Monday, April 8, 2013

Washington Medical Marijuana Community Wants to Remain Separate

The State of Washington recently hired a pot tsar to help them determine exactly how to regulate the production, distribution, and sale of legalized marijuana. Yet even as the state continues to move forward with legalized marijuana, providers and patients in Washington's medical marijuana community would prefer to remain segregated from I-502's rules, licenses, and taxes.

Currently, state laws allow patients who have medical marijuana authorization to grow their own cannabis plants. They are also legally protected and allowed to participate in collective gardens. The difference between medicinal marijuana and recreational marijuana has a lot to do with a compound called cannabidiol (CBD). This compound helps provide pharmacological effects that can aide patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, and other chronic-pain conditions. Medicinal marijuana plants are often bred to yield lower levels of THC and higher levels of CBD.

While the medical marijuana community might be exempt from I-502's rules, a new tax is currently being proposed in the Washington state House. If this passes, it will tax medical marijuana 25% in order to avoid an underground market for medicinal pot once recreational marijuana is legally sold. Finance Chair Reuven Carlyle wants to treat medicinal marijuana the same as recreational marijuana—especially when it comes to taxation. This would mirror voter approved I-502 for medicinal marijuana in the State of Washington and is not necessarily welcomed by marijuana advocates and patients who rely on medicinal marijuana for relief.

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