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A brief discussion of some of the issues with Medical Marijuana in Washington State.

  1. Is marijuana legal for private use in Washington?

    Marijuana possession is illegal in Washington. The medical marijuana law, chapter 69.51A, provides protection from arrest or other criminal sanctions for qualified patients and designated caregivers who are complying with the law. People who qualify may possess a 60-day supply of marijuana. However, medical marijuana (cannabis) is not legal under federal law. There is no medical use protection for people who are arrested or charged under federal law.
  2. My friend told me that Recently Federal Law changed and the Federal Government is no longer prosecuting those who use medical marijuana.

    No. It is true that the president has directed federal prosecutors to consider appropriate medical use when making criminal charging decisions and that U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole has announced updated formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have laws allowing the use of medical marijuana (cannabis). However, the guidelines do not legalize medical marijuana (cannabis). The guidelines only provide direction for prosecutors when reviewing medical marijuana (cannabis) cases.
  3. Where can I find a list of qualifying conditions for the use of medical marijuana?

    RCW 69.51A.01, In addition to those conditions in the law, chronic renal failure was added by petition in 2010.
  4. Who can recommend medical marijuana?

    The following can recommend medical marijuana: • Medical Doctors (MDs) • Physician Assistants (PAs) • Osteopathic Physicians (DOs) • Osteopathic Physician Assistants (OA) • Naturopathic Physicians (ND) • Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs)
  5. How do I get medical marijuana?

    The law allows a qualifying patient or designated provider to grow medical marijuana (cannabis).
  6. What constitutes “medical” use of marijuana?

    “Medical” use of marijuana includes the production, possession, and administration of marijuana, as defined in RCW 69.50.101(q), for the exclusive benefit of a qualifying patient in the treatment of his or her terminal or debilitating illness (RCW 69.51A.010).
  7. What makes a “Qualifying Patient”?
    1. Is a patient of a health care professional;
    2. Has been diagnosed by that health care professional as having a terminal or debilitating medical condition;
    3. Is a resident of the state of Washington at the time of such diagnosis;
    4. Has been advised by that health care professional about the risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana; and
    5. Has been advised by that health care professional that they may benefit from the medical use of marijuana.
  8. What is “valid documentation” under the medical marijuana statute?

    A statement signed and dated by a qualifying patient’s health care professional written on tamper-resistant paper, which states that, in the health care professional’s professional opinion, the patient may benefit from the medical use of marijuana. Additionally, proof of identity such as a Washington state driver’s license or identicard is required. This is defined in RCW 46.20.035.
  9. Where can I use medical marijuana?

    Medical marijuana can not be used in public. It is an infraction “to use or display medical marijuana in a manner or place which is open to the view of the general public” (RCW 69.51A.060).
  10. Does my work have to accommodate my medical marijuana use?

    RCW 69.51A.060(4) states: Nothing in this chapter requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of cannabis in any place of employment, in any school bus or on any school grounds, in any youth center, in any correctional facility, or smoking cannabis in any public place or hotel or motel. Further RCW 69.51A.060(6) states: Employers may establish drug-free work policies. Nothing in this chapter requires an accommodation for the medical use of cannabis if an employer has a drug-free work place.