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Full Text of Washington State
Medical Marijuana Act


Chapter 69.51A RCW

July 22, 2007 Amendments
Amendments Effective July 27, 2007
Click here for 69.51 amendments

69.51A.005 Purpose and intent.

69.51A.010 Definitions.

69.51A.020 Construction of chapter.

69.51A.030 Physicians excepted from state's criminal laws.

69.51A.040 Qualifying patients' affirmative defense.

69.51A.050 Med. marijuana, lawful possession-State not liable.

69.51A.060 Crimes-Limitations of chapter.

69.51A.070 Addition of medical conditions.

69.51A.900 Short title-1999 c 2.

69.51A.901 Severability-1999 c 2.

69.51A.902 Captions not law-1999 c 2.

RCW 69.51A.005 Purpose and intent.

The people of Washington state find that some patients with

terminal or debilitating illnesses, under their physician's care, may

benefit from the medical use of marijuana. Some of the illnesses

for which marijuana appears to be beneficial include chemotherapy-

related nausea and vomiting in cancer patients; AIDS

wasting syndrome; severe muscle spasms associated with multiple

sclerosis and other spasticity disorders; epilepsy; acute or chronic

glaucoma; and some forms of intractable pain.

The people find that humanitarian compassion necessitates

that the decision to authorize the medical use of marijuana by

patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses is a personal,

individual decision, based upon their physician's professional

medical judgment and discretion.

Therefore, the people of the state of Washington intend that:

Qualifying patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses who, in the

judgment of their physicians, would benefit from the medical use of

marijuana, shall not be found guilty of a crime under state law for

their possession and limited use of marijuana;

Persons who act as primary caregivers to such patients shall

also not be found guilty of a crime under state law for assisting

with the medical use of marijuana; and

Physicians also be excepted from liability and prosecution for the

authorization of marijuana use to qualifying patients for whom, in the

physician's professional judgment, medical marijuana may prove

beneficial.[1999 c 2 2 (Initiative Measure No. 692, approved

November 3, 1998).]

RCW 69.51A.010 Definitions.

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter

unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

(1) "Medical use of marijuana" means the production,

possession, or administration of marijuana, as defined in

RCW 69.50.101(q), for the exclusive benefit of a qualifying

patient in the treatment of his or her terminal or debilitating

illness.

(2) "Primary caregiver" means a person who:

(a) Is eighteen years of age or older;

(b) Is responsible for the housing, health, or care of the

patient;

(c) Has been designated in writing by a patient to

perform the duties of primary caregiver under this

chapter.

(3) "Qualifying patient" means a person who:

(a) Is a patient of a physician licensed under chapter

18.71 or 18.57 RCW;

(b) Has been diagnosed by that physician as having a

terminal or debilitating medical condition;

(c) Is a resident of the state of Washington at the time of

such diagnosis;

(d) Has been advised by that physician about the risks

and benefits of the medical use of marijuana; and

(e) Has been advised by that physician that they may

benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

(4) "Terminal or debilitating medical condition" means:

(a) Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),

multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or

spasticity disorders; or

(b) Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this

chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical

treatments and medications; or

(c) Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the

purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular

pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications;

or

(d) Any other medical condition duly approved by the

Washington state medical quality assurance board

[commission] as directed in this chapter.

(5) "Valid documentation" means:

(a) A statement signed by a qualifying patient's physician,

or a copy of the qualifying patient's pertinent

medical records, which states that, in the physician's

professional opinion, the potential benefits of the

medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the

health risks for a particular qualifying patient; and

(b) Proof of identity such as a Washington state driver's

license or identicard, as defined in RCW

46.20.035.[1999 c 2 6 (Initiative Measure No. 692,

approved November 3, 1998).]

RCW 69.51A.020 Construction of chapter.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to supersede

Washington state law prohibiting the acquisition, possession,

manufacture, sale, or use of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.[

1999 c 2 3 (Initiative Measure No. 692, approved

November 3, 1998).]

RCW 69.51A.030 Physicians excepted from

state's criminal laws.

A physician licensed under chapter 18.71 or 18.57 RCW shall

be excepted from the state's criminal laws and shall not be

penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for:

(1) Advising a qualifying patient about the risks and benefits

of medical use of marijuana or that the qualifying patient may

benefit from the medical use of marijuana where such use is

within a professional standard of care or in the individual

physician's medical judgment; or

(2) Providing a qualifying patient with valid documentation,

based upon the physician's assessment of the qualifying

patient's medical history and current medical condition, that

the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would

likely outweigh the health risks for the particular qualifying

patient.[1999 c 2 4 (Initiative Measure No. 692, approved

November 3, 1998).]

Full Text of Washington State
Medical Marijuana Act

CHAPTER 69.51A RCW

RCW 69.51A.040 Qualifying patients' affirmative defense.

(1) If charged with a violation of state law relating to

marijuana, any qualifying patient who is engaged in the

medical use of marijuana, or any designated primary

caregiver who assists a qualifying patient in the medical use

of marijuana, will be deemed to have established an affirmative

defense to such charges by proof of his or her compliance

with the requirements provided in this chapter. Any person

meeting the requirements appropriate to his or her status

under this chapter shall be considered to have engaged in

activities permitted by this chapter and shall not be penalized

in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for such

actions.

(2) The qualifying patient, if eighteen years of age or older,

shall:

(a) Meet all criteria for status as a qualifying patient;

(b) Possess no more marijuana than is necessary for the

patient's personal, medical use, not exceeding the

amount necessary for a sixty-day supply; and

(c) Present his or her valid documentation to any law

enforcement official who questions the patient regarding

his or her medical use of marijuana.

(3) The qualifying patient, if under eighteen years of age,

shall comply with subsection (2)(a) and (c) of this section.

However, any possession under subsection (2)(b) of this

section, as well as any production, acquisition, and decision as

to dosage and frequency of use, shall be the responsibility of

the parent or legal guardian of the qualifying patient.

(4) The designated primary caregiver shall:

(a) Meet all criteria for status as a primary caregiver to a

qualifying patient;

(b) Possess, in combination with and as an agent for the

qualifying patient, no more marijuana than is necessary

for the patient's personal, medical use, not exceeding the

amount necessary for a sixty-day supply;

(c) Present a copy of the qualifying patient's valid

documentation required by this chapter, as well as

evidence of designation to act as primary caregiver by

the patient, to any law enforcement official requesting

such information;

(d) Be prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained

for the personal, medical use of the patient for whom the

individual is acting as primary caregiver; and

(e) Be the primary caregiver to only one patient at any

one time.[1999 c 2 5 (Initiative Measure No. 692,

approved November 3, 1998).]

RCW 69.51A.050 Medical marijuana, lawful possession-

State not liable.

(1) The lawful possession or manufacture of medical

marijuana as authorized by this chapter shall not result in the

forfeiture or seizure of any property.

(2) No person shall be prosecuted for constructive possession,

conspiracy, or any other criminal offense solely for being in

the presence or vicinity of medical marijuana or its use as

authorized by this chapter.

(3) The state shall not be held liable for any deleterious

outcomes from the medical use of marijuana by any qualifying

patient.[1999 c 2 7 (Initiative Measure No. 692,

approved November 3, 1998).]

RCW 69.51A.060 Crimes-Limitations of chapter.

(1) It shall be a misdemeanor to use or display medical

marijuana in a manner or place which is open to the view of

the general public.

(2) Nothing in this chapter requires any health insurance

provider to be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the

medical use of marijuana.

(3) Nothing in this chapter requires any physician to authorize

the use of medical marijuana for a patient.

(4) Nothing in this chapter requires any accommodation of

any medical use of marijuana in any place of employment, in

any school bus or on any school grounds, or in any youth

center.

(5) It is a class C felony to fraudulently produce any record

purporting to be, or tamper with the content of any record for

the purpose of having it accepted as, valid documentation

under RCW 69.51A.010(5)(a).

(6) No person shall be entitled to claim the affirmative

defense provided in RCW 69.51A.040 for engaging in the

medical use of marijuana in a way that endangers the health

or well-being of any person through the use of a motorized

vehicle on a street, road, or highway.[1999 c 2 8 (Initiative

Measure No. 692,

approved November 3, 1998).]

RCW 69.51A.070 Addition of medical conditions.

The Washington state medical quality assurance board

[commission], or other appropriate agency as designated by the

governor, shall accept for consideration petitions submitted by

physicians or patients to add terminal or debilitating conditions to

those included in this chapter. In considering such petitions, the

Washington state medical quality assurance board [commission]

shall include public notice of, and an opportunity to comment in a

public hearing upon, such petitions. The Washington state medical

quality assurance board [commission] shall, after hearing, approve

or deny such petitions within one hundred eighty days of submission.

The approval or denial of such a petition shall be considered

a final agency action, subject to judicial review.[1999 c 2 9

(Initiative Measure No. 692, approved November 3, 1998).]

RCW 69.51A.900 Short title-1999 c 2.

This chapter may be known and cited as the Washington state

medical use of marijuana act.[1999 c 2 1 (Initiative Measure No.

692, approved November 3, 1998).]

RCW 69.51A.901 Severability-1999 c 2.

If any provision of this act or its application to any person or

circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the

application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is

not affected.[1999 c 2 10 (Initiative Measure No. 692, approved

November 3, 1998).]

RCW 69.51A.902 Captions not law-1999 c 2.

Captions used in this chapter are not any part of the law.[1999

c 2 11 (Initiative Measure No. 692, approved November 3,

1998).]

July 22, 2007 Amendments
Amendments Effective July 27, 2007
Click here for 69.51 amendments

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