There’s been another flurry of activity with the medical marijuana mess. Here’s some of the latest news:
– A new bill, SB 5955, has been introduced. This bill crafts rules around “nonprofit patient cooperatives”, limiting them to 10 members. It also allows for local jurisdictions to ban them if they so choose.
– The bill requires that each cooperative register with the Secretary of State’s office. This once again illustrates the point that Gregoire’s fear-mongering over state employees being arrested was nonsense. Having state employees do this is no different than anything that was in the original bill. I can only guess at why the governor felt she had to lie in order to force this bill to be written exactly as the police and prosecutors wanted.
– The CDC is outright opposed to the bill, and it’s not likely that the Washington Cannabis Association will support it either. Both organizations are concerned that these patient cooperatives will end up banned in most of the state, and therefore all of these coops will be based in Seattle. There’s no accurate count of how many medical marijuana patients there are in Washington, but many believe that it’s more than 50,000. If that’s the case, at 10 people per coop, this bill would attempt to concentrate that entire distribution network throughout 5,000 private homes. That’s simply assinine.
– On the legal front, Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office replied to Rep. Roger Goodman and 14 other House Representatives hoping to get some clarity on the medical marijuana situation. The response was a dodge, as McKenna essentially refused to provide an opinion at all on the three questions. Goodman released a brief statement today saying:
I am disappointed by Attorney General Rob McKenna’s non response to the questions that I and other lawmakers posed.
Voters approved medical marijuana. People with cancer and other diseases rely on it.
And we deserve honest, candid answers from our state’s attorney general about new legislation and the legitimacy our state’s law with respect to the federal government.
But the answers we got back weren’t answers at all. McKenna delegated a staffer to give us back page after page that said nothing.
McKenna’s refusal to weigh in on this is not very surprising. His longstanding views on medical marijuana only serve to exacerbate his hypocrisy when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, and I wouldn’t expect him to throw any more logs on that fire.
– The ACLU sent a letter to Attorney General Holder asking him to clarify that nothing has changed with Obama Administration policy and that states who regulate medical marijuana will be left alone. As this relates to the legislation here in Washington, however, this seems irrelevant. As I mentioned above, Governor Gregoire clearly isn’t all that worried about state employees dealing with medical marijuana. The new bill still has state employees dealing with medical marijuana. And even long before this session, the state Department of Revenue launched a statewide effort to collect taxes from dispensaries. In fact, Ben Livingston mentioned that when this was brought up in a closed-door session among the stakeholders, the folks from the governor’s office were caught off-guard by that fact. They didn’t even seem to know that was happening.
This talking point about state employees being arrested first came up back in February out of the mouth of Christopher Hurst, whose mouth is permanently loaned out to the police and prosecutors of this state. This bullshit about state employees being at risk appears to have been the plan for police and prosecutors to scuttle this thing all along. And sadly, we have a governor who just so happens to be stupid enough to fall for it.