It’s about damned time.
A dozen years after voters approved Washington’s medical marijuana system, state lawmakers are debating major changes that would give patients greater protection from arrest and bring the supply chain out of a legal gray area.
Patients and advocates packed Thursday’s meeting of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee, which was discussing a bill proposed by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle.
With a nod to federal policies that are now more tolerant of state medical marijuana laws, Kohl-Welles’ bill would make sweeping changes while attempting to keep the supply chain from resembling the more wide-open markets seen in California.
“We don’t want the big billboards. We don’t want the neon lights in dispensaries,” Kohl-Welles said.
A major element of her bill would give patients protection from criminal arrest. Current law offers less protection, giving authorized medical marijuana patients the ability to offer a defense in court if they’re charged with possession.