(OLYMPIA, Wash.) – A bill to expand Washington State’s medical marijuana law cleared the state legislature today, and is headed to the governor’s desk.
SB 5798 allows naturopathic doctors, nurse practitioners, and advanced physicians’ assistants to recommend the medical use of cannabis to their patients. The new law will increase patient access to health care professionals willing to authorize medical cannabis. Because of the conflict between state and federal pot laws, many doctors fear retribution from the federal government and are reluctant to sign medical cannabis paperwork.
To comply with the law, many qualifying patients are forced to travel to the city and pay $200 to see a doctor willing to sign an authorization form.
Also included in the bill is a provision that requires medical cannabis authorizations written after June to be printed on “tamper-resistant” paper that will also be required for all prescription forms in the state.
SB 5798 was supported by the Cannabis Defense Coalition, a Seattle-based activist group that tracks medical cannabis prosecutions in the state. The group hired veteran lobbyist Lonnie Johns-Brown to move the bill forward this session.
“Cannabis is an effective, safe and natural medicine,” said group spokesman Ben Livingston. “Patients with symptoms relieved by medical cannabis deserve the protection of our law, whether they see a regular doctor or a naturopathic physician. This bill will help increase safe access to this therapeutic, plant-based medicine.”
Source: The Cannabis Defense Coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit member cooperative focused on marijuana activism in Washington State.