Washington Bill To Increase Access To Medical Marijuana Still Alive


Photo: Ron Crumpton

​​A bill which would increase safe access to medical marijuana by qualifying patients is still alive in the Washington Legislature.

SB 5798 would extend prescriptive authority to legally recommend medical marijuana to naturopathic doctors, physicians’ assistants, and nurse practitioners. All of these positions can write prescriptions under federal law, and should also have the authority to authorize the medical use of marijuana.
The bill passed the House Health Care and Wellness Committee on a vote of 8-4-1. It now moves to the House Rules Committee, chaired by the powerful Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House.
Chopp has been notoriously hostile towards medical marijuana in the past few years, despite the fact that he represents what is considered one of the most politically liberal districts in the state.

Photo: WA Legislature
Speaker of the House Frank Chopp: Give his office a call and tell him to support patients, already

​Chopp’s office is so far refusing to answer either of these two questions:
1. Does Speaker Chopp support SB 5798, which would increase safe access to medical marijuana by qualifying patients?
2. Will Speaker Chopp, chair of the Rules Committee, support passing SB 5798 from the Rules Committee?
If you are a resident of Washington, please make a call to Rep. Frank Chopp’s office today:
Speaker of the House Frank Chopp
(360) 7876-7920
Ask Speaker Chopp to support medical marijuana patients and pass SB 5798 out of committee.
It’s also important to send Speaker Chopp an email at [email protected] with the following verbiage:

Speaker Chopp:

Please pull SB 5798 out of the Rules Committee to the House floor for a vote.

[Your name and Washington address]

“At this point, our bill is pretty much in the hands of this single powerful Democratic legislator,” said Ben Livingston of the patient advocacy group Cannabis Defense Coalition (CDC), based in Seattle. “Win or lose, the outcome will be determined by Frank Chopp.”
According to Livingston, SB 5798 would be a godsend to patients in rural areas of Washington.
“In less populous areas of Washington State, doctors are few and far between, and finding a doctor with the courage to recommend medical marijuana is difficult,” Livingston said.
“Many, perhaps most, qualifying medical marijuana patients must travel to urban centers and pay $200 to see a doctor willing to authorize their medical use of marijuana,” Livingston said.
“This bill would provide patients with terminal or debilitating medical conditions greater acess to the protections afforded them by I-692.”