WA Group To Legislature: Hands Off Medical Marijuana Patients!

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Graphic: Cannabis Defense Coalition

‚ÄčWashington state’s medical marijuana bill — that is, the small portions that were signed into law April 29 under Governor Christine Gregoire’s partial veto — represents a “tragic setback for Washington State medical cannabis patients and providers,” according to Seattle-based advocacy group the Cannabis Defense Coalition.

“With the partial veto, Governor Gregoire carved out a patchwork of legal language to deny the protections of our law to many qualifying patients and providers, as well as to outlaw grey-market dispensaries that have operated for nearly 15 years in Washington State,” the CDC wrote on its website. Washington’s voters approved medical marijuana back in 1998, but a licensed system of legal distribution has never been set up, nor have patients ever been given arrest protection.

According to the CDC, the sections Governor Gregoire vetoed and the sections she approved were exactly in line with requests from the prosecutors’ lobby — along with the input of the federal Department of Justice through its U.S. Attorneys.
Now the governor has “given her blessing” to a follow-up medical cannabis bill,  so long as it addresses only two things:
1. Authorizing small “nonprofit patient cooperatives” and
2. Creating a statewide database of medical marijuana patients.
“This bill will give law enforcement the final victory in their medical cannabis legislative agenda,” CDC said. “Indeed, at a meeting on May 2 to discuss potential legislation for the special session, the sheriff’s lobby distributed draft language for a state registry.”
The “nonprofit patient cooperatives” are arguably legal under current law, if they are “collectivizing” the cost of producing medicine, according to CDC. “Authorizing” them, the group said, can actually been seen as “limiting” them dramatically.
The bill would also require that every patient cooperative register with the state government.
“Law enforcement are working to target our community, to weaken the protections afforded by our medical cannabis law,” CDC said. “It was, in short, a set up.”
“Now more than ever, medical cannabis patients and providers must inherently distrust our state and federal governments,” CDC said. “In removing the affirmative defense for existing dispensaries, our state government has done enough for medical cannabis patients this legislative session. It is not time for a patient database, it is time for state government to get its hands off Washington patients.”
The “Son of 5073” bill is expected to drop on Monday, May 9, and hit the state Senate on Tuesday, May 10. The Legislature has two weeks to pass it before the special session ends.
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