Dr. Michael Schlitt, Neurosurgeon

Medical and Recreational Marijuana in Washington

Dr. Michael Schlitt’s newest blog post

Medical Dispensary

A shelf in a Washington medical marijuana dispensary.

This Tuesday, a group of 10 lawmakers in Washington proposed two bills aimed at curbing local marijuana bans.  These bills were written because of concerns that marijuana moratoriums would severely limit access to cannabis for recreational use, allowing the illegal cannabis trade to thrive.

One bill, HB 2322, would penalize any municipality in Washington that imposes a ban by making it ineligible to receive a cut of the state’s liquor licensing fees, estimated at a total of $49.5 million.  The other bill, HB 2144, is slightly softer.  Under this bill, Washington would provide local municipalities 30% of the state’s excise tax revenues on recreational cannabis sales.  According to the Center for Marijuana Science and Social Policy, at least 1.5 million Washington residents could be impacted by access restrictions, especially in the southern part of the state.

Under the I-502 law, recreational marijuana was legalized and municipalities retain authority to pass zoning regulations, which would effectively ban the sale of cannabis.  Local officials have final authority to grant licenses for operation after the business passed through the state’s licensing process.

Medical marijuana has been legalized in Washington since 1998.  People with these following conditions are eligible to use medical marijuana in the State of Washington: cachexia, cancer, HIV or AIDS, epilepsy (or other seizure disorders), glaucoma, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, Hepatitis C and multiple sclerosis.  At the moment, Washington is the only state (apart from Colorado) that has legalized recreational use of marijuana.


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