The Challenges Of A Law Abiding Washington Cannabis Patient


When Washington state killed medical cannabis in July 2016 my entire experience as a patient became more challenging. I felt the need to disappear as a patient online, at least for a while. Signing up to be on the state registry made me feel vulnerable to any potential number of evil forces that could access that information and potentially harm my garden, my home, or my family.

Some of those feelings may seem to be unfounded because I have never had an issue with the law or the neighbors for growing a tiny bit of cannabis on my property but I am very aware of the legal history surrounding this plant and have met a number of authorized patients who have past stories about being raided and arrested, vandalized, and stolen from.

The first problem I ran into since the laws changed was growing enough leaf to be juicing everyday. It wasn’t really possible to grow enough this year with the size of my plants and the space I had to grow in. Under the former laws I was able to accept leaf from other patients and that really helped provide enough material for adequate amounts of juice. When I’m out of raw cannabis I use more flowers, topicals, and rely on edibles to supply CBD and bedtime doses of THC.

I didn’t know where to go when I was initially out of flower. For me to get more I would have to break the law and ask my contacts to break the law to supply to me, risk going to the one MMJ cannabis farmer’s market/ private club that is somehow still running, or I could go to a licensed pot shop.

A couple months into the summer I had to start shopping at retail marijuana stores. The buying experience has not been ideal. It is like shopping for makeup at Walmart when you are used the Nordstrom’s experience. You can’t smell anything and in some cases even see what you are purchasing. You have to make your choices based on sight, the label, and what the bud tender is saying. You do, however, feel like you’re in Nordstrom’s when you get to the cash register and see how much you are spending on weed. Ounces are in some cases double the cost of what I was paying but that seems irrelevant when most brands sell only by grams or eights.

The average budtender I have dealt with is not educated or qualified to help somebody like myself who is shopping for terpenes and cannabinoids beyond THC and CBD. Even if they do know how to help me, the products they have to offer are not often what I’m looking for or poorly labeled. There are no high THC edibles and very few without sugar or preservatives, no suppositories, no clones, no seeds. When you get home and open the tiny package, you realize you’ll have to ration that tiny jar of weed you just bought because your budget won’t allow for more.

The next challenge I have coming up is what I will do for edibles. I really stocked up before the laws changed from my best suppliers but those stashes are running low and I am going to have to go back to making my own edibles, tinctures, and suppositories because what is in the stores is not for me. I don’t eat sugar with my daily medicine nor can I afford to pay the prices asked for inadequate doses.

The last major challenge I am experiencing is finding products and brands that are grown without chemical pesticides. When I walk into a pot shop one of my first things I ask the budtender is helping me find brands in the store that do not use pesticides. It is very rare for them to have good answers or in some cases even know how to respond since so few companies can or do make this claim. Some brands put it right on their packaging that they do not use pesticides, some will list the pesticides they used, and some packages tell you nothing at all besides the supposed amount of THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA in that product. Labeling is very inconsistent from brand to brand and often not very informative.

It will get better, right?

I’d like to think that it will get better but it has become clear that it will be a while before any laws that benefit patients come back around or acknowledge the legitimacy of medical cannabis within a market designed to make billions.

Le sigh.

On a high note, I’m done with my blogging break. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on where I have been, upcoming events with NORML Women of Washington, the methods I am exploring to maximize my cannabis, and my upcoming wellness revolution!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Welcome back, TBIW! Your blogging has been sorely missed. Happy Holidays!!

  2. Posted by Mainah on December 13, 2016 at 4:09 am

    Glad to have you back TB. I’m sorry to hear about all the challenges the new recreational law has caused you and other mj patients in Washington. I’m also looking forward to some of your ideas on how to work within that system. Necessity is the mother of invention as has been said. I know the changes that have been made are being protested widely and I hope they will be corrected soon. IMO the issue is that most of our government officials STILL do not believe in cannabis as medicine but a sea change is coming despite the recent election results. We may lose a few battles and suffer some setbacks, but I believe the genie is out of the bottle too far to be shoved back in now. Too many common people are on our side.
    Meanwhile here on the other coast, we in Maine are waiting to see what changes await us if our newly passed recreational law survives the recount. If our idiotic governor and his minions have their way it won’t, but if it does they’ll be throwing a few curve balls shortly thereafter we can be sure.
    All we can do is stay positive and continue the good fight. I have every confidence that we will prevail.
    Happy holidays to you and your family!

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