On Friday, July 1, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act came into full effect, although the final enactment was not as smooth as some were hoping for. On June 28, the Washington state Department of Health announced it was having software issues with the Medical Marijuana Authorization Database. This database proves integral to the successes of the act, as medical patients can only receive benefits from the bills if they are registered within the database and have their recognition card.

According to Kristi Weeks, a policy counselor with the state Department of Health, there are no differences between medical and recreational marijuana. “The only real difference between medical and recreational marijuana is the intent of the user,” she also said. To be DOH compliant, marijuana products must be screened for pesticides when harvested and screened for mycotoxins during the microbiological scan.

Products such as marijuana-infused edibles or drinks will be labeled as either: General use compliant, High CBD, or High THC. The public can only purchase edibles labeled General use compliant and high CBD. Only qualified medical marijuana patients who are entered into the database are able to purchase high THC products, which can hold anywhere from 50 milligrams of THC per service to no more than 500 milligrams of THC in a package.

Washington voters approved Advisory Vote No. 11, which helped the legislature decide to keep the excise tax of 37 percent in place for medical marijuana patients. The price difference between medical dispensary marijuana and recreational marijuana is said to be a concern for medical marijuana patients. Under the act, collectives can grow up to 15 plants but no more than 60, as authorized by a health care professional. These cooperatives must be registered with the Liquor and Cannabis Board and are subject to inspection, and must be restricted to growth in the home of one of the patients in the cooperative.


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