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Advocates push for Wash.'s own rules on medical marijuana


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Six hundred eighty six people get their medical marijuana at Left Coast in Tacoma. But the city of Tacoma says unless the Legislature sets up rules for marijuana dispensaries, this place is toast.

In Olympia, the House and the Senate have adopted rules for stores like this. But the governor says she may veto the bill because of a warning from the Department of Justice that says approving of such stores would violate federal law.

"She basically got chicken-winged by the federal government. They got her like this. Threatening her employees with federal
prosecution if they legalize what the people said I should be able to do," said dispensary owner Michael Allison.

In Olympia, a small group gathered to suggest the governor tell the feds to get out of our state.

Some are veterans. Others old enough to be grandparents. Many worry the feds will swoop in and close the stores, forcing them to buy illegally on the street.

"I think a lot of patients may have to go back to obtaining it illegally," said Kim Love, who has fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy. "That's an unfortunate situation. You could get arrested. I could get arrested."

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes says he, too, wants the Legislature to act now.

"This is about getting medicine to people who need it. It's about getting a handle on dispensaries that are proliferating weekly," said Holmes.

Holmes says he will fight to keep dispensaries open in Seattle. But if the governor vetoes the legislative plan to control the stores, they could be illegal most everywhere else. And then who gets medical marijuana may depend more on where you live than how sick you are.

Rep. Ross Hunter says if the governor has ideas on how to comply with federal law, she should tell the legislative conference committee putting the final bill together.
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