This year (2024), the legislature passed HB 1453, which grants a tax exemption for medical cannabis patients who are registered in the Department of Health (DOH) Medical Cannabis Registry. Due to this there might be an increase in prospective patients reaching out to healthcare providers (HCPs) who are permitted to authorize the medical use of cannabis. It is important to be aware of the laws a provider must follow to legally authorize a medical cannabis patient.

A provider must:

  • Conduct an in-person physical exam to evaluate the patient for medical use of cannabis. Virtual or tele-health appointments for an initial authorization are not allowed.
  • Document in the patient’s record:
    • An established provider-patient relationship, as a principal care provider or specialist for their condition.
    • The patient’s terminal or debilitating medical condition that may benefit from the use of medical cannabis.
    • That the patient was provided information about other treatment options.
    • That the patient attempted other measures or treatments that do not involve the use of medical cannabis.
  • Complete the DOH Medical Cannabis Authorization Form using the Medical Cannabis Authorization Form Guidelines (PDF)
  • Renew the authorization upon completion of an in-person physical examination; unless the provider determines and documents in the patient record that follow-up exams would likely result in severe hardship because of the qualifying patient’s physical or emotional condition. In this case, follow-up exams for authorization renewal may occur through the appropriate use of telemedicine technology.

Complete laws on HCP requirements can be found in RCW 69.51A.030

Additional Resources:

The governing boards and commission developed Medical Cannabis Authorization Practice Guidelines (PDF) that provide guidance on these laws and on best practices.

This information came directly from a bulletin created by the Department of Health