Now that the dust has settled from Governor Gregoire’s epic fail on the recent medical marijuana bill, the state’s community of growers and patients are starting to pore over the new law to figure out how they can still provide safe access. After tonight’s meeting at the Cannabis Resource Center (the main Cannabis Defense Coalition office in SoDo), I feel like there’s actually a light at the end of this tunnel.
Of course, dispensaries who openly sell medical marijuana to any authorized patient are not allowed. And there will be no production facilities regulated by the Department of Agriculture. But what the law does allow, however, are collective gardens. This evening, defense attorney Aaron Pelley outlined what appear to be the parameters of any new system for distributing medical marijuana within that framework. This discussion stems from meetings that Pelley has had with King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. The relevant language can be found in Section 403 of the passed bill.
That section allows:
- 10 people to participate in a collective garden, which can have 15 plants and 24 ounces per person (up to 45 plants and 72 ounces total)
- The collective members to share in the costs of maintaining the collective
Interestingly, the section does not disallow:
- Multiple gardens to occupy the same space
- A single person to belong to multiple collectives
- Central offices where multiple collectives can establish an “access point”
My takeaway from this meeting is that what we’ll end up with (probably first in Seattle, then across the state) are these “access points” (not dispensaries!) where people can join a collective. Once part of a collective, you’d only be able to obtain medicine grown in that collective’s designated garden – and would probably have to pay for the upkeep of the garden (rather than directly paying for the medicine). From my reading of the law, that would be fully compliant with the statute, but hey, I’m not lawyer. And even Pelley wasn’t terribly sure how all of this will be interpreted once it inevitably ends up in a courtroom.