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January 24, 2011

Medical marijuana is a hot topic in The Evergreen State. A burning issue, if you will. Legislators are working this session to firm up the medical marijuana system and to eliminate hazy areas in the law. Voters legalized medical marijuana in 1998 through a ballot initiative, and currently patients who get a doctor’s referral are allowed to possess 15 growing plants and up to 24 ounces of pot.


Seattle Democratic State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells drew hundreds of spectators to Olympia last week when she announced SB 5073, meant to clarify medical marijuana in Washington. The bill would retain the legal limits on marijuana possession in the state, but would require the Department of Agriculture to regulate the growing of medical marijuana and the Department of Health to license medical marijuana dispensaries.


With the law being debated by legislators, and a medical marijuana clinic held in Wenatchee over the weekend, KOHO news wanted to get a law enforcement take on so-called “green card” holders.


Detective Jeff Dilks has seen his fair share of drugs and dealers over the years as a member of the Columbia River Drug Task Force. He said the medical marijuana law itself is pretty clear on how much marijuana patients can possess.


But Dilks said he has encountered plenty of so-called patients who, in his opinion, barely meet the intention of the statute.


       Detective Dilks said that the medical marijuana system has been abused in Wenatchee as a cover both for recreational users and dealers selling their supply. But Dilks added that this is certainly not always the case with medical marijuana prescriptions, and he is not against the concept as a whole.


       KOHO’s Isaac Kaplan-Woolner spoke with Detective Dilks with the Columbia River Drug Task Force to get a take on weak points in the medical marijuana system from a law enforcement perspective.



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