July Is Coming: What Will Cannabis Patients Do?


Coming on July 1, 2016 are major changes to the medical cannabis laws in Washington State. As a cannabis patient, I’m feeling a level of heaviness and uncertainty because the changes affect the way I currently access cannabis.

The changes are across the board from how much I am allowed to have on me, how much I can grow, how much I will pay, whether I want to be on a state registry or not, and where I can purchase my cannabis.

What I can grow will be reduced from 15 plants to 4. The amount of flower that I am able to carry on me will go from 24oz to 3oz. No more patient to patient sharing…and the list goes on.

I currently get a large portion of my supply from the medical cannabis farmers markets and occasionally from one collective storefront near my house that I have frequented for years now. That store is likely getting turned into a retail store with a medical endorsement to service patients who are part of the state registry.

Currently, my least favorite choice is getting cannabis from a store but soon that will be my only option. If I choose to not be on the state’s registry I’m not going to be getting any tax breaks and I would not be able to purchase as much. Regardless of whether or not I get a tax break, I’m pretty sure I’ll still have to pay way more than I’m paying now.

I plan to grow my own this summer but I’m not sure how I feel about being on a registry to be able to grow more than 4 plants.  4 plants won’t allow for much raw juicing so I would certainly want to get permission from my doctor to grow more than 4 plants if I do get on the registry.

Another word about the registry, a medical cannabis authorization does not provide protection from arrest unless you are entered in the medical marijuana authorization database and hold a recognition card. That certainly is an incentive to be on the registry but it once again of feels like patients are being treated as second class citizens.

I’ve been asking other current patients what they are planning to do and they have given me a large variety of answers. Most patients who shop at the farmers markets don’t know where they will go for medicine in July or if they want to be on a registry either. Some say they will grow their own, a few have said they will join the registry, and others have said they are making their connections now to have a guy who can take care of their cannabis needs.

In asking providers what they are planning to do I get a gamet of answers too. Some are not sure,  some are transitioning into the regulated marketplace, and some will hand you a card and offer to become your cannabis ‘guy.’

I was once mildly excited about the regulation of medical cannabis but after watching the retail system deal with pesticide grown weed I can’t help but be concerned about the quality controls for my medicine despite this required testing. If they haven’t been able to achieve quality control in the current system that has been running for over two years, how is the newly regulated medical marijuana system going to be an improvement over the unregulated, organic, frequently tested, tax free cannabis that I have access to right now?

I continue the quest to become a master cannabis grower so I can ideally manage my own supply. I know the changes will be a tough pill to swallow for many and am curious to see if people who are sick, low income, and frequently on disability will be able to afford regulated medical cannabis not covered by insurance and what new brands will step up to provide help for those in need, if possible.

The positives at the end of the day, I still have legal access to medical cannabis to manage my own chronic health conditions and I can still grow my own.

If you need to learn more about the upcoming changes, here is a link for the Department of Health website about medical cannabis laws:


Stay safe my friends.




4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeff Sobotka on April 7, 2016 at 11:35 am

    There are people just focused on Medical Cannabis and will be looking to fill the void left after the retail rules kick in. They are working with me to provide options for my wife as she deals with cancer. I would be happy to talk to you further about this.

  2. Let’s remember many chose to go with privitatization of liquor. Then that was a failed investment for many. So the lqb got involved in cannabis and messed with what was already working. Given Seattlites figured out how to market a coffee bean on every street corner creating a generation addicted to a morning get up and go….they too saw big $ with weed, not medical wellness.
    Don’t fall for promises from red or blue politics. A local truth fighter is on 2016 pres ballot as independent. Do you know? Don’t assume a Bernie or Trump cares for stoners, only their vote.

  3. Posted by You don't want to step to this.. on April 9, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Well aren’t we chipper about HUGH CHANGES that are causing deaths!!

  4. Posted by John on April 28, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    I’m scheduled to take some photos at your demo for the Hempfest people June 10. Would you have time between now and the event to chat so I could better understand what lights, etc that I’ll need?


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