Patients could get medical marijuana delivered to their door

The state is considering options for a pot-delivery system that can be monitored.

OLYMPIA — Washington is looking at allowing medical marijuana patients to place an order and get cannabis delivered to their home.

The state Liquor and Cannabis Board is conducting a study on how to set up and operate a delivery system with an eye to ensuring pot doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands.

Lawmakers requested the analysis in the supplemental state budget approved last month. They want a report with recommendations by Dec. 1.

“It is a way to eliminate one of the barriers between people who need this for their medical condition and their ability to get it,” said Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland, who had authored a separate bill for a study.

Ever since Washington voters legalized marijuana in 2012, people have been asking for home delivery, said Brian Smith, a spokesman for the Liquor and Cannabis Board.

It’s not garnered a lot of attention as the state grew its recreational marijuana industry then merged it with the previously unregulated medical marijuana market. Rather, the focal point has been making sure the growing, processing and sale of cannabis is carried out in line with federal guidelines aimed at curbing diversion of product into the black market and away from juveniles.

Home delivery brings a new set of challenges, Smith said.

“It is very difficult to monitor a transaction at someone’s home as compared to a licensed business that we have access to,” he said.

Lawmakers want the agency to study how to develop and implement a system of delivering medical marijuana to qualified patients from properly licensed retailers.

Today, there are 290 retailers in Washington with a state-issued endorsement to sell medical marijuana products. There are about 18,000 active patients, according to the state Department of Health.

Among issues the study must consider are how to verify those receiving the product are registered in the state’s medical marijuana authorization database and what payment methods would be allowed.

With many transactions conducted with cash, the study must look at how to ensure “safe and secure” transporting of products, including delivery vehicle requirements, and how deliveries by retailers operating out of Indian country will be handled.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is to consult with the health department, industry representatives, law enforcement and local government officials on the report. A public hearing will likely be held to garner input from patients and other interested parties, Smith said.

Kristi Weeks, director of government relations for the Department of Health, said the agency does not oppose a delivery system but “are concerned about diversion to nonpatients or youth.”

“We would want to make certain it is very secured so the product is going only to authorized patients,” she said. “There are ways to ensure to a greater degree that it is going to only the appropriate persons.”

Two cannabis industry groups see the benefit for medical patients. But representatives said they want to be sure those making deliveries are protected from harm and, like the state, don’t want product diverted to non-patients or those under the age of 21.

“We do have a lot of questions,” said Aaron Pickus, spokesperson for the Washington CannaBusiness Association. “Studying this in a thoughtful way is a good next step.”

Lara Kaminsky, executive director of The Cannabis Alliance, said in an email the group is concerned with limited patient access in rural regions with bans or moratoriums in place. There also are patients who may live near a store but because of their mobility challenges cannot easily get there, she noted.

“We would like to see those that have turned to cannabis as a last resort, or who use it in lieu of dangerous opiates, have access to the medicine that helps them,” she wrote.

She also said providing deliveries must be economically viable so that “whomever is granted the ability to provide this service can make it a profitable endeavor” otherwise the program will fail.

Owners of retail stores reached by The Daily Herald said they support home delivery for their patients. Some also are concerned the Liquor and Cannabis Board lacks personnel to adequately enforce existing regulations and would be unable to properly monitor a new home delivery system.

Home delivery is legal in Oregon, California and Nevada.

Oregon, which was the first state to do so, allows a marijuana retailer to make deliveries to any person 21 years and older in their residence, regardless if it is for medical or recreational use. The law defines residence as “a dwelling such as a house or apartment but does not include a dormitory, hotel, motel, bed and breakfast or similar commercial business.”

Though California allows home delivery services, state law also permits local governments to ban them within their jurisdiction if they choose.

In Washington. Kloba started the conversation in January when she put forth a bill on the subject.

But the timing wasn’t great as days earlier U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he was rescinding directives from the Obama Administration that had discouraged enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that had made cannabis legal to grow and sell.

“It threw a big chill into the whole industry and it made our Liquor and Cannabis Board a little more cautious,” Kloba said.

They weren’t opposed, she recalled, but agency officials told her they needed time to figure out how to set it up. Hence the study.

“I felt that was reasonable,” Kloba said. “I do think we will get to a point in the 2019 session that we will bring forward a bill the LCB is comfortable with. Whether my colleagues are comfortable with it is another thing.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Everett
Everett courthouse garage briefly closed for ‘suspicious package’ report

A man drove his car into the Snohomish County Courthouse garage and reported he believed the package was in his car.

High-capacity magazines at The Freedom Shoppe gun store, which was holding a sale in anticipation of new gun control measures, in New Milford, Conn., April 2, 2013. The store is liquidating their stock of weapons expected to be banned. Months after the massacre of 26 people at a school in Newtown, Conn., legislative leaders in the state on Monday announced what they called the most far-reaching gun-legislation package in the country. (Wendy Carlson/The New York Times)
WA high court leaves ban in place for now on high-capacity ammo magazines

Monday’s decision will keep the law in effect until the court hears arguments, possibly this fall, on the bill sponsored by an Edmonds senator.

Firefighters respond to a 911 call Tuesday morning in Mill Creek. (Photo provided by South County Fire)
Mill Creek house fire displaces 3

Firefighters responded to a house fire in the 14100 block of 30th Avenue SE early Tuesday morning. No one was injured.

Alyvia Nguyen, 8, climbs on leaf shaped steps at the new Corcoran Memorial Park playground on Friday, July 12, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New Bothell-area park ‘could not be a more fitting dedication’

In 2019, Jim Corcoran donated $1.5 million worth of land to become a public park. He died before he could see it completed.

Cars line up for the Edmonds ferry in Edmonds, Washington on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Ferry line jumpers face a $145 fine — and scorn from other drivers

Law enforcement is on the lookout for line cutters. It’s a “hot-button issue that can lead to something worse.”

Mother charged in Stanwood toddler’s fentanyl overdose death

Morgan Bassett woke up in January 2022 and found her daughter wasn’t breathing. Last week, she was charged with manslaughter.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.