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Senate sends medical marijuana bill to Gov. Chris Gregoire

Post by Katie Schmidt on April 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm with 29 Comments »
April 21, 2011 1:37 pm

The state senate passed a bill on to Gov. Chris Gregoire today to license medical marijuana dispensaries despite threats from the governor that she’ll veto the measure.

In a 27-21 vote that divided both Democrats and Republicans, senators approved House amendments to Senate Bill 5073, forcing the governor to decide what to do with the controversial proposal.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the bill’s primary sponsor said the proposal was a well thought-out approach to a black-market problem in Washington.

“Patients need this, families of patients need this, communities need this, public safety mandates this,” said Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, during floor debate on the bill Thursday.

She said the Senate had considered meeting with the governor and representatives from the House to try to reach an agreement that the governor would approve, but with regular session ending Sunday, legislators ran out of time to make that happen.

The version of the bill that moved on to the governor would license medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, limit the number of them that can exist per county and provide set up a voluntary registry and some arrest protection for patients.

It’s meant to clear up a gray area in the voter-approved measure that legalized medical marijuana in Washington but left it unclear how patients can get the drug.

Now Gregoire will have to decide whether to veto the bill, veto parts of the bill or approve it.

She first voiced concern about the measure last week after receiving a letter from U.S. attorneys saying the federal government could prosecute people who participate in a state-authorized dispensary system despite a Justice Department memo saying federal prosecutors will not go after patients who use marijuana in compliance with state law.

“I will review the bill to determine any parts that can assist patients in need without putting state employees at risk,” said Gregoire in a statement about the proposal. “No state employee should have to break federal law in order to do their job.”

Kohl-Welles said she doubted that federal attorneys would actually prosecute any state workers for carrying out Senate Bill 5073 if it becomes law, and she thought the governor would take some time to think about her position on the bill before vetoing it outright.

Seven other states and Washington D.C. all authorize dispensaries in some form, Kohl-Welles said, and the Justice Department hasn’t prosecuted people for carrying out the laws.

Some Democrats and Republicans who opposed the measure on the Senate floor argued that the proposal would  contribute to drug abuse by people who aren’t really sick and clash with federal law.

“This is unfortunately not about medical marijuana anymore; this has been converted to a bill that is on the brink of legalization of marijuana for anybody and everybody,” said Sen. Mike Carrell, a Lakewood Republican who voted against the bill.

The proposal picked up support from some Republicans, though, including Sen. Jerome Delvin, a co-sponsor of the measure. He said Washington should assert its states rights on the issue and it would make marijuana use easier for law enforcement to handle.

Kohl-Welles said she hadn’t considered whether to look for the votes to override a veto if the governor won’t approve the bill.

Leave a comment Comments → 29
  1. tree_guy says:

    What’s a “dispite?”

  2. Alison7613 says:

    Oh Colorado, you remain so much more sensible.

  3. Kevindot1 says:

    Please madam Gregoire, please do not veto any part of this. It is the will of the majority of the state of Washington that this pass.

  4. What’s a “dispite?”

    Part diss, part spite.

  5. Brandon Jones says:

    I am not an advocate for the “medical marijuana” movement, as I have far too many questions about how it can be classified as a medicine when there is no way to administer the “medication” in a prescribed dosage. What is the Theraputic Level of medical marijuana? What is the difference between street grade, and medical grade marijuana?…..Any way…

    I am against the federal government strong arming Washington law makers, and using what ammounts to extortion tactics to intimidate out governor in to carrying out the will of the federal government over the will of the people.

    I do not have to agree with the legislation, or the idea, but if it is the will of the people, then it is what it is. We are not supposed to be held captive by our government, we are not supposed to be held back by them either. They need to listen to the people, and carry out our will. If they fail to do so, then we must simply “fire” them, and “hire” some new folks that have the “balls” to carry out the will of the people.

  6. Theoldsergeant says:

    Lets hope the Governor Veto’s the bill. This bill is not the will of the majority of the people but for a small class of recreational marijuana users. Medical Marijuana however may have it’s place but must be obtained by subscription at your local certified pharmacy. Not some fly by night Pot Store run by very questionable people.

  7. Legalize it, tax it.

  8. Clarktribnet says:

    Another game played by all parties! Forget the medical crap, as basically it’s just foreplay to decriminalizing it. Decriminalize it already and get it over with. Try it for 2 years or 1 month. I do not care. Quit wasting time and the peoples money with the bureaucratic games that all the politician’s play. You know it’s going to happen after billions spent arguing about it. At times it makes me wonder about our entire system of freedom and democracy.

  9. BigSwingingRichard says:

    “Patients need this, families of patients need this, communities need this, public safety mandates this,” said Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, during floor debate on the bill Thursday.”

    She forgot to mention the drug dealers who also need this bill.

  10. smartmoney says:

    Theoldsergeant…before you can have a legal prescription you have to legalize the use of the drug prescribed. That’s what this law is attempting to do. The Governor has taken everything FROM the people, it’s time she gets off of her high horse and gives the people something. Marijuana’s illegalization is left over from a time when my father was alive. Even then it’s classification as a controlled substance met with resistance. But hey, it’s the basis for another non-winable war so it has to be good for the country and everyonoe living here, right? What did you fight for Sarg? So we could all give up our rights and follow the idiots in D.C.? I can’t believe that you put yourself in danger so we would all be hitched to the blind following of our so-called leaders in D.C. Stand up for what YOU believe soldier. Isn’t that what you were taught?

  11. tree_guy says:

    “Senate sends medical marijuana bill to governor gregoire.”

    I’ve tried sending my marijuana bills to other people but it seems like I always end having to pay for it myself.

  12. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Well this is just PAR for the Socialist State of Washington and all the leftist/ liberal whack-jobs that reside in the State!!

  13. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Brewer vetoed the birther bill and the quenn will veto this bill. I will bet on it.

    She wipes her bottom with the state dempocrat platform that says democrats support legal pot.

    Get a life and get a job you potheads.

  14. Clarktribnet says:

    Funny tax. You do not know too many pot heads. They never call in sick and never file false claims and generally have a great work ethics. Your staff proabaly meets at the bar after work and drives home drunk. Maybe not. Don’t judge those who live different from you.

  15. You have a sense of humor, tree_guy. I like that.

    We need to lighten up, (light up?) from time to time.

  16. Alison7613 says:

    I have multiple sclerosis. It hurts me quite a bit lately up and down my spine in pain I would not wish on my worst enemy.

    If Gregoire vetoes this bill, we ought to recall her. She is closing down schools for the disabled, etc. I really don’t like her much anymore despite understanding she has to make some tough decisions right now.

    The people have spoken. The representatives have spoken. Sign it already Ms. Gov. Sign it for me because I will not take prescription painkillers nor steroids.

  17. Leftybender says:

    “Some Democrats and Republicans who opposed the measure on the Senate floor argued that the proposal would contribute to drug abuse by people who aren’t really sick and clash with federal law.”
    Isn’t this already happening with much more dangerous prescription drugs? We have a bigger problem with the abuse of so called legal drugs. There are plenty of people who lie to their doctor so they can cope with everyday BS but were concerned with this BS. What a joke.

  18. Henry_Anslinger says:

    taxedenoughintacoma says “get a life and get a job you potheads”.

    Get a clue and do a little critical thinking. Fall for stereotypes much? Do you have the ability to think and learn for yourself or do you parrot 70 years of government programming?

    Can you tell a person who may drink on occasion by looking at them? NO. Is a falling down drunk alcoholic obvious? YES. Can you tell a person who may use cannabis on occasion by looking at them. NO. Is a mega stoned smells like pot person obvious. YES.

    Last question…are you smarter than a fifth grader?

  19. Henry_Anslinger says:

    BigSwingingRichard seems to be having an “opposite day”. Somehow he thinks clarifying patient access to medical cannabis ‘helps’ drug dealers.

    Prohibition helps drug dealers. It’s the illegality of marijuana that has led to the explosion of the black market which hurts our kids and costs us billions of dollars to prosecute a war on a plant that is less toxic than alcohol or prescription painkillers and is a godsend for many who suffer.

    Drug dealers WANT prohibition. Big Pharma WANTS prohibition. Beer companies WANT prohibition. Big government WANTS prohibition.

    Why exactly do you? Do you even understand why and how marijuana prohibition started? If you did you wouldn’t be posting from extreme ignorance.

  20. Henry_Anslinger says:

    It would be nice if Washington state could enact this bill and have the Medical Cannabis access issue clarified.

    The folly of prohibiting marijuana for adults should then be debated on it’s own merits.

    Weird that people have no problem with people who doctor shop for everything from Oxy to Viagra to Ambien and yet give in to irrational fears of people getting a marijuana authorization that might not be ‘miserable enough’ in their personal opinion. Ridiculous.

    Deaths from prescription medication=32,000 a year. Deaths from cannabis use= 0 .

    Again waiting for one single intelligent justification for not allowing patient access OR for continuing prohibition in general. And yet no one can come up with one. Why are we spending billions of dollars on prohibition?

  21. Henry_Anslinger says:

    How many of you have a hard time accepting that marijuana is not the boogey man you were led to believe just because you can’t accept being wrong?

    I swear a lot of the posters here don’t know anything about marijuana and just regurgitate 1930’s and 1970’s era stereotypes and propaganda because otherwise it means accepting that something so deeply ingrained and accepted as truth was actually not the truth at all.

    Whether they do that sub-conciously or just out of narcissism I don’t know and I doubt they do either. But it is counter productive and aggravating to the rest of us who want a sensible debate on how we should deal with cannabis use by adults in this (supposed) country of freedom and constitutional liberty.

  22. m9078jk3 says:

    It’s a complete sham.There are a lot of greedy mobsters 2.0 desiring to make a lot of money off of selling and manufacturing dope without any legal consequences (jail and/or prison).It would be like legalizing alcohol but in addition legalizing moonshine stills and unauthorized moonshine.There are so many “patients” that the entire scheme is heavily suspect

  23. It doesn’t matter if she vetos parts of the bill, once she sighns it she will have opened a can of worms just look at California.

  24. Henry you can smoke pot all you want in your house, nobody cares but we really don’t care to see you in public smokeing pot makeing funny faces and slobbering on yourself, chokeing,wheezing, coughing, cmonman.

  25. Theoldsergeant says:

    Wow Smartmoney, you certainly lay it out there. If indeed Medical Marijuana becomes legal and to satisfy all concerned it has been my contention that it must be tightly controlled and prescribed by a doctors subscription through state controlled pharmacies. I have many questions on how this would occur. What are the who, where, when and how medical marijuana, if passed, would be prescribed? How and where would the pharmacies get it? Who, where and how would it be grown legally? What enforcement would come into play, and how would it be applied?

    These pot shops that have sprung up all over the place are playing charades and have no real interest in medical users but focus on the recreational user or rabid pot smokers. As for serving my country, yes indeed and proud of it.

  26. SBinSpokane says:

    A prescription for CANNABIS (marijuana is slang) can never be written as long as the federal government fails to recognize cannabis as medicine.

    People (patients) will be required to visit a licensed doctor before they can legally purchase cannabis from a dispensary. Recommendations will only last for a year and patients will be required to revisit their doctor if they wish it to be renewed.

    Dispensaries will be required to verify that a licensed doctor has advised the patient that cannabis may help them with their individual medical problem.

    Sales to non-patients will be illegal and restricted to the current black market system.

    Dispensaries will be licensed, regulated, and controlled. Sales to non-patients will not be permitted and those dispensaries that sell to non-patients will be closed down and the owners and employees will be prosecuted.

    Cannabis use in public will remain illegal. Cannabis sales to minors will remain illegal. Cannaibis sales to non-patients will remain illegal.

    It is nearly impossible for a person to overdose on cannabis but very easy for a person to take too many prescription drugs. There are many people that cannot take prescription pain meds because they are allergic to opium based medicine. Many people are incapasitated by prescription pain meds yet they function rather well on cannabis.

    Those that produce the cannabis (growers) will be licensed, regulated, and controlled in much the same manner as the farmers that grow the food you eat every day. The facilities producers use will be required to meet the same health and safety standards of any food or medicine production facility. No longer will cannabis be grown in somebodys basement or on public lands.

  27. Henry_Anslinger says:

    To assist in cmonman’s unlikely emergence from his own ignorance…I don’t smoke pot. I however do have the ability to do something called ‘critical thinking’ and have had several people very close to me go through chemotherapy and have Crohn’s disease. So I have seen first hand the miracle of medical cannabis on a 64 year old breast cancer patient who was totally against pot for 63 and 1/2 years be able to sit up and eat and not spend days nauseous and deathly sick and weary. I have seen my best friends wife go through all the pharmaceutical options and not be able to work because of Crohn’s be able to keep healthy weight and go back to her job as a dental hygienist. So as usual you are just ignorant. Please educate yourself it would be appreciated by many suffering patients.

  28. rynotfedowned00 says:

    Thank’s for teaching the ignorant and uneducated. Henry _Anslinger!!! you must not have been raised on flouride water!!! thank’s for thinking outside the box. “some see the light etc etc” ya freedom , right where????? i cant see it , all i see is working 6mos a year so it can be wasted on fighting a plant that god gave us,they dont realize we are all dependent on cannabanoids and our brains make them,we are all on the cannabis,why are there so many ignorant folk who speak without knowledge of there words??

  29. rynotfedowned00 says:

    B.T.W its easier and cheaper to get quality cannabis “on the street” than by going to “collectives” and your name as a patient doesnt go on file!!!!! we need real help and medicine for real patients,this is america right?? then wheres the compassion?apparently these people have never seen the true benefits of natural medicine , if they figure out how to tax it “it will come”balance the budget” , dont fight it !!!

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