Medical-Marijuana Market Remains at Risk, Bill Fails in Final Hours
OLYMPIA, WA - In a
disappointing turn of events late today, the House of Representatives failed to
reach an agreement on Sen. Ann Rivers' bipartisan medical-marijuana measure
before the Legislature adjourned for the year.
Rivers said the fiscal details
that ultimately caused the bill's demise weren't enough of a reason to leave
patients in the dark without any protection.
"I don't think people realize
what a blow this is to the medical-marijuana community," said Rivers, R-La
Center. "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'
"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," warned
The passage of Initiative 502 in
2012 approved the use of recreational marijuana and provided a wholly-regulated
market. Rivers' Senate
Bill 5887, which won Senate approval Saturday, was the product of
a collaborative bipartisan effort over the past two years to protect the
medical-marijuana market and patients in light of I-502.
"I am appreciative of the
feedback and personal stories we heard from patients and stakeholders who
invested their time and energy in helping us develop and fine-tune my proposal.
While I am disappointed in the outcome, I'm not defeated. We will start over in
January when we convene for the next legislative session."