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New medical-marijuana bill developing in Legislature

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on May 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm with 15 Comments »
May 3, 2011 2:28 pm

The blueprint for a new medical-marijuana proposal is circulating in the Legislature.

Cities and counties are pushing lawmakers to come up with a bill Gov. Chris Gregoire will accept after she vetoed most of the last one. The developing proposal would leave key decisions up to those local governments.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, and her allies developed the new ideas, discussed them in a meeting Monday and are showing them to Gregoire’s office in hopes they will meet her requirement of keeping state employees away from the regulation of marijuana.

The governor nixed the idea of state-licensed, for-profit dispensaries. So Kohl-Welles wants to allow “nonprofit patient cooperatives,” she said, “that could operate like a dispensary, but there would be no state regulation.”

Instead, local governments would have some authority over them through zoning and business licensing.

The cooperatives would grow marijuana subject to the limits on collective gardens that Gregoire did sign into law. They could sell the pot, but only to cover the cost of their operations.

Another part of the proposal would create a registry of patients maintained by the state Department of Health, which Gregoire supports. Registered patients would get protections from arrest.  If the people who run the dispensaries — er, collectives — want protection, they too would have to join the registry.

Before any of this can be considered, legislative leaders would have to agree to expand the scope of the 30-day special session devoted to the budget and a few other topics. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown has agreed it can be heard, Kohl-Welles said, but it remains to be seen how House Speaker Frank Chopp feels.

The two Republican leaders will also have a say, if Gregoire sticks to her proclamation ordering the special session. It calls for bipartisan decisions on the session’s topics.

Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. David F Pawlowski says:

    Washington State don’t believe it. Michigan instituted so called compassionate care medical marijuana and its a farce. Folks can get dope for little if any reason (e.g. cramps, hammer toes, etc..) and they can also grow it themselves. The so called medical marijuana bills are just a way to legalize the trade for the dope pushers. It also begs another question; given some press accounts that well over fifty percent of today’s teenagers have reportedly used the new hybrid marijuana that can allegedly get you stoned in a few puffs what will the long term effect be to women’s eggs? Has anyone noticed the uptick in autism since the hybrid dope came on the scene? You’ll pay for that too.

  2. It would be a shame to see this bill vetoed and the medical patients suffer the consequences.

    The current state administration has failed to look at this situation from a revenue point of view. They are worried about our state deficit but don’t see the benefits of taxing one of Washington’s largest cash crops. This would be my proposal to the state government:

    Farmers would be expected to pay taxes and buy permits to grow the crop, taxation and permit costs subject to how large a crop the person growing can accommodate. This would alleviate any unfair taxation for the smaller farmer.

    Dispensaries would need to buy a permit and pay taxes, possibly at a higher rate. Another avenue here would be to regulate dispensaries in the same manner that the state currently regulates liquor sales.

    The customer would pay a state tax for goods, with a state mandated limit on the ammount that can be purchased at one time.

    If you treat this as you would a “sin tax” as most people call our alcohol and tobacco taxes, the revenue to the state would more than cover our current spending deficit. Any extra revenue could, and should, be put into the Washington state education fund(s) in my opinion.

    You can also look at the alleviation of the police efforts to put people in jail for a drug that is three times safer than alcohol. Inmates that have done nonviolent crimes, such as possession of or intent to sell would not be subject to jail time nor waste the time of the police, thus alleviating the cost to house these inmates and free up time for the police to chase real criminals.

    Thanks for your time all, let me know what you think of this method of regulation.

  3. If you think that this is going to stop the drug pusher it is not it just means another sourse for them to get it.
    Everyone that I know of that has been opened in Tacoma were closed because they were selling it to people without a prescrption.

    These people that will take it will then go to work and possibly hurt them selves and or someone else.
    And like any company now that if there is an accident off they go to be checked and some people will be checked randamly as it is done now and then be fired. How is the State going to Handle this. More people on welfare or unemployment or are they going to get them on SS so that there will be a lot less for the people on it already.

  4. jimkingjr says:

    Chuck- you a very poor job of trying to hide the legalization argument behind the medicinal argument. Glad to see Kohl-Welles getting real and working on a plan that is about facilitating those who truly need medicinal marijuana, not about hiding legalization under the guise of commercial dispensaries.

  5. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Why are democrats wasting our tax dollars in a special session fighting over this issue. Another example of how under democrat leadership they will not stop pushing their social agenda down the throat of the Gov. and the public that don’t want this box opened any further.

    Chopp & Brown, get to work on the budget.Get it signed and go home. Yo have done enough damage this session.

    jimking, do us a favor while you are cruising the halls in Olympia. Kick these legislators to the floor and get the people work done. While at it have them tell you what will happen if the discover pass doesn’t bring in the green needed to save parks.

  6. jimkingjr – I hide nothing. Medical use is only the beginning of legalization.

    The problem is that people like David up there are still buying into the old videos that were shown in school “refer madness” and such.

    I do not do this drug, or any, but I have friends that have been prescribed medical marijuana for good reasons. The fact now is that it’s silly to make this drug illegal, it has been for years, and the medical community has done extensive studies to prove that marijuana is a viable treatment for cancers etc. I believe that marijuana could replace anti-depressants as well…… people with some disorders are calmed by having the main ingredient, THC, in their system.

    It is due to the big drug companies and the little corner drug dealer that it is so “taboo” or “wrong” to legalize any drug. Niether of which want marijuana legalized because it would severely decrease their revenue.

  7. Ron Mosher says:

    As a patient unable to grow my own medicine these places are vital to my quality of life. I fear what would happen without access to them. I know I am not alone but at least I can type so hear my plea don’t forget the patients who depend on this.

  8. Dereck says:

    I agree that the old way of thinking “propaganda” is out dated and the American people should be smart enough to realize now that Nixon wanted a DEA and to discredit the black and hispanic community (Particularly the entertainment industry) and used Marijuana to convince us we needed it. I think we should not have to defend Marijuana behind medical reasons. If tobacco and alchohol are legal, with absolutely no positivies to speak of, Marijuana should be legal. Aside from the point that it would generate enough money to pull this country out of a depression forever and you can’t imagine how many jobs would open. The growers, retailers, construction, and all the companies that produce the nutrients, lighting systems, hyrdo systems would see a long term steady growth. But wait, “it’s a gateway drug!” ha,ha,ha ,ha

  9. fatuous says:

    “Aside from the point that it would generate enough money to pull this country out of a depression forever and you can’t imagine how many jobs would open.”

    We will call it the social worker- foster parent employment act. After all, someone will have to take care mommy and daddy’s kids since mom and dad are too stoned to care about them.

  10. ConservativeChristian says:

    Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators over a little marijuana. None of us would want our parent’s home confiscated by the police for growing a couple of plants to ease the aches and pains of growing older. It’s time to let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.

  11. BigSwingingRichard says:

    The state legislature is in special session to expand the use of marijuana? Isn’t this just great?

    How about just detailing with the serious financial budget issues facing this state? Is this too much to ask?

  12. Dereck says:

    To Fatuous:
    There you go again assuming everyone that uses Marijuana sits in their living room all day stoned staring at the tv blankly. Grow Up! 10’s of thousands of children are abused everyday because of alcohol. You’d be suprised to know that your lawyer occasionally smokes marijuana, your accountant, many successful writers, scientists, psychologist, college professors, the entire entertainment industry, and even some in law enforcement and the medical field. My God, how did they manage that being “pot heads!” Do some of your own research and stop being a coward and believing everything your government and controlled media tells you. When it’s convienent for them, they will start to glorify Marijuana and so will you! Just sit back and wait for the propaganda, sheep. Baaaaahhhhhh!

  13. steilacoomtaxpayer says:


    Please realize that there is no “medical marijuana”, only use approval by unregulated prescribers, mostly doctors. There are street signs (e.g., 56th & Lakewood/Orchard Drive with an 800 phone number promising approval slips for $150 over the phone. Your paper, Jordan, rakes in big $$ for color ads in the A Section for easy medicall approval. This is drug pushing, not medicine.

  14. DubyaFTW says:

    This legislation is like peek-a-boo for stoners. Now you see it, now you don’t.

  15. duke_of_hurl says:

    legalize it and sell it in stores so dope dealers cant make any money off of it anymore ..unless its cheaper and better than the store

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