Earlier this morning, Postman wrote:
I was talking to a smart friend over the weekend who bemoaned the oh-so-careful approach Gov. Chris Gregoire is taking to governing. He’s a supporter. But he worries that out of fear of alienating someone, somewhere, Gregoire has traded activism for near-paralysis.
The topic of that post had nothing to do with drug policy, but with the deadline for having the State Department of Health establish the 60-day supply limits for medical marijuana patients coming up tomorrow, I find myself in the same boat as Postman’s unnamed friend – if not even more critical of the Governor.
As of my typing this, I still have no idea what the released limits will be. Earlier this year, it was revealed that preliminary numbers of 35 ounces and a 100 sq ft growing area caused the Governor to get more involved in the process and demand more feedback from law enforcement and medical professionals. Many patients and advocates within the medical marijuana community saw this as an attempt by the Governor to derail the process in support of the state’s law enforcement union, while the Governor’s dishonesty about why the process was derailed didn’t exactly convince people that she was acting in good faith.
At the follow-up meeting (which the DOH attempted to keep closed to the public, but failed), the two parties who the Governor claimed were underrepresented in the initial round of workshops were in attendance. The law enforcement officials again iterated that the decision should be left up the medical professionals, and the one medical professional who showed up said that 35 ounces might be too low of a limit for some patients who ingest it within food. Law enforcement officials also asserted that the limit shouldn’t be so high that criminals could hide behind it, but believing that someone with a small growing area in their basement could launch a massive criminal enterprise is more than a little absurd, considering that marijuana is already the most lucrative cash crop in the state of Washington.
The released limits tomorrow (if they’re even released) will go a long way towards showing whether or not Governor Gregoire is someone who can put politics and special interests aside and do what’s right for the citizens of this state.
Earlier this month, I visited a partially disabled medical marijuana patient in Tacoma who spent over a week in jail this winter. She was kept from receiving the special liquid meals she requires for nearly the entire time. In her mid-40s, she was a former nurse who told me she was staunchly anti-drug before discovering that marijuana worked best for her illnesses. She and her husband then became active in helping other registered patients learn how to grow for themselves.
Stories like that one are common. The list of other patients being hauled into court across the state has been growing. At Drinking Liberally and other events, I occasionally talk to people close to the Governor, and they rarely seem to understand that this is more than just a number. It could be the difference that causes someone to lose their house, their livelihood, or what’s left of their health, should they be sent to jail without adequate medical needs being met. Hopefully, the Governor herself doesn’t suffer from her own paralysis on this one.