Washington Medical Marijuana
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Patients with terminal or debilitating medical conditions may, under their healthcare practitioner's care, benefit from the medical use of marijuana.
Terminal or debilitating medical condition means a condition severe enough to significantly interfere with the patient's activities of daily living and ability to function, which can be objectively assessed and evaluated and limited to the following:
Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders.
Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications.
Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications.
Crohn's disease with debilitating symptoms unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis.
Post traumatic stress disorder.
Traumatic brain injury.
Humanitarian compassion necessitates that the decision to use marijuana by patients with terminal or debilitating medical conditions is a personal, individual decision, based upon their healthcare practitioner's professional medical judgment and discretion.
The general process to becoming a medical marijuana patient in Washington is outlined below:
Step 1: Schedule an appointment with your health care practitioner.
Step 2: Obtain a medical marijuana authorization from your practitioner.
Step 3: Visit a medically-endorsed store to get a medical marijuana card (see store list (PDF)).
Step 4: Use the card to purchase products sales tax free.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1 - 4 to renew both the medical marijuana authorization and card before expiration.
Healthcare Practitioner Information
Before an allowed healthcare practitioner may authorize the use of marijuana to a qualifying patient, a patient-practitioner relationship must be established. Requirements and restrictions established in RCW 69.51A.030 must be met and practice standards must be followed as with any type of treatment. Healthcare practitioners that want to authorize their patient to use marijuana for medical purposes must complete and sign the Washington State Medical Marijuana Authorization and print on tamper-resistant paper.
Who Can Authorize
Qualifying patients who believe they would benefit from the use of marijuana do not need to go to a specialty clinic and pay for an authorization. The state law that went into full effect on July 1, 2016, requires all medical practices that are primarily providing medical marijuana authorizations to either increase the variety of medical services within their practice or close down (RCW 69.51A.030(2)(d)(iv).
The Department of Health does not keep a list of those specific practitioners that are authorizing. The following types of healthcare practitioners licensed in Washington State are allowed to authorize the use of marijuana to medical patients:
Medical doctor (MD) – licensed under chapter 18.71 RCW
Physician assistant (PA) – licensed under chapter 18.71A RCW
Osteopathic physician (DO) – licensed under chapter 18.57 RCW
Osteopathic physician assistant (DOA) – licensed under chapter 18.57A RCW
Naturopathic physician – licensed under chapter 18.36A RCW
Advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP)– licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW