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State agencies propose new rules for medical marijuana

Medical marijuana in Washington would undergo a drastic change under draft rules unveiled by three state agencies Monday that would drastically cut how much pot patients are allowed to have, restrict what they can have it for, and make them obtain the weed at stores that are licensed under the state’s recreational marijuana law.

Representatives from the Liquor Control Board, Department of Revenue, and Department of Health released their draft recommendations on Monday. The group is charged with sending a final report to the Legislature by Jan. 1.

Under the proposed rules, a qualified patient or designated provider could possess up to three ounces – considered a one week supply – of useable marijuana at a time. Under I-502, recreational users can possess up to one ounce of useable marijuana.

The rules would eliminate home growing and the ability for a qualified patient or designated provider from possessing marijuana plants.

If adopted, the rules would drive many existing medical marijuana dispensaries out of business. Only retail stores licensed and regulated under I-502 would be authorized to sell marijuana and accept medical marijuana cards.

Obtaining a medical marijuana authorization would be more difficult under the new rules. Health care professionals would be required to follow regulations similar to those governing the use of opioids to manage chronic pain. They would be required to provide regular examinations for authorizations and keep detailed records.

Patients would be added to a state registry and required to register annually for medical marijuana authorization.

While I-502 limits recreational marijuana to adults over 21, adults between 18-20 would be allowed access with authorization from a health care professional. Children 17 and younger would be allowed to use medical marijuana with parental consent but only be allowed to possess enough for one dose at a time.

The Liquor Control Board will now take public comment through Nov. 8 before preparing final recommendations to state lawmakers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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