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Pot Law Creates Confusion for State Dispensaries

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After Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed large chunks of a bill intended to clarify the state's medical marijuana muddle, what remains of the law is in tatters, creating concerns and confusion for the state's dispensaries.

Definitions in the original law that medical marijuana supporters used to justify dispensaries were removed by legislators who thought they would be replacing them with a blueprint for a state-regulated supply and distribution system.

Old language referring to "designated providers" who provided cannabis to "only one patient at any one time" disappeared, taking one of the dispensaries' main claims for legitimacy with them.

Attorneys for dispensaries had argued that the phrase "at any one time" could mean as little as the few seconds it takes to hand over marijuana to a patient and did not necessarily mean a lasting personal commitment.

Section 404 of the new law, which was signed by the governor, puts an end to that argument.

It states that a designated provider "may not begin serving as a designated provider to a different qualifying patient until 15 days have elapsed from the date the last qualifying patient designated him or her to serve as a provider."

Surviving sections of the new law refer to "licensed producer," "licensed processor" and "licensed dispenser," but the governor vetoed the sections that defined and set forth how the entities would be established.

Gregoire explained her veto by saying that requiring state agencies to regulate the dispensaries put them at risk of federal prosecution — even though that has not been a priority for the current administration.

The federal government does not accept the concept of "medical marijuana."

"We're a little worried," said Nathan Harris, manager of Tacoma's Best Alternative Medicine.

Harris said he closely followed the legislative process this year, but still doesn't know what to expect.

"If the law says we have to close, we'll close," he said. "We're not trying to be a vigilante or anything. ... To tell the truth, I'm a little confused about what's going on right now."

In the lobby of Tacoma's Northwest Best, which plans to expand to Lacey and Seattle, marijuana patient Mac McCloud leaned back in a comfortable chair and chatted, having just received his latest supply of marijuana meds.

McCloud, 56, of Yelm, said he qualified as a medical marijuana patient because he hurt his knees working in the woods and suffers chronic pain.

All the convoluted legal arguments miss the point, he said.

He's been smoking marijuana for 40 years, he said, and doesn't see himself quitting anytime soon.

"People are going to smoke, no matter who sells it," McCloud said.

"If they close these dispensaries, the people that sell illegal drugs are going to be happy about it," he said. "The Mexican mafia will just make more money, because that's where most of these drugs are coming from."

"If we close them, I just think we're stepping on private business," he said. "We're not supposed to do that here. This is America."

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: theolympian.com
Author: Rob Carson
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: The Olympian
Website: Pot law creates confusion for state dispensaries


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I hate to repeat myself, but Gregoire believes in a strong central democratic government. She will not do anything unless Obama says to.
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