The following information is summarized for those wishing to reduce costs for their legal use of medial marijuana. You are responsible for understanding and following the law. This site is not intended to provide medical, health or legal advice.
Chapter 69.50 RCW UNIFORM CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT is a complex law. Washington State medical marijuana law integrates the medical market with the regulated market.
Chapter 69.51A RCW MEDICAL CANNABIS (Formerly: Medical marijuana ) impacts qualifying patients, healthcare practitioners, and marijuana producers, processors, retail stores and their employees. RCW 69.51A integrates the medical market with the regulated recreational market, clarifies what is meant by the medical use of marijuana, ensures patients have access to higher quality products to meet their medical needs, allows for state sales and use tax breaks for medical marijuana patients who are entered into the authorization database, and provides protection from arrest and prosecution for patients who are entered into the authorization database.
Medical Marijuana Authorization
To become a medical marijuana patient in the state of Washington, you must be a resident of Washington and make an appointment with your healthcare practitioner to see if you qualify under Washington state law. Washington state law provides a very specific list of qualifying conditions that allow a patient to obtain medical marijuana authorization.
If your healthcare practitioner feels your medical condition would benefit from the use of marijuana for medical purposes, he or she will complete a medical marijuana authorization form for you.
If you have obtained Medical Marijuana Authorization, you may also join the Washington State database and get a medical marijuana recognition card. Joining the authorization database is voluntary and isn’t required in order to be a medical marijuana patient, unless the patient is under the age of 18.
A medical marijuana recognition card allows a patient many benefits as specified in 69.51A RCW, such as purchasing product from a medically-endorsed store sales tax free, growing plants for the personal medical use, and legally possessing useable marijuana produced from his or her plants. The amounts shall be specified on the recognition card.
If you hold valid authorizations but aren’t entered into the database, you may purchase only in accordance with the laws and rules for non-patients.
For more information, visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Marijuana/MedicalMarijuana/AuthorizationDatabase/FrequentlyAskedQuestions and https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Marijuana/MedicalMarijuana/AuthorizationDatabase
Medical Marijuana Cooperatives (aka Grow Your Own)
Medical marijuana cooperatives allow up to four medical marijuana patients or their designated provider to join together to grow marijuana for the patients’ personal use.
Every cooperative member must be entered into the medical marijuana authorization database and have a medical marijuana recognition card.
Cooperatives must register with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) and follow all regulations.
For more information, visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Marijuana/MedicalMarijuana/PatientInformation/Cooperatives.
Medically-endorsed stores issuing recognition cards
Washington State Department of Health maintains a list of medically-endorsed marijuana stores (PDF), sorted by county, that have a certified medical marijuana consultant on staff. They have the ability to create and issue recognition cards for qualifying patients and designated providers who have a valid medical marijuana authorization. The certified consultant isn’t a medical provider and can do only the following for customers within the store:
- Enter patient and designated provider information from the authorization form into the medical marijuana database and create the medical marijuana recognition card.
- Assist the patient with selecting products that may help with their qualifying condition.
- Describe risks and benefits of methods for using products.
- Give advice on ways to properly store products and keep them safe from children and pets.
- Show how to properly use products.
- Answer questions about the medical marijuana law.
Consultants may not:
- provide medical advice.
- diagnose any conditions.
- recommend changing current treatment(s) in place of marijuana.
- open and use actual products when demonstrating how to use.
Marijuana Fact Sheets
The Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI) at the University of Washington provides science-based marijuana information. Some of the factsheets are adapted from the National Cannabis Information and Prevention Centre (NCPIC) in Australia. The fact sheets are regularly reviewed and updated to include information specific to Washington state and the U.S. Here is a selected list:
- What is Cannabis? (ADAI, 6/2013)
- Marijuana Use: What Do We Really Know? (PDF) (ADAI, 8/2015)
- Highlights of the Health Effects of Cannabis & Cannabinoids (PDF) (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, 1/2017)
- Medicinal Cannabis & Chronic Pain (ADAI, 3/2015)
For other facts on a variety of marijuana issues, visit: http://learnaboutmarijuanawa.org/factsheets.htm
For more information about medical marijuana in Washington State, visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Marijuana/MedicalMarijuana
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