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

Maru Mora Villalpando stands outside of the Seattle Immigration Court after her first deportation hearing on March 15, 2018. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Anti-ICE Organizer Stands Defiant at Her Own Deportation Hearing

Hundreds gathered in support of Maru Mora-Villalpando outside of Seattle Immigration Court.

Suburban and Rural Students Join the Call for Gun Control

What the National School Walkout looked like outside of Seattle.

Garfield High School students stand in silence to protest gun violence. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Seattle Students Take Part in the National School Walkout

Garfield High School students pay tribute to the Parkland victims by rallying for gun control.

Issaquah will not be housing a supervised consumption site like the facilities found in Vancouver, B.C. Photo by Nicole Jennings
Reproductive rights marchers during the 2017 Seattle Pride Parade. Photo by Bobby Arispe Jr./Flickr
Seattle Abortion Providers Weigh in on Reproductive Parity Act

The newly passed state legislation will cover abortion services for private insurance holders.

A pro-immigrant sign at the 
                                2018 Women’s March in Seattle. 
Photo by David Lee/Flickr
Can Immigration Issues Be Fixed at the County Level?

King County establishes new commission to support immigrant and refugee communities.

Photo by Taylor McAvoy
No Longer Silent: Sexual Assault Survivors Push Legislative Change

Seeking systematic reforms, victims spoke up this legislative session.

Photo by Nicolas Vigier/Flickr
Legislators Come to Agreement on Deadly Force Reform

An agreement between lawmakers, activists, and police alters and passes the I-940 ballot initiative.

Namasgay participants gather at a local meetup. Photo courtesy of Frank Macri
Making a Home for Spiritually-Minded LGBTQ Folks

Namasgay hosts local events for queer people seeking greater self-actualization.

Most Read