As you’ve probably seen by now, it’s officially over:
A yearlong attempt to clarify Washington’s medical marijuana laws collapsed Tuesday, leaving state dispensaries without legal recognition and more vulnerable to prosecution.
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, had pursued a series of proposals to regulate the dispensaries, managing to usher one plan all the way to the governor’s desk. But Gov. Chris Gregoire struck down key parts of it with a veto last month, and a scramble to pass two other plans before the end of the legislative session failed to get enough support in committee.
“By far, this represents the greatest disappointment of my legislative career,” Kohl-Welles said.
I certainly have sympathy for Kohl-Welles. She worked tirelessly for this bill, tried hard to ensure that all stakeholders were involved, and persevered when things got rough – only to see the governor wreck her efforts through what appears to be either dishonesty, incompetence, or both. To underscore exactly how bad the governor’s actions were, both Delaware and Vermont are in the process of passing bills into law that have the kinds of provisions that the governor falsely claimed would put state workers at risk of arrest. And even worse, America’s Craziest Governor, Jan Brewer of Arizona, is now using Gregoire’s bogus talking points in her attempt to overturn Arizona’s voter-approved medical marijuana law.
In other news, State Rep. Roger Goodman is continuing to put pressure on Attorney General Rob McKenna to weigh in on this issue. As I’ve written before, McKenna’s animosity towards our state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law stands in stark contrast to his belief that the state needs to stand up to the federal government’s tyranny via the Affordable Care Act. Goodman’s latest letter to McKenna specifically references this bit of legendary hypocrisy, by pointing out that McKenna has expressed his opinion on health care reform, but remains awfully quiet about whether or not the state of Washington should be standing up for its citizens over medical marijuana.
Also staying silent on this issue is the DEA, which has been stalling for nearly ten years regarding a petition to reschedule marijuana out of its Schedule I classification (reserved for highly addictive drugs with no medical use). A coalition of advocacy groups filed another suit yesterday to get them to respond. The cause for the DEA’s silence is that if they come back and say that marijuana has no medical value (which I’m sure they’d love to say), then there’d be a follow-up lawsuit that allows a judge to review the evidence and provide a ruling. For reasons that should be obvious, the DEA would prefer not to go down that route. So instead, they’ve locked themselves in the closet with Rob McKenna, hoping that everyone will stop asking them why they continue to support one of the most inexcusable policy disasters of the past half-century.