Rivers’ medical-marijuana bill clears Senate budget committee

The medical-marijuana market in Washington is a step closer to being in line with federal standards after the Senate Ways and Means Committee approved Sen. Ann Rivers’ measure Thursday.

Voters authorized the medical use of cannabis in 1998 with few sideboards; however, the approval of Initiative 502 in 2013 muddied the waters, according to Rivers, noting the U.S. Justice Department issued not one but eight standards to protect against the potential risks of an unregulated Schedule I controlled substance such as marijuana.

“The bill originated out of a concern for patient safety,” said Rivers, R-La Center. “I wanted to get the conversation started last year, but now it’s time to reconcile the two initiatives for medical and recreational cannabis use – especially before the recreational-marijuana retail stores open up, which could be as early as June in Clark County.

“There are several different medical-marijuana bills out there, but my measure meets the true spirit of the medical-marijuana initiative while putting proper parameters and protections in place. It’s also more patient-focused than even the recommendations made by the state Liquor Control Board.”

Senate Bill 5887 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Health Care Committee at 10 a.m. Tuesday.