How Washington State’s New Medical Marijuana Bill May Affect You

Published on February 17, 2015 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Are you a Washington state medical marijuana patient? Are you curious how the recent Senate bill may affect your rights as a patient? Well, we were, too!

Here’s the rundown on Washington’s Senate Bill 5052, proposed and sponsored by Senator Ann Rivers, which was passed by the Senate last week but still needs to be considered by the House before taking effect.

This bill was a more restrictive version of a bill proposed by Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles called the “Comprehensive Marijuana Reform Act,” which would have allowed recreational home cultivation of six plants per adult consumer, but the act was struck down during the same legislative session.

Cultivation rights:

  • Previously: 15 plants per medical patient
  • Under SB 5052: 6 plants per medical patient (unless recommended more by a qualifying physician)

Possession limits:

  • Previously: 24 ounces of dried cannabis flower, no specifications for other cannabis products
  • Under SB 5052: 3 ounces of flower, 48 ounces of cannabis-infused edibles, 21 ounces of liquid, 21 grams of concentrate (or exactly three times the limit allowed for recreational consumers)

Who’s running the show?

  • Previously: The Washington State Liquor Control Board (retail), no one (medical)
  • Under SB 5052: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (renamed to combine medical and retail)

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Collective gardens?

  • Previously: Collective gardens service patients directly with no limit on the number of plants
  • Under SB 5052: Collective gardens may contain no more than 45 plants (or 15 plants per patient) before requiring a business license to operate

Number of licenses available:

  • Previously: 334 licenses for retail locations only
  • Under SB 5052: expanded number of licenses for both medical and retail (number unspecified) awarded on a merit-based system for state law-abiding, sales tax-paying dispensary operators


  • Previously: Retail is taxed at three tiers for 25% each – producers, manufacturers, retailers (no taxing of medical)
  • Under SB 5052: Retail tax will continue to be a three-tiered 25%, but the bill contains a tax exemption for specific medical marijuana products, as well as to all qualifying patients.

This bill is still in the baby steps phase, so we’re anticipating more changes and tweaks before a final vote, but one way or another, change is coming, so prepare yourselves, Washington medical marijuana patients!

And, as always, #JustSayKnow

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Lisa Rough
Lisa Rough
Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.
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