On June 28, 2016, the Washington State Department of Health announced that it may miss the operational deadline for launching the state’s medical marijuana authorization database, a voluntary registration system for medical marijuana patients, due to “software challenges.”
The permanent rules filed by the DOH on May 17 indicated that patients with a valid authorization form could join the database starting on July 1, enabling them to register for medical marijuana recognition cards as a means of accessing benefits only available to cardholders, including tax-free purchases at medically-endorsed dispensaries and increased purchase limits at licensed recreational dispensaries, among others.
The Cannabis Patient Protection Act, the integration of the unregulated medical marijuana market into the regulated recreational market, goes into effect on July 1 and the database’s launch was intended to coincide with it.
According to the DOH, “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.”
If the DOH is unable to make the deadline, it will issue an update before July 1.