It is not legal to possess marijuana in Washington (under both State and Federal Law). However, Washington residents who have a qualifiying medical condition, and their designated caregivers, may recieve approval from a Physician or Osteopathy for the use medical marijuana. This entitles this individual to an affirmative defense for some marijuana-related charges brought under Washington law.
What is an affirmative defense?
An affirmative defenses operates to excuse otherwise criminal conduct. A simple example is self-defense, where an indivudal may be excused from assualting someone if the act was legally justified. The burden is on the defendant to show evidence that he or she is entitlted to the defense.
Can I buy, sell or distriubte marijuana in Washington?
No. Vaild documentation only allows the holder to possess or grow a "60-day supply" marijuana (currently defined as 24 ounces and 15 plants). Public use and public dispaly is also prohibited.
How do I obtain a medical marijuana "prescription"?
You must be a resident of Washington and diagnosed by a Physician or Oestopath (licensed in Washington under RCW 18.71 or 18.57) to have one of the "terminal or debilitating medical condition" listed in the statute to be a qualifying patient. If you meet all of the criteria ountlined in the statute your Physician can provide you with the proper documents.
How do I become a designated provider?
A designated provider must be at least 18 years old and must be designated in writing by the qualifying patient. A designated provider can only be a provider for one patient at any one time.
What else do I need to know?
A valid prescrition does not legalize possession or give you an affirmative defense under federal law. (Current guidlines for federal prosecutors direct them to take appropriate medical use into consideration when deciding whether to charge marijuana-related offenses.)
A valid Washington prescription not allow for possession in other states.
A valid prescription in other states will not be recognized in Washington.