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Cannabis or marijuana? Lawsuit filed to stop medical pot changes

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on June 28, 2011 at 11:45 am | 6 Comments »
June 28, 2011 11:33 am

A medical-marijuana grower and activist has filed a lawsuit to stop a new state law from taking effect.

The Legislature this year approved a major expansion of the voter-passed 1998 law on medical marijuana. But Gov. Chris Gregoire carved it up over concerns that it put state workers at risk of prosecution. The pieces of the law that survived will take effect July 22.

SB 5073 includes a rebranding: references to “marijuana” are changed to “cannabis.”

Steve Sarich, of North Bend, says the law leaves it unclear what happens now to patients with marijuana authorizations from a medical provider. Do they have to go out and get a cannabis authorization?

Sarich first tried to kill the law via a referendum. He has ditched that idea and filed a lawsuit Friday in federal court, saying:

Tens of thousands of Washington State citizens will be entrapped by less charitable jurisdictions which will no doubt take advantage of the vagueness of the Washington State Medical Cannabis Act’s lack of clear guidance on the issue of whether the current authorizations would be valid under the new Act.

The law is so vague as to be unconstitutional, Sarich alleges. Courts have ruled that laws must be clear to avoid violating due process protections.

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