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Legislators Ask State AG's Opinion on Vetoed Medical Marijuana Bill

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OLYMPIA – Fifteen Democratic legislators are asking Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna for a legal opinion on whether state employees should fear federal law enforcement officers if a vetoed section of a medical marijuana bill is revived.

Rep. Roger Goodman of Kirkland organized the 15 legislators, including Reps. Sherry Appleton of Poulsbo and Fred Finn of Olympia, after Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed most of a medical marijuana bill Friday.

Gregoire said she was influenced by U.S. attorneys Jenny Durkan in Seattle and Mike Ormsby in Spokane, who told her that state health and agriculture department employees involved in licensing and monitoring medical marijuana dispensaries could be arrested under federal drug laws. She did not want to risk subjecting state employees to federal prosecution. State employee unions voiced the same fear.

Federal agents raided several medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane on Thursday.

Medical marijuana supporters argue that a 2009 U.S. Justice Department memo says the federal government does not intend to prosecute people who are in compliance with state medical marijuana dispensary laws. They contend 15 states have such laws, and no state employees have been prosecuted so far. They believe the fees are more likely to file injunctions instead.

The legislators' letter asks McKenna for his office's opinion on whether the bill's vetoed portion would have put state employees at risk of federal arrest; on whether the fees would target state employees who are following a state medical marijuana law; and on the state's ability to enforce its own medical marijuana laws.

The letter supported the entire bill, the bulk of which Gregoire vetoed.

All sides in this debate, including Gregoire, agree that the state's current medical marijuana laws are confusing, hazy and difficult to interpret.

"Without enactment of this bill, Washington will fall victim to 'gray market' dispensaries, which are so prevalent in California. At this critical time, we need your guidance as we craft a new proposal to improve Washington's medical cannabis law," the letter said.

On Friday, Gregoire said she is willing to consider any new medical marijuana bills that might emerge out of the current special session, especially one that would establish a confidential registry of people allowed to use medical marijuana.

Gregoire vetoed the registry portion of the previous bill because it was intertwined too much with portions to which she objected.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: kitsapsun.com
Author: John Stang
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: The E.W. Scripps Co.
Website: Legislators ask state AG's opinion on vetoed medical marijuana bill

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I like this article. At least someone is asking questions, trying to break through this Fed. Gov rattling of the saber. Colorado is also working through this, and they are going further. They are going for it. I hope some State does it soon, and de-fangs the Feds.
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