The NORML Women of Washington are organizing a protest in Seattle this Thursday, June 30, that aims to bring attention to the unfortunate criminalization of Washington’s robust, 18-year-old medical cannabis industry.
Starting Friday, July 1, medical cannabis patients and caregivers who have not assimilated into Washington state’s hyperregulated and exclusive recreational marijuana marketplace will become criminal, as per the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (SB 5052) passed by Washington lawmakers and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee last summer. For months, long-established dispensaries and community caregivers have been closing up shop — or going underground to the “informal” market — in preparation for the dramatic market shift, leaving many patients without adequate access to their medicine.
“While moving to a regulated system is understandably an imperfect journey, this date is significant because it will make people criminals that Washingtonians have voted to protect and have overwhelmingly supported for nearly two decades,” write the protest organizers on the event’s Facebook page. “This is NOT an anti-502 protest. We support the legalization of adult use marijuana and want to send a message to our representatives and regulators that patients and their caregivers need to be protected during this revolutionary process.”
The protest is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and protesters will be gathering on sidewalks at the corner of 6th Ave. and Union Street in Downtown Seattle — one of the busiest places in the city, during some of its busiest hours.