Photo by Shane Harms
MMJ collectives may have a little more time before being absorbed into the I-502 recreational plan.

Bill to change MMJ law smolders

Is it a win for MMJ collectives?

A bill (5887) to change medical marijuana laws died with the closing of the legislative session after being hung up by house republicans trying to divert portions of potential tax revenue from the state's new I-502 system to cities and counties.

Because the U.S. Attorney General’s office deemed the current medical laws “untenable” there is now risk that the they could step in and close the medical marijuana market.

Sen. Ann Rivers, the bill’s main sponsor and a Republican from La Center, made a statement via news release late Thursday after the session closed:

“I don’t think people realize what a blow this is to the medical-marijuana community. … I am legitimately fearful for the patients who rely on medical cannabis because the medical market remains completely unregulated, which leaves a lot of room for the federal government to intervene or even shut down the entire medical-marijuana system in our state. Without this legislation, 14 year-olds are still able to access medical marijuana authorizations without their parents’ consent.

Rivers sympathized with medical patients and said to look for the state offered stores for their medical needs.

“I think patients should plan to use and pay for recreational marijuana because as it stands today, Washington’s medical-marijuana market is outside its legal bounds and was actually deemed ‘untenable’ by the U.S. Attorney General’s office,” said Rivers.

The U.S. Department of Justice release stipulations for Washington and Colorado’s legal cannabis industry last August. However, since the medical cannabis arena now remains unregulated, there is room for interpretation on whether these rules apply to the medical industry.

A majority of those stipulations centered on preventing violence and danger from “drugged driving.” Other stipulations included, preventing minors from obtaining cannabis, controlling the revenues by state bodies and not criminal agencies, keeping the substance off federal property and not using it as a vehicle to traffic other illegal drugs.

Around 10 to 15 medical MMJ collectives still remain operating in the Northwest Seattle area. Many of them have already taken to low profile operations. However, with no law changes, it could mean a win for collectives
still operating -- for now.

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