Washington program continues success story


Last update: October 11, 2016


Voters adopted a medical marijuana program in 1998, followed by a vote to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over in 2012. Reconciling the differences between these two state programs has been an ongoing effort by lawmakers in recent years, and the state’s overhaul to make the two programs more consistent continued in 2016.

Provisions contained in a 2015 bill called the Cannabis Patient Protection Act took full effect earlier this year. While parts of it had already been imposed, many of the biggest changes did not begin until July. Among other things, the bill established a volunteer medical marijuana registry, similar to other states with medical programs. Patients are not required to register, but those who do are given greater legal protections with law enforcement and may purchase a greater amount of cannabis or cannabis products and grow more at home.

Patients and medical marijuana providers were concerned the changes would bring increased cost and potentially less selection for patients, but it is not yet clear if those fears have come about in the wake of the law’s effective date.

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Pending Legislation