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Lawmaker to McKenna: Why isn't medical pot a states' rights issue?


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One of the state lawmakers who had asked Attorney General Rob McKenna about the legal impliations of potential, new medical marijuana legislation said he was disappointed by McKenna's "non response."

McKenna's office on Monday released an informal opinion which largely declined to answer the questions the legislators previously posed to him. Those centered around how the federal government, which does not recognize state medical cannabis laws, might react to changes in Washington's rules.

"I can understand how the attorney general might sidestep our second question, about the likelihood of federal intervention," Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, told seattlepi.com. "But our third question was about the validity of the medical cannabis program in the state...I'm really surprised that he didn't reassert states' rights in this area of the law. He's very strongly asserting states' rights when he challenges the Obama health care plan. This is another health care matter, frankly. I'm just mystified why he's been so quiet on the issue in general."

McKenna is one of about two dozen Republican attorneys general who have sued to block implementation health care changes signed into law by President Barack Obama. McKenna has said he doesn't object to the entire health care bill, just the part that mandates that people buy private insurance. McKenna says that clause exceeds the federal government's authority; such a provision could be imposed by the states, McKenna has said.

The medical cannabis issue is one of the big issues before the Legislature as it meets in a special session, slated to end later this month. Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed large parts of an earlier bill that sought to clarify and expand the state's existing medical marijuana law, citing concerns about federal arrest of state workers. New legislation in the offing would allow "nonprofit patient cooperatives" to operate only in cities that specifically allowed them.

Goodman said he's not sure if the latest push will succeed in the closing days of the special session. But he says other governments are keeping an eye on the situation in Washington, which is one of 15 states that has legalized medical cannabis.
"The whole nation is watching. We need to resolve this," Goodman said.


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Pretty hypocritical stance by Rob McKenna. As a libertarian I agree with his legal stance on Obamacare but this is close to the same type of issue, the feds overstepping there legal authority to govern individual states.
But it is an election year and he's supposed to be running for governor. So you won't see any politicians taking any risky stances for now.
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