One of the aspects of Washington's medical marijuana law that raises complications with law enforcement is the notion of caregivers. Because some of the qualified patients who need medical marijuana the most are unable to cultivate it for their own use, they need people who can do it for them. By naming someone else as their caregiver, a qualified patient gives them the responsibility to provide him or her with the medical marijuana that they so desperately need, and also gives that person the right to cultivate and possess more marijuana than would normally be allowed, even under Washington's new law that allows for recreational use.
Requirements of Being a Caregiver
Not everyone can be a caregiver, also known as a designated provider, under Washington's medical marijuana law.
In order to be a caregiver, you need to be over 18 years old, but also need to be designated as a caregiver by a qualified patient. Additionally, this designation needs to be in writing, to show that the qualified patient has officially made you his or her caregiver. Authorization forms that designate someone as a caregiver to a qualified patient are available online.
Unfortunately, caregivers can only help one qualified patient in any 15-day period. This can make it difficult for families who have more than one person who needs help using medical marijuana, and may require them to find a caregiver outside of their immediate household.
While the primary responsibility of a caregiver is to grow marijuana plants for the person who needs them, and help that person get the care that they need, caregivers also have other legal responsibilities, as well.
One of the biggest responsibilities that caregivers have to comply with is the fact that they cannot use any of the marijuana that they grow or prepare for the qualified patient that they are helping. Getting caught using the marijuana grown for someone else's medicinal purposes can lead to drug charges and other legal trouble.
Being designated as a caregiver also provides someone with benefits that allow them to do more than they otherwise would be allowed to do, under Washington's drug laws. While growing marijuana plants is still illegal in Washington, caregivers to qualified medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow up to 15 plants. They can also possess more than the typical amount of marijuana allowed under law – up to 24 ounces. Both of these amounts double, if the caregiver is also a qualified patient, as well.
Drug Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
Even though these additional rights provided by the medical marijuana law are necessary for the well being of many people dealing with severe medical conditions, they also raise confusion among law enforcement. This can lead to an arrest and a criminal charge for drug possession that you do not deserve. If this has happened to you or someone you know, contact the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.