Medical Professionals Sign-on to Dr. Carter's Letter



As you are likely aware, the Washington State Legislature is poised to make sweeping changes to RCW 69.51a, also known as the Medical Use of Cannabis Act. Currently, Second Substitute Senate Bill 5052 (2SSB 5052) appears to be the most likely legislation to pass. 

Unfortunately, 2SSB 5052 would significantly restrict the existing doctor-patient relationship in the following ways:

  • Redefines “terminal or debilitating medical condition” to require an objective assessment and significant interference in “activities of daily living”
  • Prohibits Health Care Professionals from providing care outside their practice’s permanent physical location, including hospitals, nursing and hospice facilities.
  • Requires Health Care Professionals to enter patients and designated providers into an authorization database and issue accompanying photo ID’s
  • Reduces current 60-day supply from 24 oz. to a maximum of 16 oz. and requires Health Care Professionals to specify need to retain ability to grow 15 plants
  • Requires Health Care Professionals to discuss “how to use marijuana and types of products the qualifying patient should seek from a retail outlet”
  • Requires Health Care Professionals to have a documented relationship with the patient as a “principal care provider or specialist”
  • Requires Health Care Professionals to document in a patient’s medical record other treatment methods that do not involve the use of marijuana
  • Requires Health Care Professionals to consult with other physicians involved in the treatment of underage patients before legally recommending cannabis
  • Requires Health Care Professionals who issue more than 30 recommendations each month to report the number of authorizations issued and allow an “appropriate disciplining authority” to inspect patient records

These drastic changes to the standard of care should be alarming to any medical professional, but especially those who support the use of cannabis as a treatment for terminal and debilitating diseases. Dr. Greg Carter, Medical Director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute and Clinical Faculty at the UW School of Medicine said the following in a letter directed to Washington State legislators and policy makers:

“I am very concerned that pending legislation concerning medical cannabis, specifically SB 5052, will in fact be the end of Doctor authorized medical cannabis in Washington State. If the Legislature and the Administration want to end medical cannabis to attempt to gain revenue from the State’s recreational experiment, they should admit that is the goal. If not, then significant and sweeping changes would have to be made to SB 5052 if Doctors and other health care professionals will be able to continue to participate.

Since cannabis remains a schedule one drug, illegal for any purpose under federal law, Doctors are severely constrained and restricted in what they can do under the law. The Conant case offers Doctors protection from federal repercussions and protection from criminal charges if its dictates are followed. SB 5052 requires Doctors to violate the dictates of Conant and would expose Doctors and other health care professionals to criminal charges and to licensing violations and to a host of other consequences stemming from the act’s setup. Simply stated, Doctors and other health care professionals cannot perform what the act requires.”

Will you please consider signing on to Dr. Carter’s Letter to the Legislature? You can view his letter in its entirety here. We've made it easy for you to add your signature – all you have to do is enter the requested information below!

NOTE: This particular petition is for Health Care Professionals only. If you are a patient, designated provider, business owner or concerned citizen who wants to show your support for medical cannabis, please sign on to our broader petition to the Legislature, which is specifically designed for everyone to take part, even individuals who live out of state!

EVERY signature counts, so please circulate both of these petitions widely! Thank you for doing your part to help preserve safe, reliable access to affordable medical cannabis in Washington! 

*Please only sign this if you are a medical professional.

Will you sign?