ORIGINAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM LCB – COMPLIANCE CHECKS FOR PATIENT COLLECTIVES

This is my response from Brian Smith at the Washington State Liquor Control Board in response to the questions I asked about the registry. You will notice there is a discrepancy about how many patients can grow in one household without registering and I have asked that question and will share it with you as soon as we receive the answers.

Hi Tracy, following up on the questions you submitted. Thanks for your patience. I reached out to the enforcement division for their input. We responded below (in bold). Please know that cooperative inspections are new to us as well. The agency has never been tasked with inspecting grows at someone’s home. I think it’s fair to say that our officers will be respectful as they carry out their responsibilities as prescribed in the law.

1) home compliance checks -can you please describe what will happen at a home compliance check?

LCB officers will conduct inspections between the hours of 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM. The objective of the inspection will be to verify that a cooperative is complying with all laws and rules governing the cooperative. Officers will inspect marijuana plants and product, floor plan requirements (e.g., fencing, etc.), records, verify that cooperative members meet the requirements prescribed by RCW 69.51A.250 and confirm that no marijuana is being illegally diverted from the cooperative.

2) how will you choose compliance checks for patients will they be random , based on suspicion, or will we all get one?

Every cooperative should expect to have a premises check conducted by LCB officers. Premises checks can be conducted randomly but may also be complaint driven.

3) how far can the compliance officer go in searching our homes? What will be there reach?

LCB officers operate within the parameters of the 4th Amendment’s and Article 1, Section 7 of the Washington State Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Officers will only inspect areas where plants are grown, marijuana product is stored, and cooperative records are kept. Officers will not search areas in which they have no reason to believe marijuana or cooperative records are kept or stored.

4) what are the rights of the Washington State Citizen medical marijuana patients. Can we refuse entry? Can we limit what you see in our private homes?

RCW 69.51A.250(9) and WAC 314-55-410(3) state that LCB officers may inspect the premises. This will be done during reasonable hours (proposed rule states between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.) and only for the reason of verifying that a cooperative is in compliance with medical marijuana laws and rules. If you have questions regarding refusal of entry, you should seek the advice of a private attorney as we can’t give you legal advice.

4) what infractions or discipline actions will you be looking for and what will be the consequence of these disputes?

During inspections, officers will be monitoring the cooperative for compliance with chapter 69.51A RCW (medical marijuana laws) and rules within chapter 314-55 WAC that regulate cooperatives. Any enforcement action taken would depend on the type and severity of the violations observed. Failure to comply with medical marijuana laws may constitute a violation of chapter 69.50 RCW. Unlawful activity could result in revocation of a cooperatives registration, seizure of marijuana, and criminal penalties.

5) if law enforcement can access the data base based on suspicion , will patients be allowed access to who has requested their data base information? Will it include law enforcement?

This question should be directed to the state Department of Health. Access to the medical marijuana authorization database can only be done for reasons listed in RCW 69.51A.240. Here is a link to http://www.doh.wa.gov/…/Healthcare…/MedicalMarijuanaCannabis

Also can two patients living together each grow their 4 plants (total 8) and not be required to join the registry?

Yes. A qualifying patient not entered in the medical marijuana authorization database is allowed to grow up to four plants and possess up to six ounces of useable marijuana in his or her domicile. This possession limit is per patient (RCW 69.51A.210) (3)). If multiple qualifying patients reside in the same housing unit, no more than 15 plants may be located in that housing unit. The production and/or processing of marijuana cannot be in any portion of the house that can be readily seen or smelled from a public place or the private property of another housing unit (RCW 69.51A.260).

Also does the parent of a minor HAVE to register?

Yes, that is required in the new law, RCW 69.51A.220. Health care professionals may only authorize the medical use of marijuana for qualifying patients who are under the age of eighteen if the parent or guardian acts as the designated provider for the minor and has sole control over the minor’s marijuana. See RCW 69.51A.220 for more information on the requirements and restrictions for designated providers obtaining marijuana from a retail outlet for a minor and see RCW 69.51A.260 for more information on a designated provider growing plants on behalf of the minor they are the designated provider for.

Does the patient and provider for patients between 18- 21 HAVE to register.

Patients between the ages of 18 and 20 are not required to have a designated provider under the law. If a qualifying patient over the age of 18 or designated provider with an authorization from a health care professional has not been entered into the medical marijuana authorization database, he or she may not receive a recognition card and may only purchase at a retail outlet, whether it holds a medical marijuana endorsement or not, the amounts established in RCW 69.50.360. In addition the qualifying patient or the designated provider may grow, in his or her domicile, up to four plants for the personal medical use of the qualifying patient and possess up to six ounces of useable marijuana in his or her domicile. (RCW 69.51A.210(3)).

Can you give us a list of mandatory registry situations? I am under the impression that any household with over 4 plants would need to register, am I correct?

Yes. Your assessment is correct (RCW 69.51A.210(3)).

Also what would be the reason to deny a patient collective of up to 4 patients?

An application for a marijuana cooperative may be denied for failure to submit the required documents listed below. A marijuana cooperative’s registration may also be revoked for failing to comply with the provisions of chapters 69.51A RCW and WAC 314-55:

WAC 314-55-410 Cooperatives.

(1) A cooperative may be formed by qualifying patients and/or designated providers to share responsibility for growing and processing marijuana only for the medical use of the members of the cooperative. A cooperative must meet the following criteria:

(a) All members must be at least twenty-one years of age. The designated provider of a qualifying patient under twenty-one years of age may be a member of a cooperative on the qualifying patient’s behalf;

(b) All members must hold valid recognition cards;

(c) No more than four members are allowed in a cooperative;

(d) A member can only belong to one cooperative;

(e) A member may only grow plants in the cooperative and may not grow plants elsewhere;

(f) Members must participate in growing plants. A monetary contribution or donation is not considered assistance. Members must provide nonmonetary resources and assistance in order to participate;

(g) Members may grow up to the total amount of plants for which each member is authorized on their recognition cards. At the location, the qualifying patients or designated providers may possess the amount of usable marijuana that can be produced with the number of plants permitted, but no more than seventy-two ounces;

(h) Members may not sell, donate, or otherwise provide marijuana, marijuana concentrates, usable marijuana, or other marijuana-infused products to a person who is not a member of the cooperative;

(i) A cooperative may not be located within a one mile radius of a marijuana retailer;

(j) A cooperative must be located in the domicile of one of the members. Only one cooperative may be located per property tax parcel; and

(k) To obscure public view of the premises, outdoor marijuana production must be enclosed by a sight obscure wall or fence at least eight feet high.

(2) People who wish to form a cooperative must register the location with the WSLCB. The location registered is the only location where cooperative members may grow or process marijuana. To register a cooperative a registered member must:

(a) Submit a completed Marijuana Cooperative Registration Form;

(b) Submit copies of each member’s recognition card;

(c) Submit a deed, lease, rental agreement, or other document establishing ownership or control to the property where the cooperative is located. If the property is leased or rented, a sworn statement of the property owner granting permission to engage in a cooperative must also be submitted and must include a telephone number and address where the owner can be contacted for verification;

(d) Submit a sketch outlining where the medical marijuana is grown.

(3) WSLCB may inspect a cooperative between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. unless otherwise agreed upon by cooperative members.

(4) If a person or persons seeking to register the cooperative fails to meet the requirements of a registered cooperative as provided in this section, the WSLCB will deny the cooperative registration.

(5) If the WSLCB finds a registered cooperative violated the requirements of this section, the WSLCB will revoke the cooperative’s registration.

(6) A person may request an administrative hearing to contest a denial of registration or a revocation of a cooperative’s registration under subsections (4) and (5) of this section as provided in chapter 34.05 RCW.

I read that there is a possibility of denying a application. What are the consequences of a co-op that is already in operation? Will they face prosecution after being denied?

Per the law, a marijuana cooperative is to be registered with LCB (RCW 69.50.250(2A violation of RCW 69.50.401 is a class C felony. Penalties could include arrest, destruction of marijuana, and seizure and forfeiture of property as prescribed by RCW 69.50.505.

Do all people in the collective need to be patients, can someone who is not a patient help and be part of the collective?

Only qualifying patients or designated providers registered with the state liquor and cannabis board in association with the location may participate in growing or receive useable marijuana or marijuana-infused products grown at the cooperative. Besides qualified patients, only designated providers may help with a marijuana cooperative.

Brian E. Smith

Communications Director

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

360-664-1774

From: Tracy Sirrine [mailto:tracy.kennewick@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2016 10:37 AM

To: Smith, Brian E (LCB) <brian.smith@lcb.wa.gov>
Subject: RE: REGISTRY QUESTIONS HOME COMPLIANCE CHECKS
Show quoted text
My response to the questions that were answered as there are some differences and answers

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Tracy Sirrine” <tracy.kennewick@gmail.com>
Date: Apr 15, 2016 1:34 PM
Subject: RE: REGISTRY QUESTIONS HOME COMPLIANCE CHECKS
To: “Smith, Brian E (LCB)” <brian.smith@lcb.wa.gov>
Show quoted text

Information about medical cannabis and the law in Washington.
WWW.DOH.WA.GOV|BY WASHINGTON STATE DEPT. OF HEALTH
163 people reached

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  8. I recently received my patient medical prescription. my question is as a single patient with authorization to grow up to 15 plants, if I join the medical marijuana database , does give the WSLCB authorization to come to my dwelling and inspect. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Yes if you join the data base the LCB has the right to schedule an appointment to inspect your garden and ask you questions about your storing and harvest.
      The will call to schedule your appointment do not let anyone in without a warrant otherwise. Please read the Collective Garden response from the LCB in this blog site.

      Reply

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