Politics & Government

Should state do away with doctors’ notes for marijuana?

It’s pretty easy to get a medical authorization for marijuana, and some proposals in the Legislature next year will try to make it harder.

But here’s one that goes in a different direction: Just get rid of all authorizations for most patients.

Lawmakers have been trying to figure out what to do about the proliferation of unregulated medical shops that compete with the highly taxed state-licensed retail stores. Medical-marijuana users have fought against any deal that forces them to register with the state as part of getting legal protection or tax breaks.

So Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, wants to avoid a registry by making it legal for anyone 21 and older to have 8 ounces of pot at home or grow up to six plants.

That’s less than what’s allowed now for medical patients but more than what’s allowed for ordinary users, who can have 1 ounce and no plants.

Patients who don’t want to grow could still buy at state-licensed stores.

Unlike other proposals to give those buyers a tax exemption only if they join a registry, this one offers a tax break for anybody buying marijuana rich in the CBD that is seen as having medicinal value and low in the THC that gets you high.

So what about young people? And what about patients who say they need more than six plants or who say THC has properties that help their conditions? Kohl-Welles wants them to apply to the state for a “waiver” — essentially, an authorization, but one that would be more rare and harder to get.