Washington Medical Marijuana Program
In November 1998, Initiative 692 (or the Medical Use of Marijuana Act) passed in the state of Washington. This act allows patients with certain debilitating conditions to possess legally, use, and cultivate medical marijuana.
The Washington Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program
Patients in Washington State wishing to join the medical marijuana program must be registered in the medical marijuana authorization database. This database is run by the Washington Department of Health. To register, patients must receive a medical marijuana authorization form from their licensed healthcare practitioner.
Medical marijuana patients with a valid authorization form may join the database and receive their medical marijuana recognition card.
If you believe your medical conditions qualify for a medical marijuana authorization form, discuss your symptoms with your licensed healthcare practitioner.
What conditions qualify for the Medical Marijuana Program in WA?
Patients in Washington diagnosed with one or more of the following medical conditions are allowed legal protection for the use of medical marijuana:
- Hepatitis C
- Severe muscle spasms including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and other seizure and spasticity disorders
- Acute or chronic glaucoma
- Crohn’s disease
- Some forms of intractable pain
Will additional conditions be added to the list of qualifying conditions?
Before July 24, 2015, the Medical Quality Assurance Commission considered petitions requesting to add conditions to the list of qualifying medical conditions. However, in 2015 the law changed, and petitions are no longer allowed.
Where to find a Medical Marijuana Doctor in WA?
All licensed medical marijuana retail stores in Washington are required to have a certified medical marijuana consultant. This consultant isn’t a medical provider, however. Consultants cannot provide medical services, diagnose medical conditions, or recommend treatment. The consultant is responsible for entering patient information from the authorization form into the database, and answering questions about medical marijuana law and products.
If you’re interesting in becoming a certified consultant, here is the information.
Only a licensed healthcare practitioner can legally recommend a patient receive medical marijuana and fill out the authorization form.
Before a practitioner recommends medical marijuana, a patient-doctor relationship must be established.
The following healthcare professionals are legally allowed to authorize medical marijuana and fill out an authorization form:
- Medical Doctors (MDs)
- Physician Assistant (PAs)
- Osteopathic Physicians (DOs)
- Naturopathic Physicians (NDs)
- Osteopathic Physician Assistants (OAs)
- Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs)
With so many healthcare professionals able to fill out medical marijuana authorization forms, you’ll likely find a doctor close to where you’re located.
Where are the legal cannabis dispensaries in Washington located?
A marijuana store must be legally and medically endorsed to create recognition cards. There are qualifying stores located all across the state. These stores will have at least one certified medical marijuana consultant on staff to help process your authorization form and answer your questions.
What does my medical card get me at a Washington dispensary?
Qualified patients in WA may possess up to 24 ounces of usable marijuana or 15 marijuana plants, or participate in a collective garden. Patients and designated caregivers 21 years of age or older may purchase and possess marijuana through the recreational market. And any adult 21 years of age or older may buy any combination of the following from a licensed retail stores:
- One ounce of usable marijuana
- 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form
- 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form
- Seven grams of marijuana concentrate
Where can you smoke?
In Washington State, you can legally smoke on private property and outside the view of the general public. Patient with a medical marijuana recognition card cannot smoke marijuana in the following places:
- In public
- At the retail shop, you purchased the product
- While operating a motorized vehicle
- Federal lands, such as national parks, courthouses, and military bases
- School grounds or property
Are patients and caregivers shielded from discrimination?
Yes. Primary caregivers cannot apply for a medical marijuana recognition card; the patient must apply for the caregiver. Primary caregivers must provide proof of identification and be photographed by the county administration department they reside.
What is the future of the Medical Cannabis Program in WA?
Washington is an active state when it comes to medical marijuana. Rules and regulations are constantly being revised and updated. The Washington Department of Health offers an email list which allows the public to stay up-to-date on medical marijuana rules and regulation changes in Washington State.