It’s always good to see positive, forward momentum in the Medical Marijuana Movement. Both Delaware and Washington are making grand steps in the legalization of medical marijuana and the protection of its patients with these two bills.
In Delaware, Senate Bill 17 has passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Wednesday afternoon on a unanimous vote. The bill will allow three non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries to do business as regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services. It also allows patients, with qualifying conditions and written recommendations from a physician, to obtain a patient ID card. The ID card will permit patients to purchase medication from the dispensaries and act as protection against arrests, as long as they are in compliance with the law. Patients will be allowed to possess up to six ounces and care givers that same amount for up to five patients. The law does not, however, grant permission for growing your own plants. The bill now heads for a Senate floor vote, possibly on March 31. If it passes, it then goes on to the House.
Washington, on the other hand, is way ahead of Delaware. Senate Bill 5073 barely passed out of the House Health Care Committee with a close vote of 6-5. Though Washington already has a medical marijuana law this bill would create structure for a system of state-licensed dispensaries. The dispensaries currently conducting business in the state are operating without legal approval making it a dangerous and risky venture for owners. If the bill is passed dispensaries no longer have to operate as non-profit organization. The state Health Department would determine the number of dispensaries per county and create a lottery for licenses. Under the bill, patients and care givers who register with the state will be protected from prosecution for possession of up to 15 plants and 24 ounces of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
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