Friday, before the 3-day weekend, was busy. Folks didn’t want to get stuck without the herb on a holiday like Independence Day. It was “Celebrate the Medicine” for us in the medical department. The four of us on the team manned a table and offered big green cookies and apple cider, as well as some brochures and hand-outs about the New Medical Marijuana System, which was slated to start July 1.

Night before, WSLB reported that the patient authorization database would be delaying launch – computer glitches of course. According to the DOH website, word went out in October 2015, to 502 retailers, growers and processors that they needed to amp up production of medical marijuana products ahead of the deadline.

Did everyone miss that email in October ?

Here it was July 1, 2016, all the medical dispensaries were closed but no medical marijuana-compliant products made the WSLCB-Hi-CBDshelves that day of any recreational retail store with a medical endorsement that I know of.[Eastern WA]

“I’m confused.” Don’t worry, we all are.

Following is the state’s definition of their “exclusive” list of “High THC compliant products” [Ed. note: these products can only be purchased by authorized patients with qualifying conditions who are part of the database and carry a tamper/counterfeit-proof laminated wallet recognition card issued with the authority and power of the WA State Liquor & Cannabis Board and the WA Department of Health.]

(a) “High THC compliant product” means a marijuana product containing more than ten but no more than fifty milligrams of THC per serving or application and meeting the requirements of this chapter.

(b) The following is an exclusive list of marijuana products that may qualify for classification as a high THC compliant product:

(i) Capsules;

(ii) Tinctures;

(iii) Transdermal patches; and

(iv) Suppositories.

(c) No other marijuana products can be classified as a high THC compliant product or contain more than ten milligrams of active THC per serving or application.

(d) High THC compliant products may be packaged in servings or applications containing up to fifty milligrams of active THC. A unit must not contain more than ten servings or applications and must not exceed five hundred total milligrams of active THC.

(e) High THC compliant products must be labeled “Chapter 246-70 WAC Compliant – High THC” and must use the logo found in WAC 246-70-090 to indicate compliance with this chapter.

(f) High THC compliant products may be purchased only by qualifying patients age eighteen and older and designated providers who are entered into the data base and hold a valid recognition card.

(g) High THC compliant products may be sold only at retail outlets with a medical marijuana endorsement. With regard to testing to ensure consumer safety, the WSLCB adopted rules for pesticide testing. New Day Cannabis, Newport, WA, and owner/operator Joe Rammell’s participation with the Safe Cannabis Project is closer to getting medical-grade product to market than any other Tier 3 grower I know.

Then’s there new testing regulations. Testing is necessary to ensure consumer safety so producers/processors who want to WSLCB-Gen-Useenter into the medical marijuana industry are mandated now to test for heavy metals and mycotoxins. Problem is, only one lab on the Westside can run the tests and deliver lab results that satisfy the WSLCB rules.

I see “bureaucratic bottleneck” and “supply problems” in Washington’s medical marijuana future. To be fair, everyone is frustrated and unsure of what to do or, better stated, how to fix a problem when no one with the decision-making power really understands the reality of producing pot in large quantities.

On May 28, the DOH issued an Emergency Rule Order postponing the July 1, 2016 deadline for medical marijuana compliant products. More hearings will be held July 11 in Kent, WA. The main reasons cited for missing deadline is this:

Applicants for medical marijuana endorsements must stipulate to selling the medical marijuana products identified in this rule, which they cannot do if they do not know what products are medical marijuana products.

Licensed producers must know what to plant for medical grade products, as well as the requirements for allowable trace levels of heavy metals and pesticides, so they properly use fertilizers and pesticides in a manner that protects the safety and health of the qualifying patients.

Licensed producers must have adequate time to grow the specific strains necessary to meet patient needs and licensed processors must have adequate time to convert the harvested plants into products meeting the specifications in the rule.

The certified third-party testing labs must have enough notice of the requirements in these rules to have adequate equipment and training in place sufficiently in advance to have an adequate supply of tested medical grade product on the shelves for qualifying patients on July 1, 2016.

Hey, Lee Iacocca saved General Motors

Yes, but he’d actually driven a car and worked in the auto industry. He was qualified and experienced to run a company of that size in that much chaos. He was good at what he did.

I don’t see anyone of his ability and commitment to keeping excessive government intervention and unrealistic, unworkable regulations from destroying the Medical Marijuana industry before it is allowed to even exist.  C’mon everyone - step up to the bong – waterpipe, whatever.

Who else will save this mess if the solution doesn’t rise from the patient up?

After years of fighting our own country for the basic, human right to decide what we put in our bodies and what we grow on our own property, we finally won the war.

But, we lost the battle.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are shuttered, mmj patients no longer have their authorization. Everything old is null and void. Patients need to see their health care provider and get a signed authorization form (printed only on tamper-proof paper) so that they can visit a recreational cannabis store which now will issue voluntary medical marijuana “recognition” cards (color, laminated, fits in your wallet) so they can purchase  the same product a recreational customer off the street can buy. Huh? Oh, MMJ patients do get the benefit of not paying the 8.8% sales tax on their purchase.

Medical marijuana patients in the state database also get 10% off at the Head Shop next door so they can pick up that bong. Oh, never mind, every customer gets that discount.

I just hope you are not a medical marijuana patient whose dispensary has closed, is in pain and you’re out of Medicine.

Or, maybe you’re a veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan with flashbacks from PTSD or panic attacks from TBI and you’re finally realizing your special medibles, the ones that made the voices quieter, are gone forever.

If you are one of the hundreds of thousands medical marijuana patients in WA state, Independence Day 2016 pretty much sucked, eh?

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