Archive for July 2015

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

(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.

ACLU and NORML Win Ruling Limiting Citizens’ Rights

By Arthur West

(Olympia, WA) Court of Appeals rules on behalf of ACLU that citizens have no civil right to maintain a citizen’s action under the Public Disclosure Act.

Please find attached a July 14 ruling by Commissioner Schmidt of Division II of the Court of Appeals, that, ironically, upholds an order of dismissal obtained by the ACLU (and NORML) arguing that unrepresented citizens lack the right to maintain citizen’s actions under Washington State’s Public Disclosure Act.

Appellant had sued NORML and the ACLU to require them to be subject to reporting as Political Action Committees due to their massive financial support of I-502, which “legalized” marijuana for those obtaining licenses or buying from licensed stores.

The ruling relies upon federal Qui Tam precedent to find that the Public Disclosure Act’s Citizen Action provisions (originally passed by Initiative in 1972) cannot be employed by citizens unless they retain attorneys to represent them.

Attorney Elizabeth Hallock, appearing for the appellant, had argued that the PDA and federal Qui Tam actions are not identical and that a  citizen’s interest under the PDA is different than a relator charging fraud upon the government. Counsel also argued that the intent of the people in adopting the Citizen’s action provisions of PDA could not have been to require citizens to have attorneys, and that this would make the prospect of citizen enforcement dubious at best,due to the novelty of the subject matter and the lack of any provision in the law to ensure recovery of costs.

The Commissioner’s ruling may conflict with a recent Supreme Court decision in Utter v. BIAW that explicitly found that citizens had a right to maintain such actions under Washington Law.

The Court also declined to find NORML to be subject to PAC reporting requirements, or remand the case back to the Superior Court for the appellant’s recently retained attorney to argue that NORML, as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. is subject to the PAC reporting requirements of the PDA because one of its primary purposes was to make expenditures to influence a ballot proposition, I-502.

The ACLU and NORML wrote, financed, ran and co-ordinated New Approach Washington, and heavily supported I-502 with donations and staff support. Allison Holcomb, the figurehead for I-502, was the Washington ACLU’s Drug Policy Director. The complaint had alleged that both NORML and the ACLU made substantial expenditures to support a ballot proposition, and were thus subject to PAC reporting requirements.

The ruling is subject to review by a panel of the Court of Appeals and possible discretionary review by the State Supreme Court.