Grading, Housing, Electrical, Plumbing, Fuel Gas, Boiler and Pressure Vessel, Plumbing, Fire, Energy and Stormwater Codes as set forth in SMC Title 22; and

           E.     Requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and

           F.     Requirements of the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health for food service and food handling as set forth in SMC Title 10; and

           G.     Requirements of the City's Chronic Nuisance Property laws as set forth in SMC Title 10; and

           H.     Requirements of the City's Street and Sidewalk Use Code as set forth in SMC Title 15; andI. Requirements of the City's Fair Employment Practices regulations as set forth in SMC Chapter 14.04.

       Section 3.  The issuance of a business license pursuant to SMC 5.55.030, or the issuance of any other permit or license by the City, shall not be deemed as approval or permission from the City of Seattle to engage in any activity deemed illegal under any applicable law, nor shall it constitute a determination by the City that the manufacture, production, processing, possession, transportation, delivery, dispensing, application, or administration of and use of cannabis engaged in by the licensee or permittee is either legal or illegal under state or federal law.

        Section 4.  The medical use of cannabis shall not exempt any person from complying with any no smoking law.

       Section 5.  The open use and display of cannabis is prohibited by RCW 69.51A.060.

      Section 6.  Community members seeking to complain about non-emergency problems at a medical cannabis facility in their neighborhood may do so by contacting the City of Seattle Customer Service Bureau.  Emergencies and crime in progress should be reported to 9-1-1.  Regulatory agencies should report non-compliant owners, operators and properties to the City of Seattle Code Compliance Team or similar interdepartmental code enforcement work group to insure a coordinated and thoughtful City response.

       Section 7.  This ordinance shall take effect and be in force 30 days after its approval by the Mayor, but if not approved and returned by the Mayor within ten days after presentation, it shall take effect as provided by Seattle Municipal Code Section 1.04.020.

Offense

Penalty

Incarceration

  Max. Fine  

Possession

Personal Use

1 oz. or less (Private possession/consumption)

No Criminal Penalty

None

None

1 oz. or less (Public consumption)

Civil Penalty

None

$100

1 oz. to 40 g.

Misdemeanor

*24 hours-90 days

$1,000

More than 40 g.

Felony

5 years

$10,000

* Mandatory minimum sentence.

With intent to distribute

Any Amount

Felony

5 years

$10,000

Sale, Distribution or Cultivation

Any amount

Felony

5 years

$10,000

To a minor at least 3 years younger.

Felony

10 years

$10,000

Within 1,000 ft of a school, school bus stop or in a public park, in a public housing project designated as a drug-free zone, in public transportation, and other locations is punishable by double fines and imprisonment.

Hash & Concentrates

Possession of less than 40 g.

Misdemeanor

1 day

$250

Possession of more than 40 g.

Felony

5 years

$10,000

Manufacturing, sale, possession

Felony

5 years

$10,000

Subsequent offenses carry greater penalties.

Patients may possess hash and concentrates for medical use.

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized.

Paraphernalia

Use, possession, delivery, or possession/manufacture with intent to deliver.

Misdemeanor

*24 hours-90 days

$1,000

To a minor at least 3 years younger.

Misdemeanor

1 year

$50,000

* Mandatory minimum sentence