Washington Initiative 692
, also known as the Medical Use of Marijuana Act
was on the November 3, 1998
election ballot in Washington
as an Initiative to the People
, where it was approved.
| Initiative 692|
| Yes|| 1,121,851|| 59%|
In 2010 according to reports, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles began drafting a bill to accomplish what Initiative 692 set out to do. "For a long, long time I have wanted to do whatever I can to provide clarification in the law and address the issues that are paramount to patients and caregivers - how they can access a safe and reliable supply of medical marijuana," said Kohl-Welles. As of 2010 most people suffering from a terminal or debilitating illness are allowed to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana. However, according to reports, it is difficult to obtain the marijuana legally in the majority of the state which news sources report has resulted in people obtaining marijuana via the black market.
SB 5073 was filed during the 2011 legislative session. According to reports, in addition to legalizing dispensaries, the bill would grant patients protections from arrest and prosecution. Additionally, the bill would allow for community marijuana gardens for authorized patients; testing of marijuana to ensure quality and license processors of cannabis-infused food.
The full text of the bill can be read here.
On Thursday, April 14, 2011 Gov. Chris Gregoire received a letter from U.S. Attorneys Jenny Durkan and Michael Ormsby of Spokane. The letter states that the pending Senate Bill (5073) would undermine drug enforcement and could result in prosecutions and penalties. Gregoire had previously requested "clear guidance" on the proposed bill. Following the U.S. Attorneys' letter, the governor said, "In light of the Department of Justice's guidance, it is clear that I cannot sign a bill that authorizes our state employees to license marijuana dispensaries when the department would prosecute those involved." However, Gregoire said that she does plan to work with legislators on a new proposal.
Text of measure
The language that appeared on the ballot said:
- This measure would permit the medical use of marijuana by patients with certain terminal or debilitating conditions. Non-medical use of marijuana would still be prohibited. Physicians would be authorized to advise patients about the risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana. Qualifying patients and their primary caregivers would be protected from prosecution if the possess marijuana solely for medical use by the patient. Certain additional restrictions and limitations are detailed in the measure.