With Gov. Chris Gregoire’s partial veto, only a few parts of the medical-marijuana bill will become law.
The one that worries dispensaries most has to do with how they have justified their existence under a voter initiative that doesn’t specifically legalize them.
The stores say they are acting as “designated providers,” a category the initiative created to provide marijuana to patients who can’t grow their own. The law said providers can hand out marijuana to “only one patient at any one time,” but dispensaries say that allows them to take one patient after another, immediately.
The new law appears to change that by requiring a 15-day cooling off period in between patients:
(2) A person may stop serving as a designated provider to a given qualifying patient at any time. However, that person may not begin serving as a designated provider to a different qualifying patient until fifteen days have elapsed from the date the last qualifying patient designated him or her to serve as a provider.
To avoid losing protections, the industry, represented by the Washington Cannabis Association, wanted all or nothing. Gregoire gave them neither.
“That was our greatest fear,” said Ezra Eickmeyer, lobbyist for the association, said after the governor’s veto, “and she just did it.”