Initiative 692 was approved by 59% of voters on November 3, 1998. Enacted the same day, the law permits individuals with terminal illnesses and persons with specific chronic diseases to use and possess cannabis once they’ve received appropriate documentation from their physicians. The documentation must state that the patient is suffering from a debilitating condition, and that the “potential benefits of the medicinal use of marijuana would likely outweigh the risks.”
Qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, seizure and spasm disorders, intractable pain, glaucoma and other conditions approved by the Washington Board of Health. Under SB6032, Crohn’s disease, Hepatitis C, and diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms and/or spasticity were added to the list of qualifying conditions in the event standard treatments or medications fail to adequately relieve these symptoms.
The law further protects their physicians and primary caregivers against criminal prosecution and/or penalizing administrative actions by the state of Washington. The law only gives an affirmative defense in trial, not protection from arrest.
Initiative 692 provides an affirmative defense for those cultivating the legally allowed amount of a 60 day supply. Senate Bill 6032 required the Department of Health to quantify what a 60 day supply means. Effective November 2, 2008, it was determined that a 60 day supply consists of up to 15 cannabis plants and/or up to 24 ounces of cannabis. Patients able to prove medical necessity for greater amounts than those set by the Department of Health would still be protected.
Senate Bill 5798 allows additional medical professionals to participate in the recommending of cannabis including naturopaths, physician’s assistants, osteopathic physicians, osteopathic physician’s assistants, and advanced registered nurse practitioners.
Designated providers must be at least 18 years old, and a patient must submit his or her caregiver designation in writing to the Department of Health. Designated providers are prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for their patient and may only care for one patient at a time.
There is no reciprocity for out of state patients or caregivers.