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Chronic Pain Relief

What’s the best way to regulate medical marijuana usage?

In 1998, both Oregon and Washington passed legislation legalizing possession of marijuana for medical purposes. At present, 11 other states permit sufferers of certain illnesses to seek relief with cannabis. Medical marijuana patients can technically still be arrested under federal law for lighting up, but, as far as state law enforcement is concerned, they’re in the green.

Here in the Northwest, as elsewhere, the details surrounding medical marijuana law are a bit hazy. Some Oregon patients’ rights advocates complain that a few users are abusing the program and giving it a bad name. In Washington, law enforcement agents have encountered difficulty in determining how much constitutes “60 days’ worth” of cannabis, the legal limit of possession for patients. Patients — and their advocates — aren’t too pleased about the ambiguity, either.

This Monday, legislators will be holding a meeting in Tumwater, Washington to discuss where to place the cap for “60 days’” use. Washington’s Department of Health has proposed an initial draft rule that would allow patients to keep 24 ounces, 6 plants, and 18 seedlings of marijuana ? the same amount that Oregon settled on in 2005.

How should a state — or federal — government determine how much weed is enough (or too much) for a patient? What can Washington learn from Oregon’s example? Are you a resident of Oregon or Washington who uses marijuana for medical purposes? Have you been involved in the law enforcement side of medical marijuana?


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