For anyone following the progress of the medical marijuana bill in WA State, the fact that Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed a bill, which the Seattle times is calling a “Landmark Expansion of the State’s Medical-Merijuana Law”, should be no surprise.
Gov Chris Gregoire
She has gone on record a few times now declaring her intent to veto the bill, but not because she is against the expansion of medical marijuana, but because the feds have threatened to prosecute those who follow the provisions set aside in the bill.
To this, Gregoire said, “I cannot disregard federal law on the chance that state employees will not be prosecuted. What would I say to them if they are?”
Instead, Gregoire has expressed interest in fighting for marijuana on a different battle field. Right now, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, a drug without any approved medical benefits. Other drugs in this category are heroin and PCP. So her next step, change the classification using her influence as the chair of the National Governor’s Association.
Such efforts have tried and failed since the 70’s.
So where does this leave the medical marijuana patients? Well, a few parts of the bill have not been vetoed, including a further restriction on the amount of plants patients can tend in their own gardens, now 45. In effect, this limit has disbanded large legal cooperatives where patients had a place to grow, some coop’s with as many as 3000 patients.
Many are calling this bill a failure, many are criticizing Gregoire and the feds. In a quote from the Seattle Times, Seattle attorney and marijuana advocate Douglas Hiatt calls it, “the worst setback for Washington medical-marijuana patients I’ve seen.”