Pot Patient Database Still Not Ready on Eve of Full Regulation, DOH Warns

Patients may lose medical access for an indeterminate amount of time.

The state Dept. of Health says it still hasn’t gotten its database of voluntarily registered medical marijuana patients up and running, despite today being the last day on which unlicensed MMJ dispensaries are officially allowed to stay open. Consequently, MMJ patients may lose access to certain types of their medicine for an indeterminate window of time.

From the DOH press release (actually, this is pretty much the whole thing):

“OLYMPIA—We have made significant progress over the past few days; however, there are a few challenges we have to overcome before the system goes live. Our goal is to have the medical marijuana database operational on July 1 [Friday] so patients can benefit under the new medical marijuana law. Patient safety is a priority, and we want to ensure the database is properly working before it is available statewide.”

In an earlier press release sent out Tuesday DOH had said, “We are currently experiencing some software challenges with the database, and it may not be ready by July 1…Patients and providers can still purchase marijuana from authorized retail stores; however, they can’t take advantage of the benefits until the database is operational…The department is committed to ensuring patient safety, and it will continue to work on having the database ready as soon as possible.”

In other words, tomorrow MMJ patients will no longer be allowed to buy their medicine from unregulated, low-cost dispensaries, which state authorities are requiring to close. Instead, patients have to use state licensed store, where they’re supposed to get access to stronger types of cannabis at a lower price in higher quantities, compared to normal pot buyers. But as long as the DOH patient database, on which MMJ patients can voluntarily register in order to get the benefits just described, isn’t ready, MMJ patients have to buy the same pot at the same prices and amounts as the rest of us.

For some patients, this will be an inconvenience. For others, it could be a nightmare.

As our cover story this week describes, its this kind of bureaucratic bungle is precisely what MMJ advocates warned would happen if gray market MMJ dispensaries were folded into the highly regulated recreational market that voters approved in 2012.

More in News & Comment

Protestors gather at SeaTac’s Families Belong Together rally. Photo by Alex Garland
Seattle’s Separated Children

A local non-profit houses several immigrant youths who were separated from their parents at the border. But for how long?

Katrina Johnson, Charleena Lyles’ cousin, speaks at a press conference for De-Escalate Washington’s I-940 on July 6, 2017. Photo by Sara Bernard
Communities of Color Respond to Police Chief Best’s Nomination

Although its a mixed bag for some, the families affected by police shootings say she’s the best one for the job.

While King County Metro has been testing out several trial electric buses since since 2016, the agency aims to have a fully electric bus fleet by 2040. Photo by SounderBruce/Flickr
King County Rolls on With Its Electric Bus Fleet Plans

With an overhaul set by 2040, a new report shows the economic and health benefits of going electric.

Nikkita Oliver speaks at a July 17 No New Youth Jail press conference in front of the construction site of the King County Youth Detention Center. Photo by Josh Kelety
King County Youth Detention Center Moves Forward Despite Opposition

As community criticism of the project mounts, King County tries to take a middle road.

Trouble in Tacoma

A cannabis producer has been shut down for “numerous and substantial violations.”

Between Seattle’s $15 minimum wage and the new no-poach cause agreement, Washington has been leading the nation in advancing fast food workers’ rights. Photo by Fibonacci Blue/Flickr
Washington AG’s Deal Grants Mobility to Fast Food Workers Nationwide

Seven fast food chains have agreed to end no-poaching policies that economists say cause wage stagnation.

The Carlton Complex wildfire burned in north-central Washington state in 2014. Photo by Jason Kriess/Wikimedia Commons
King County Burn Ban Starts This Weekend

Other counties across the state have already enacted similar restrictions.

Numerous complaints against King County Sheriff’s deputies for issues like excessive force and improper search and seizure weren’t investigated due to internal misclassification, a new report says. Photo by Oran Viriyincy/Flickr
Report Finds Complaints Against King County Sheriff’s Deputies Weren’t Investigated

An outside review says that allegations of excessive force and racially-biased policing weren’t pursued.

Most Read