Washington Medical Marijuana Patient Information

What conditions can Medical Marijuana be used for in Washington?

The Washington State Department of Health only approves medical marijuana cards for patients diagnosed with one of the qualifying health conditions. Other persons must purchase recreationally. The list of qualifying conditions include:

  • Cancer: According to experts, marijuana contains chemicals that have provide relief from nausea and vomiting that accompany cancer chemotherapy. Cannabis treatment also helps patients deal with chronic pain from nerve damage.
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS): Some of the symptoms of HIV/AIDS include muscle aches, nausea, and cachexia. Patients may use medical cannabis to gain relief from these symptoms.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS): Patients dealing with multiple sclerosis experience symptoms of spasticity and pain. According to reports, cannabis use provides effective relief from these symptoms.
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorders: Experts claim that cannabis use helps control patients' nervous systems, thus reducing the likelihood of an epileptic seizure.
  • Intractable pain: When a person experiences pain that regular medication cannot relieve, they may turn to medical cannabis.
  • Glaucoma, either acute or chronic: Glaucoma patients can use medical marijuana to help alleviate intra-ocular eye pressure. They may also use marijuana to relieve symptoms like nausea and headaches.
  • Crohn's disease: Although incurable, patients with Crohn's disease may use cannabis to manage their symptoms like abdominal cramps, fatigue, and cachexia.
  • Hepatitis C: Cannabis does not treat Hepatitis C or the complications it causes. However, patients that use medical marijuana get relief from nausea caused by hepatitis medication.
  • Any disease, including anorexia, leading to nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity.
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Traumatic brain injury.

What does an MMJ Card Permit in Washington?

Recreational marijuana use is legal in Washington and entering the state medical marijuana authorization database is voluntary for adults. However, state residents that purchase and participate in marijuana use without an MMJ card miss out on several benefits enjoyed by MMJ cardholders which include;

  • Increased possession limits; registered caregivers and patients are legally allowed to purchase up to three ounces of usable marijuana, 216 ounces of marijuana-infused products in liquid form, 48 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form, and 21 grams of marijuana concentrate.

  • State tax exemption; MMJ cardholders can buy medical marijuana products from retail stores at cheaper rates due to MMJ cardholders exemption from Washington's 37% statewide tax on marijuana.

  • Access to a wide variety of cannabis strains and potencies; some high THC cannabis strains are readily available at numerous Washington State dispensaries and are restricted to valid MMJ cardholders. Cardholders are also allowed access to a wider range of strains to choose from.

  • Allowed marijuana cultivation; MMJ cardholders are allowed to grow not more than 15 marijuana plants on a single location and can possess up to eight ounces of usable marijuana in their homes.

  • Purchase of immature plants, clones, and seeds from a licensed marijuana producer; which would be beneficial to patients or caregivers who choose to grow their marijuana for personal use. The Washington State Department of Health doesn't maintain any registries for licensed marijuana producers. MMJ cardholders would need to inquire at local dispensaries about the whereabouts of a marijuana producer open to the public in their area.

  • Allowed participation in a registered medical marijuana co-operative; medical marijuana cooperatives are formed by a maximum of four valid MMJ cardholders. Members of a cooperative pull their resources together to cultivate and process marijuana strictly for medical purposes. Cooperative are allowed increased marijuana plant growth and possession limits. Members are allowed to grow more than 15 marijuana plants for personal use. Cooperative cannabis farm locations are required to be registered with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

  • Protection from local law enforcement agencies per the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 69.51A.040; registered MMJ cardholders are not subject to criminal sanctions or civil consequences for medical marijuana use, possession, and cultivation by Washington local law enforcement agencies.

How long is a Washington medical marijuana card valid?

A Washington medical marijuana card only expires when a patient's medical marijuana authorization expires. This authorization expiration date is determined by your healthcare practitioner and is based on a patient treatment plan. According to the RCW 69.51A.030, a practitioner authorization can last up to a year for adults 18 years or older. For patients younger than 18 years, practitioner authorization typically lasts six months.

Does Washington have Medical Marijuana Reciprocity?

No, medical marijuana reciprocity clauses are not included in Washington State laws. Only Washington state-issued medical marijuana cards are valid within the state jurisdiction. Medical marijuana reciprocity refers to states having complementary medical marijuana laws that allow medical marijuana card usage between these states. Note that out-of-state patients 21 or older are allowed and protected under Initiative 17 to purchase marijuana or its products in any medically endorsed retail store.

Is an MMIC Valid outside of Washington?

Yes, a Washington-issued medical marijuana identification card (MMIC) is valid in all states with medical marijuana reciprocity clauses or programs. In these states, a Washington MMIC card can be used to purchase and possess cannabis without fear of local law enforcement persecution. Sadly, not all states that legalize medical or recreational marijuana use allow medical marijuana reciprocity. Even in Washington, only state-issued MMIC are recognized within the state's jurisdiction. A Washington MMIC is valid in the following state that currently practices medical marijuana reciprocity;

Does Washington Accept Medical Marijuana Cards issued by another State?

No, only state-issued medical marijuana cards are accepted in Washington. This is due to the state's non-inclusion of medical marijuana reciprocity clauses in its laws. Although, out-of-state adults 21 years or older are legally allowed to possess not more than two ounces of marijuana within Washington per the state Initiative 17.

Does a Washington MMIC Protect Me Under Federal Law?

No, marijuana possession and use are illegal under US federal laws. Even with a Washington MMIC, possession of marijuana on federal grounds for first-time offenders is a misdemeanor. These offenses are punishable by a max fine of $1000 and up to a year jail sentence. Federal properties in Washington include capitol grounds, malls, national parks, and military properties.

Washington Marijuana Patient Information