MMJ Now Illegal In Washington State. Yes, Washington State.

The Washington State Court of Appeals just held that medical marijuana activity (even patient cultivation in the home) is illegal under current State law.

The long road to this disappointing decision began a couple of years ago when an access point (essentially a medical outlet formed by medical marijuana patients) and an advocacy group sued the city of Kent in an effort to block the city from implementing a zoning ordinance that would essentially prohibit collective gardens, both commercial and home grows. The case made its way through King County Superior Court (which upheld Kent’s ban) and eventually reached the Washington State Supreme Court. The Supreme Court issued an emergency stay of the Kent ban but ultimately decided to send it back down to the Court of Appeals for a full decision on the merits.

The Court of Appeals’ 26-page decision in the case has sent shockwaves through the medical marijuana community statewide, though the media has barely covered it.

The Court of Appeals not only upheld the City of Kent’s ban, it also ruled that operating a medical marijuana collective garden or access point constitutes criminal activity. We fully expect city attorneys in those cities opposed to cannabis will use this Court of Appeals decision to shut down or prevent collective gardens and access points.

We feel for our friends involved with medical cannabis in Washington State. We do not read this Court of Appeals decision as having any impact on recreational marijuana in Washington.



36 responses to “MMJ Now Illegal In Washington State. Yes, Washington State.”

  1. Does this mean as of immediately we need to stop our personal grows? Or is this going to be a County / City thing?

  2. This is BULLSH#T !!
    How will they even find a jury to procecute the sick and dying for a ‘legal’ plant?
    FK the L.C.B.!!
    BOYCOTT 502 !!
    Why? Do you have good bud right now? There’s a reason.
    Do you want bud, but can’t afford it? That’s another reason !

  3. I’m confused why the Appeals Court decision keeps repeating that 5073 “did not legalize medical marijuana”… it’s almost as if they are unaware that medical marijuana was already legal in Washington, and has been since the voters legalized it in 1998…

      • Again, the Kurtz case did not argue that it was legalized; it argued another defense “medical necessity”,

    • Steve, I just reread both the brief and the opinion and what I understand from the Court’s decision is that the registry legalized it (a registry which never happened), but that without the registry, patient’s simply retain an affirmative defense (which is not technically legalization). It is a very important distinction in the law.
      I still think the appellant is essentially correct in that the State Law permits collective gardens, and thus (as the brief states) there are equal protection issues and State per-eminence.
      Still, there is a difference.
      If I was a betting man, I would say this case has an excellent chance in a higher court.

    • The Medical Marijuana Act of 1998 did not legalize medical marijuana, it created an affirmative defense. The decision in this case was that 5073 legalized it with the condition of being registered, and without being registered (an impossibility) patients are relying on the affirmative defense created in 1998. It is a critical legal distinction. While I disagree with the decision, because I still believe the State has per-eminence, it is important to understand the difference.

  4. So only the very ill are harmed. Only those who *need* cannabis will be and are being told they can NOT be as healthy as they *can be*.

    Governor Inslee, you are a travesty and not a leader for our state.

    The sick people who are “writing” laws OVER our present law are asking for the very ill to die while they *play for money*.

    You are destroying lives when you go AGAINST the laws that the PEOPLE vote into being!

  5. SB 5073 was never written to “legalize medical marijuana” — that was done by the voters in 1998. SB 5073 was meant to write the rules for an already-legal field of endeavor.

    One of the most confusing legal opinions I’ve ever read, and I suspect it was written from a lamentably incomplete understanding of the law.

    • The state failed to get rid of medical in their last session so this is how they are going about destroying medical after their failure. How can we appeal this decision!!!

  6. …and the citizens believed they were voting for legalization! The dark forces of prohibition at work to violate the will of the people and the spirit of the law. Shameful. Criminal, really.

      • Colorado is not doing it right. The prohibitionists are not politically naive and utterly disorganized, and they continue to work against cannabis. The fruits of their labors are that exorbitant and extra-constitutional taxes sufficient to sustain the black market have been applied to general sales of cannabis and (just incidentally to the legions who care only about retail sales), all the many felonies for cannabis were re-instituted and actually increased in severity by our prohibitionist Governor and Legislature last summer, in reaction against the vote of the People on Amendment 64 — in Colorado, one can now commit a Class 1 felony (like premeditated murder) with cannabis. The media have trumpeted the lie that “Colorado legalized marijuana” around the world, but it could hardly be further from the truth.

      • Colorado has NOT done it ‘right’. Neither have Canada or Washington. “Legalisation” is simply putting lipstick on the pig of prohibition. There may be an opportunity in California in 2016 to avoid repeating their disastrous mistakes. The California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative is worth considering.

    • We can’t ask Colorado how to do it right for two reasons:
      1. They did a lot of things wrong.
      2. The largest defects in the law were baked into the cake with 502.

    • We cannot ask Colorado how to do it right because:
      1. They did not do it right
      2. Most of the major flaws with Washington law were baked into the cake with 502

    • Why are you getting mad at canna law? All they did here was report the law as it is. What do you want them to do, keep this decision a secret so that people can get arrested?

  7. The People should realize that Prohibition is sustained by traitors to our Constitution and founding ideals of freedom. Those who enact, administer, enforce, or support our current drug laws are enemy combatants against the American People and Nation who pose a threat to our lives and liberties infinitely more baleful than Al Quaeda, and they should be treated as such. The toll on our lives and fortunes of the war they are waging against the American People should instead be exacted of the parasites now masquerading as our legislators, district attorneys, judges, and other officials.

  8. I have been practicing law in this state for more than 20 years and in an attempt to figure out what actually happened in this case I went back and read the briefs and the court order. This is a classic case of really bad lawyering creating really bad case law for the rest of us. Steve Sarich, John Worthington and Deryck Tsang were the plaintiffs in this case and their briefs were probably the worst written and most insulting briefs I’ve ever seen. The Court of Appeals almost had no choice but to rule against them because their arguments were so absurd and so stupid. I suspect the Court got angry at them and in so doing went even beyond just their case and held that medical cannabis is illegal everywhere. This is the problem in the pot world. Idiots like these three people can kill it for the rest of us. These three people with their stupidity and their hubris have ruined it for the rest of us. My elderly father used medical cannabis and now thanks to these buffoons his doing so again would be illegal. There is an old saying about looking before you leap. Sarich and Worthington have a long history of jumping into deep waters and drowning by not looking first. This time though their unparelled stupidy has drowned countless needy patients with them. Yes I am angry about this and you should too. We need to organize to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. If we do not we will all pay a steep price, of that I am certain.

    • Right — judges merely “discover” the Law, and bear no responsibility for the criminalization of American society (to the point that the supposed “land of the free” is instead now the world’s leading jailer; the least free country on Earth). Tell it to the shades of those hanged at Nuremburg; we need similar trials on a massive scale here. Even granting your point regarding the plaintiffs’ arguments, you would deflect all onus for the denial of our rights away from those chiefly responsible, but then, you are a lawyer, and complicit in the inversion of Justice which is American Law.

    • Based on this post, I just reread the brief and the decision and I am wondering exactly which arguments were “absurd” and “stupid”.

    • The Angry”Lawyer” seems to lack the understanding that being a plaintiff does not mean writing the brief. The lawyer who wrote the brief is not listed as Sarich, Worthington or Tsang. As an Angry”Lawyer”, he or she should understand that these three do not form the legal basis for the appeal. The lawyer generally does that.
      Also, a skilled lawyer would know that, at this point in the game, there generally are no “plaintiffs” : instead there are “appellants”. Weird oversight of an attorney.
      But I am skeptical that this Angry”Lawyer” is even making a legal critique. All of the errors in this posting suggest this is really a personal attack on the three appellants.
      The Angry”Lawyer” suggests “we will all pay a steep price.” This suggests that the Angry”Lawyer” is invested in a “collective” because this ruling costs a lawyer nothing.

  9. Well come on down to Colorado you all! We believe in the individual right to make money and to allow entrepreneurs space to succeed. The State of Washington did this for one reason, to control every aspect of MMJ and the monies being made by those transactions. What the people of Washington want and what the government wants are totally different. Washington State is one of the top five most corrupt states around.

  10. Las vegas nevada is the corporate office of the 2 states. They (politicians)did it right….. they made it where its totally benefiting the politicians where to open a dispensary it cost 250k in liquid assets. Rediculous were all waiting to open up a shop and here comes big brother. Fuck that keep your gmo shit ill keep my homegrown fruits of labor.

  11. Former Gov. Christine Gregoire was threatened by the Feds saying if WA state facilitated the possession/use/etc. of marijuana they would be violating the CSA and subject to prosecution. When she was on the way out the door Gregoire gutted RCW 69.51A to remove any reference to a registry which protected WA state employees from being involved but it also removed the legal protection provided by registering.

    You can thank anyone who voted for Christine “Quagmire”.

    The same provisions are in place for recreational marijuana; cities can refuse to issue business licenses and perform other tactics to prevent recreational state licensed production, producers and retailers.

    MMJ patients can either purchase from recreational retailers or accept the risk that if they invoke the MMJ defense they only have an affirmative defense and can still be arrested and go through the whole justice system “dance” of sitting in jail, posting bail and providing and getting a defense.

    Ways to effect this:

    1) get organized and load the city counsels with people that represent your views.

    2) Ammend the CSA to remove marijuana as an illegal substance.

    3) Vote with your wallet, don’t buy ANYTHING in Kent or other cities that act against
    your views.

  12. Late to the conversation, but just to be the voice of reason with no real “dog in the hunt”. Having read the Court’s 26 page decision, I don’t see where are the whaling and gashing of teeth comes in.
    The governor, for reasons that appeared to be right and proper at the time (the protection of state employees from federal prosecution), removed the legalization provisions of MUCA, while retaining the affirmative defense for those who used, produced, or distributed Medical MJ, while continuing to comply with those statutes as remained. In doing so, large areas of regulation were placed firmly back into the hands of local government. Including the right to zone for all aspects of Medical MJ with the solitary exception of excluding dispensaries outright.
    This suit never should have been filed, much less appealed, under “current law”.
    Now, if you want to solve the “problem” of cannabis prohibition, you really need to be working at the federal level. As long as Cannabis/THC retains a position on the Schedule I list of controlled substances, all state regulation/legalization efforts are stop gaps at best. This is not to say that legalization efforts should not continue, but don’t be unrealistic in your expectations.

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