The Washington House of Representatives approved legislation that would eradicate medical marijuana dispensaries, aka "collective gardens," and enforce new limitations on patients that are registered with the program.
House Bill 2149, which passed by a substantial margin of 67 to 29, is basically designed to eliminate the competition for the recreational retail marketplace.
Representative Eileen Cody, the lawmaker who introduced the bill, and those that support the legislation are hopeful that banning medical marijuana dispensaries will not only help the state take full advantage of tax revenues, but also appease the federal government.
As of May 1, 2015, if the Senate votes in approval of this bill, state-authorized recreational marijuana retail outlets would be the only place for medical marijuana patients to purchase their supply.
Under the new regulations, patients would still have the right to cultivate their own plants, but the number would be significantly reduced from the currently permitted 15 plants to a mere total of six. (Three in the flowering cycle and three in the vegetation cycle.)
The amount a patient would be allowed to possess is drastically cut as well, being abbreviated from the current legal amount of 24 ounces of dried flowers to minuscule total of three.
"I think that we can satisfy some of the patients," Representative Cody avowed after the voting was complete. "I don't think that all of the medical marijuana community will be happy."
You think? That's the trouble with most politicians: they think!
"Our cowardly legislators voted to effectively end medical cannabis here," Steve Sarich, executive director of the Cannabis Action Network declared. "Patients are in shock. If the Senate votes to pass this bill, Washington will be the first state to end medical cannabis."