Two state organizations that help shape medical marijuana policy in Washington are pushing for significant changes to how the medicine is sold to patients. The agencies in question – the Liquor Control Board and the Department of Revenue and Department of Health – are pushing to reduce the amount of marijuana that patients have access to, and reduce the number of conditions for which medical marijuana is legally allowed. These organizations also hope to restrict the sale of marijuana for recreational use solely to state-licensed outlets.

If these organizations have their way, patients will be allowed to posses only three ounces of marijuana. Although this amount is still more than the one ounce allowable for recreational use, it is a significant reduction from the twenty four ounces that patients are currently allowed to posses. The proposed changes will also effectively eliminate home-growing operations and collective-run marijuana gardens.

Philip Dawdy

Philip Dawdy

The proposed measures have come under criticism from medical marijuana advocates, including the Washington Cannabis Association’s Philip Dawdy, who termed the changes “problematic”. According to Dawdy, the passage of the state medical pot law in 1998 effectively allowed patients to grow marijuana at home or to have someone else grow it for them, and that should be the way it is. For Dawdy, the changes to the marijuana law would cause inconvenience for people with debilitating health conditions, especially since the amendments to the marijuana law would reduce the number of marijuana outlets to twenty one – from the present two hundred dispensaries – with most being located in North and South Seattle.

Another critic of the changes to the marijuana law is Alison Holcomb, who was actually responsible for drafting the original recreational marijuana law. A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Holcomb said that if patients and caregivers are required to register, then they should be allowed to grow marijuana at home. Citing collective grows as a major concern, Holcomb said that he doesn’t “see the harm in allowing patients to have a personal supply”.

Alison Holcomb

Alison Holcomb

Dawdy is especially critical of the plans to make medical marijuana available only through recreational marijuana outlets, since it will pose additional obstacles to growers who will have to provide a variety of different marijuana strains. Dawdy also termed the changes “ugly” and “frustrating”, and that growers who provide marijuana to recreational outlets may not be willing to devote additional growing space to medical marijuana strains. Dawdy did hold out hope for a positive resolution, saying that the proposed changes were but a “starting point for negotiations”.

Public comments on these recommendations will be accepted by the Liquor Control Board (in written form) until November 8, 2013.

If you would like to know more about starting up and running your own medical marijuana business and are concerned about the cost, get in touch with us today. With our extensive experience in the medical marijuana industry, we can help you get started with a minimum of obstacles.

About the Author: Brian Ellis

With 6 years' experience in business journalism, Brian is the person we turn to for anything related to the business of cannabis. His news coverage spans topics including marijuana business and finance. Brian's work features on,, , and

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