Patients authorized to possess or grow marijuana for medical reasons under Washington law would be limited to 24 ounces of harvested marijuana..
By Carol M. Ostrom
Seattle Times health reporter
Patients authorized to possess or grow marijuana for medical reasons under Washington law would be limited to 24 ounces of harvested marijuana, plus six mature plants and 18 immature plants, according to an official draft rule filed by the state Department of Health today.
The filing of the draft rule starts a rule-making process and a public-comment period. A hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 25 in Tumwater, Thurston County.
The draft reduces amounts earlier considered by the health department and revealed in a "talking points" memo used to brief Gov. Christine Gregoire in February. Health-department officials said in the February memo that they planned to recommend 35 ounces of harvested marijuana plus 100 square feet of plant-growing area.
Gregoire's staff told health-department officials the amount appeared to be on the high side, and that law enforcement and medical providers should be consulted. The health department convened an advisory panel that included law-enforcement officials, advocates and a single doctor — a public-health HIV/AIDS expert who does not care for patients directly.
Law-enforcement officials have said their main concern is being able to distinguish legitimate patients from those who are hiding behind the law to grow and sell large amounts of marijuana. They said they consider 3 ounces a reasonable amount for the 60-day supply specified in Washington's law, passed by voters in 1998.
That law allows patients with certain chronic, fatal or debilitating diseases to possess a 60-day supply with a doctor's authorization.
Carol M. Ostrom: 206-464-2249 or firstname.lastname@example.org