Washington Medical Marijuana Bill Dead for Now


In my column two weeks ago, I noted that Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire had bowed to federal threats by vetoing legislation that would have clarified the rules for supplying medical marijuana in that state. Today Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle), the bill's chief sponsor, said she has run out of time to salvage it in the current legislative session:

My efforts to make improvements to existing law were motivated by the need to provide qualifying patients with protection from arrest and prosecution and access to a safe, secure and reliable source of the medicine they are legally entitled to use and that has been recommended to them by their licensed health care provider. I also sought to increase public safety and provide a bright line for law enforcement in determining those who are authorized patients, regulated growers and dispensers.

Despite having bipartisan support, we were unable to achieve these objectives. By far, this represents the greatest disappointment of my legislative career….

Around the time the bill passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reinforced its authority to prosecute those involved with commercial dispensaries. As a result, Governor Gregoire vetoed the most substantive parts of SB 5073 out of concern that state employees involved in regulating medical marijuana would be at risk of federal arrest and prosecution….

While the governor did encourage the Legislature to follow-up with a special session bill, it is apparent there is insufficient time to pass a bill addressing these problems…

While it is clear this issue has stalled for now, we cannot continue to ignore this issue—it simply will not solve itself. It is clear that the needs of patients and local jurisdictions remain unresolved and will necessitate further legislative efforts.

The Tacoma New Tribune reports that provisions Gregoire allowed to become law include "authorization for collective marijuana gardens" and "some vague references to dispensaries." The Justice Department, which is actively discouraging states from licensing and regulating dispensaries, wants to keep medical marijuana laws vague, so it can claim it is targeting operations that are not "in clear and unambiguous compliance with state law." Just in case, it also says that, contrary to multiple assurances from President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, complying with state law offers no protection from federal prosecution.

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  1. I think it is the law that the drug czar must oppose any discussion of decreasing the penalties in marijuana laws.

  2. Hope. Change.

  3. I would like to know who are the mother fuckers of my generation (I am mid 50s), who are supposedly running this country now, who are still fighting this stupid fucking drug war. I would like to take every one of them and beat the living crap out of them.

    1. standing by with CPR device

      1. Thanks. We old bastards need all kinds of devices, and pills, just to get along.

      2. standing by to prevent EMT from administering CPR

        1. Anyone got a match?

          1. Sir, has it been more than 4 hours since you took that pill? We will need Dr. Bobbit to examine you

    2. people keep voting these statist asswipes in. obama literally LAUGHED at the idea of mj decriminalization when asked.

      1. I think he was laughing at the suckers who voted for him.


        1. in retrospect, i think you are correct.

          he couldn't even keep his promise about stopping the raids.

          and ironically, it was log cabin repubs, not him that spearheaded the repeal of DADT

          Obama: the hopey changey unitary executive

    3. What I'm wondering the most lately is _why_ there is such a disparity between state and federal marijuana policy. A substancial number of states (sixteen) have medical marijuana, but federal policy is still 100% against it, and we don't see much debate in Congress.

      Is it the DEA? Are they scared for their jobs and applying a pressure which can't be seen on state capitols but can be seen in DC?

      1. it's the CONGRESS. they, and ONLY they can remove marijuana from its position as a Schedule I drug.

        they were also the ones who put it there in the first place.

        opinions in the DEA are mixed. i personally know DEA agents who think MJ should be decrim'd. they don't make the law, though

        congress does. they refuse to remove it from drug schedules, or even lower it from schedule I

        the fact that it IS schedule I by definition means that it has no legitimate medical use as far as the feds are concerned

        if they lowered it to schedule II they would be admitting it has a legitimate medical use

        they refuse to do so

      2. What I'm wondering the most lately is _why_ there is such a disparity between state and federal marijuana policy. A substancial number of states (sixteen) have medical marijuana, but federal policy is still 100% against it, and we don't see much debate in Congress.

        Bureaucracies seek to protect themselves. Many civil servants would be put out of work by this idea, and many politicians and civil servants who have built their career by being "tough on drugs" would end up looking, just slightly like dolts and failures.


        1. this is good analysis. it's boy who cried wolf syndrome, essentially

  4. christine gregoire is a coward, and a typical statist leftwinger.

    the people of WA have spoken, but she is too cowardly to defend our support of medical mj. she is bowing to the feds, like the simpering liberal ninny she is.

    she should tell the feds "molon labe motherfuckers! try arresting me" and support the will of the people of the state of WA

    1. I've watched multiple governors (CT, WA) veto popular MJ bills and claim that their fear of the Feds is what caused them to do it. But really, is there anything for them to be afraid of? I realize that getting in a pissing match with the Feds isn't every governors' idea of a good time, but shit, one of them has to step up to the plate.

      1. exactly. what exactly is she afraid of? does she REALLY think the feds will arrest her? or state employees for upholding the will of the people here? does she not realize her first loyalty is to the state of WA and its constitution? does she not realize that under WA law, citizen initiative is the highest form of law, and that is trumps other legislation?

        does she not understand that the feds are using their obscene commerce clause expansion (see: Raich) to control the states?

        of course, this is the same governor that signed the legislation making online poker a C felony and GOT RIGHT ON BOARD with banning the evul 4 loko, because some college kids got really drunk on it and blamed 4 loko and god knows w/out 4 loko college kids NEVER get drunk...

      2. But in places like Idaho, I think it would get you votes. Especially if you are a red State and are pissing against an asshat like Obama.

        1. Sorry for the redundancy. I don't think you can get redder than Idaho.

        2. So when Montana's D-Gov Schweitzer is inevitably replaced by a Red alternative, that guy is going to win over votes by fucking with President Barry?


          1. that would be awesome . a repub governor who says "fuck you, feds. my state voted to legalize medical mj so i'm standing with the people"

            If the dem president tried to go after him, he would lose massive support amongst independents, and even ... principled leftists.

    2. *ahem*:

      sim?per (smpr)
      v. sim?pered, sim?per?ing, sim?pers
      To smile in a silly, self-conscious, often coy manner.
      To utter or express with a silly, self-conscious, often coy smile: simpered a lame excuse.
      A silly, self-conscious, often coy smile.

      1. which, if you have ever seen gregoire speak in public - iut describes her PERFECTLY

  5. Despite having bipartisan support, we were unable to achieve these objectives. By far, this represents the greatest disappointment of my legislative career....

    Bipartisan support, and we still can't even medicalize marijuana. Sometimes my fellow libertarians don't realize just how uphill the hill is.

    1. well, it has been done RELATIVELY successfully. heck, just in the course of patrol work, i run into people with medical mj somewhat frequently. it's certainly not difficult to get approved here in WA.

      and the feds aren't going after individual users of medical mj

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