The Washington Senate Friday passed a bill that adds physician assistants, nurse practitioners and naturopaths as health care professionals who can authorize medical marijuana. Physicians can already authorize cannabis use for medical purposes in Washington.
Senate Bill 5798 passed by a convincing vote of 37-11, and now goes to the Washington House of Representatives for consideration, reports Michelle Dupler at the Tri City Herald.
|State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles introduced SB 5719, which expands the number of healthcare professionals who can authorize medical marijuana|
The bill was introduced was Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle) during the 2009 legislative session and was passed by the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, but didn’t make it to a full vote by the Senate.
Supporters testified at a committee hearing in February 2009 that expanding the number of health care providers who can authorize medical marijuana use will help patients who may only have access to a nurse practitioner.
Current Washington law requires that medical marijuana documentation be signed by a doctor.
Voting Yea on SB 5798 were Senators Becker, Berkey, Brandland, Brown, Carrell, Delvin, Eide, Fairley, Franklin, Fraser, Gordon, Hatfield, Hewitt, Hobbs, Jacobsen, Kastama, Kauffman, Keiser, Kilmer, King, Kline, Kohl-Welles, Marr, McAuliffe, McCaslin, McDermott, Murray, Oemig, Parlette, Pflug, Prentice, Pridemore, Ranker, Regala, Rockefeller, Shin, and Tom, according to the Cannabis Defense Coalition (CDC).
Voting Nay were Senators Benton, Hargrove, Haugen, Honeyford, Morton, Roach, Schoesler, Sheldon, Stevens, Swecker, and Zarelli, according to CDC.
Senator Holmquist was excused from voting.
Another bill, introduced by Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland), would have further restricted when those charged with cannabis offenses can use medical marijuana as a defense.
Thankfully, it never received a public hearing and appears to be dead for the 2010 session, the Tri City Herald reports.