Just how much marijuana constitutes a two-month supply?
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Just how much marijuana constitutes a two-month supply?
This fall, sober public servants will convene meetings across Washington state to answer that question.

What may seem like an odd question for straight-laced government types to tackle is a serious attempt to shore up the state’s medical marijuana law, which has been around for nearly a decade without defining the 60-day supply patients are allowed to have on hand.

Now, after years of attempts to amend the law, the state Health Department has been ordered to spell out how much marijuana makes up that theoretical two-month cache.

Prosecutors and police generally support the change, saying it should help officers determine whom to arrest and whom to leave alone.

The American Civil Liberties Union and some state lawmakers think it could be the beginning of even broader reforms by the state’s Democratic-controlled Legislature.

But some patients wish the state wouldn’t bother, spooked the government will make the limits too restrictive and cause more arrests for people in frail health.

If the law is going to be changed, dissenters would rather see stronger protection from arrest or an allowance for group growing operations. Defining the 60-day supply, they say, is a do-nothing compromise aimed mostly at pleasing law enforcement.

“Once again, politics have trumped patients’ rights. Once again, politics have trumped science,” said Dale Rogers, head of Seattle’s Compassion in Action Patient Network, which distributes medical marijuana.

Washington’s medical marijuana law was approved by nearly 60 percent of voters in 1998, following closely behind California in the first wave of such measures nationwide.

Under the law, doctors are allowed to recommend marijuana for people suffering from “intractable pain” and several serious diseases, including cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis.

Marijuana patients can be prosecuted but may avoid conviction by proving a legitimate medical need. As is the case anywhere in the country, nothing in state statute shields a patient from prosecution under federal law, which does not recognize medical uses for marijuana.

Unlike the 11 other laws that protect medical marijuana users from a state criminal conviction, Washington has never set a specific limit for the amount of pot each patient is allowed to have.

Found at the Washington Post.