Archive for Plan to End Medical Cannabis

Department of Health Confirms it, No Privacy for Patients In State Registry

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From: Weeks, Kristi (DOH) <Kristi.Weeks@DOH.WA.GOV>
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 2:43 PM
To: John Novak
Subject: RE: Questions

The traceability system (under the authority of the LCB) lists the purchases and patient identification number. The database (under the authority of the Department of Health) lists the patient information including the patient identification number. The LCB cannot access the database. DOH could receive information from the LCB’s traceability system, and DOH employees with access to the database could connect the two dots. However, we have no reason to do so because an individual patient’s purchasing habits are of no interest to us.

From: John Novak [mailto:changingplanet@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 12:22 PM
To: Weeks, Kristi (DOH)
Subject: RE: Questions

Thanks for the quick reply.

One follow up revised question: Can the State determine which products an individual patient has purchased?

“Can you determine which products a patient has purchased? Can I personally? No, I cannot tell what an individual patient has purchased.”

-John

——– Original message ——–
From: “Weeks, Kristi (DOH)” <Kristi.Weeks@DOH.WA.GOV>
Date: 8/10/2016 8:58 AM (GMT-08:00)
To: John Novak <changingplanet@hotmail.com>
Subject: RE: Questions

See below.

From: John Novak [mailto:changingplanet@hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2016 11:49 AM
To: Weeks, Kristi (DOH)
Subject: Questions

Ms. Weeks,

If you have a few moments, I have some questions and hope you can provide some clarity. Still a lot of confusion out there.

Do you have a way to track each patient’s purchases? When a patient with a recognition card makes a purchase, the identification number on the card (but no other patient information) is entered into the traceability system in order to audit purchases that are made without sales tax. In other words, for the store to later prove (if requested by the Department of Revenue) that the sale was appropriately sales tax free.

Which information about the transaction does the system provide about the patients’s purchases? The items purchased and the patient’s recognition card number.

Can you determine which products a patient has purchased? Can I personally? No, I cannot tell what an individual patient has purchased.

Are patients in the registry able to get a sales tax discount on all products in any i502 shop, or just the endorsed shops? Just endorsed shops although some stores without an operational endorsement are offering patients a 10% discount in lieu of the sales tax relief.

If just the endorsed shops, then is that only on “medical” products, or any product in the shop? Any product in the shop.

Thank you again for your time. It is most appreciated.

-John Novak

206-915-3450

Patient Privacy Concerns Ignored by WA ST Dept of Health

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The so-called Patient Protection Act (Senate Bill 5052) that was passed in the 2015 Legislative Session is showing all kinds of problems.  Instead of just dealing with our legislators in Olympia, now patients are being forced to follow the actions of the Department of Health and the WSLCB.

As has been the case from the start of I-502, patients and the public are being deliberately marginalized and excluded from the process.

The state mandated new standardized authorization forms under 5052.

However, when they came out, it included a checkbox section that now forced patients to reveal their qualifying condition on the front page!  It was not part of the language in the bill, but there it was with the statement that if not filled out, the authorization would be invalid.

Why is this a concern?  Because as of July 1, 2016, this is the form patients will use to sign up for the patient registry.  And you sign up for the registry, not with the Dept. of Health, not with your health care provider, but your local retail marijuana shop who have no experience with handling vital medical records or patient privacy!  And the registry is accessible by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, the Department of Health, law enforcement, etc.  All the while cannabis is still on schedule 1 in both state and federal law!

Remember, this is a state willing to sell it to anyone over the counter 21 and older with ID!

Patients now being forced to use these forms are already reporting issues.

Back in August 07, 2015, we contacted the Department of Health with the following question, believing this new requirement to be an invasion of patient privacy: Can you please provide the bill number, bill section and statute that requires a checkbox of the list of qualifying conditions?

Mon, 10 Aug 2015, the reply came:

Inclusion of the qualifying condition is not specifically required in the bill but it is not an exclusive list. We made the decision to include the qualifying condition for policy reasons. Many other states require this information on the physician’s statement and it is recommended in the model legislation promoted by Americans for Safe Access.
Kristi Weeks, JD
Review Officer/Policy Counsel
Washington Department of Health

 We followed up with a personal visit to Ms. Weeks at her office in Olympia.  She was very courteous.  When it was explained there were patients who do not wish the information to be listed, she understood but held firm.  The policy reason was wanting more information.  The other was that other states were doing it.

When asked why patients and the public were not allowed in the decision making process, Ms. Weeks said that it was not required.

So we asked what patients could do to get that removed from the form, she explained that we could try to lodge a complaint with the Rules committee.  The other option was to file a lawsuit.

Shortly after, we filed a public records request to the Department of Health on all the records and communications around this new form.

Make sure you all give Americans for Safe Access a big thanks (NOT) for being the inspiration for Ms. Weeks from the Department of Health to include your medical conditions in the patient authorization form and in the patient database when it was not required by a new bill that passed in the 2015 legislative session.

She seems to enjoy the irony at our expense…

https://app.box.com/s/te2gw4gecs12c4hxjdcd00ahbxqo9fae

From Weeks, Kristi (DOH) To Baumgartner, Chris J (DOH); Hodgson, Lisa (DOH); Schmitt, Kathy (DOH); Wise, Jeff (DOH); Fernando, Andres (DOH) Recipients Chris.Baumgartner@DOH.WA.GOV; Lisa.Hodgson@DOH.WA.GOV; Kathy.Schmitt@DOH.WA.GOV; Jeff.Wise@DOH.WA.GOV; Andres.Fernando@DOH.WA.GOV
Here is my version unless anyone has strong feeling otherwise. Yes, it’s two pages. Unfortunate, but necessary to get everything on it. And since I really only needed a page and a half, I used the extra space to reiterate some of the law. Can’t hurt.
I did end up listing the qualifying conditions (Chris – I didn’t know how to make auto text check boxes. Can you add those?) It’s the only possible way of getting this information into the database and it’s too valuable to forgo. I do have examples from many other states who require this information if we need to justify it.
When we have all agreed to the final version, we can brainstorm who we want to vet it through. Obviously, the boards and commissions. Definitely WSMA. They have had the most used example of a form for years. Probably the other associations as well. Jason McGill asked me to run it by Americans for Safe Access. They will probably hate it on principle but at least they can’t argue about including the patient’s condition since I noticed that their model legislation says:
( Y ) “Written recommendation” means a document authorizing a patient’s medical use of cannabis that is written on tamper-resistant paper and signed by a qualified medical professional. Such recommendation shall be made only in the course of a bona fide medical professional-patient relationship and shall specify the qualifying patient’s qualifying medical condition(s).

http://www.safeaccessnow.org/model_legislation

Ironically, the model legislation also establishes a registry. Wish I would have known that when the bill was still in process.
Kristi Weeks, JD Review Officer/Policy Counsel Washington Department of Health PO Box 47890 Olympia, WA 98504-7890 Phone (360) 236-4066 Email Kristi.Weeks@doh.wa.gov Public Health – Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Washington.

When interviewed by “The Stranger” in March, 2016, Ms. Weeks revealed that “…the state could put the data collected on the form to good use, juxtaposing it with data on opioid painkiller use to spot trends…”

That is code for those of you not aware. It is code that means, if you write an authorization for cannabis, you better not write a prescription for an opiate because if the DEA matches that, the doctor could get their federal licenses taken away.

I know this because I have had doctors refuse to do it for me. In fact, I was released from a hospital during a massive pacreatic attack because I admitted to being a medical cannabis patient. The hospital release form even stated to stop using marijuana.

This is an absolute outrage and Ms. Weeks answer if you don’t like it is, don’t get an authorization or as she told me in person, “You can sue us”.

View all the public records on this here:  https://app.box.com/s/r40nqpw9sjfbq1oxrmguuai7qenevhfa

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Petitioning the Governor: Extend the July 1st Deadline for Medical Cannabis

To the Honorable Governor of Washington State,

Washington State passed ill advised legislation on cannabis for medical patients in the 2015 legislative session, SB 5052.  No fix was passed for the 2016 session.

As of July 1, 2016, patients will be left with no legitimate access to the quantities, types and quality control we have had since the passage of our medical laws back in 1998.

READ & SIGN THE PETITION HERE

 

Medical Cannabis Patients Gather to Support Compassionate Use Laws

Medical Cannabis Patients Gather to Support Compassionate Use Laws
By Sarah Wood
Staff reporter – The Viper’s Club
For immediate release
Contact: thevipersclub@gmail.com

(Olympia, Washington) On July 24th, 2015 beginning at 11:am, Medical Cannabis patients from all over Washington will gather on the north steps of Legislative building at the State Capitol.

There they will hold a press conference concerning the violation of patient’s rights going into effect that day, to discuss how the changes of I-502 and the newly signed law Senate Bill 5052 will affect access to care practitioners and medication.

The media has poorly portrayed I-502 stores as victims, while thousands of patients fear losing safe, affordable, and local access to their medication.

It is now our turn to speak our voices, to be heard, and to stand up for our rights and the rights of all patients.With I-502 stores spreading across the state, many are very concerned and outraged at the decision to shut down the medical dispensaries and collective gardens which offer safe, affordable and convenient access to medicine.

Robert McKim of Olympia states, “I have had success with treating my cancer with RSO(concentrated cannabis oil), I am sure that the government and [their] cronies could care less. Limiting the number of plants and having to buy at four times the price, will effectively force me to turn the doctors and the scalpels loose on me.”

“To remove hope from the sick is a criminal act, a few tax dollars is more important than a human life? How can the government and the WSLCB nullify a voter approved law?”, he asked.

With depleting availability, prices skyrocketing, and concern of repercussions from federal law enforcement if forced to be added to a registry, many will be forced to seek alternative options.

Another patient from Puyallup writes, “When the dispensaries are gone, I will have no other option than retail. I will not comply.

“Patients will simply return to the unregulated, unreformed “black market” where they were receiving their medication before. This is a big step backwards and in the wrong direction for the process of cannabis reform and compassionate use laws.”

With the newly written law, it will become almost impossible for patients to renew and keep their medical cannabis recommendations.

It is stated that patients will now have to get their recommendation for medical cannabis from their existing primary care doctor, or from the doctor that treats them for their condition. It must be proven that all other medication has failed.

A concerned patient Colleen Henne writes, “I live outside of Seattle and have no car,I talked to the Foundation where I get my recommendation, THCF. The new law says all examinations and re-examinations take place at the provider’s permanent place of business. I got my last recommendation out of a hotel room in Bellevue. I am very concerned as many of my friends have already lost theirs due to the clinics being shut down, with more becoming unauthorized as of July 24th also.”

With doctors concerned over losing their license to practice medicine, many will chose not to prescribe cannabis, even if it is the safest alternative medicine.

Cannabis can no longer be used as an alternative against harsh and powerful prescription drugs. Instead, patients who are already suffering will either be prescribed medications with harsh side effects or they will have to take their medical care into their own hands.

In addition to the closure of dispensaries and collective gardens, and reduction of plants that can be grown, other forms of medicinal cannabis such as oil concentrates like BHO or butane hash oil, which offer patients a faster and more effective way to medicate, will also become unavailable or unaffordably priced.

The new law states that all forms of butane extraction will be prohibited unless processed by someone who is licensed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, and no such licensed person(s) in the medical community exist as of yet.

Patients who find this form of cannabis most effective will also be forced to either get their medication from a recreational store or find other means.

Many cannot afford the prices of the state run stores, or do not live close enough to one to have access. The state has chosen tax dollars over the safety and well being of the sick and dying,letting greed influence their decisions.Patients are no longer being treated as people looking for relief from suffering and debilitating condition. They are instead being treated like unwanted vermin getting in the way of a corporations and sold out for a quick buck at the expense of our health.

They are being forced from the comfortability of their existing care providers which they have been with for years, made to deal with recreational retailers who know little to nothing about the products they are selling.

Furthermore, medication is being treated solely as a recreational substance.

Patients, lawyers, advocates and many others from all walks of life fought long and hard for patients ability to use cannabis as their medication, and they will continue to fight.

Their voices will not be silenced, and they will not let the rights they fought so hard for be stripped from them. They are willing to stand up to fight for themselves, for each other, and for what is right.

Together as one united they will speak out for their rights until their voices are heard and they have safe, affordable and convenient access to their medication.

Medical Cannabis Excise Taxes in Other States 0 to 8.8%. At Least 30% Proposed in WA.

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According to the Marijuana Policy Project, other states have medical cannabis taxes that range from 0 to 8.8%. 13 of the 19 states with licensed, regulated cultivators and dispensaries have NO excise tax. Some charge sales tax while others do not. Proposed bills 5052/2136 would cause Washington State to have the highest taxed medical cannabis in the country (30% excise + 8% avg. sales), by forcing patients into the recreational system.

In most states, the fees collected from the commercial applications & licensing more than cover the costs of regulation. Excessive taxation of medical cannabis is unnecessary, an obstacle to participation in a regulated system, & most importantly- inhumane to the most vulnerable patients.

Please read the full article by GreenXena at

http://thepeopleformedicalcannabis.com/medical-cannabis-excise-taxes-in-other-states-0-to-8-8-30-proposed-in-wa/