Patient advocates criticize the limit as insufficient saying that sick people are at risk at going to jail.
"We looked at what appears to make sense for most of the patients in the state," said department spokesman Donn Moyer. "There will be some who don't need as much, and there may be some who need more."
Oregon has limits set at 24 ounces, 6 mature plants and 18 immature plants. Some California counties allow more marijuana but most of the states that allow medical marijuana have much lower limits. In some cases those states only allow one or two ounces.
Washington decided not to use the mature-immature plant distinction because they don't want to have police deciding what they think a mature plant is.
Douglas Hiatt, a Seattle attorney who represents patients, noted that only female marijuna plants are usable as medicine. When growing from seed half of the plants will be male. That means to have 15 usable plants a person has to plant 30 which is in violation of the law.
The 24-ounce limit is fine for those who smoke marijuana for medical purposes but those who eat it need more notes Hiatt.
is quoted at Seattle PI as saying:
"We all know this is a political decision that doesn't have anything to do with the reality of patients' lives."
The original plan for the Health Department in Washington was to set the limit at 35 ounces and 100 square feet of plant canopy. Governor Chris Gregoire said those numbers were to high. He urged the department to get more input for the final numbers from law enforcement and doctors.
The Health Department did so and the numbers were cut as a result. Law enforcement worried that drug dealers would use the higher limits to hide growing operations.