Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gregoire edges closer to pot bill veto; local activists prepare for raids

Posted on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said yesterday she was still deciding on whether to fully veto a medical marijuana dispensary bill passed by the Legislature, or simply veto sections of it.

"I'm looking at it only with what I can save," she said at a press conference yesterday. "Not whether I will sign it."

At issue is whether state employees could be held liable for trafficking drugs classified as illegal under federal law. Two weeks ago, Gregoire received a letter from the state's two U.S. attorneys saying state employees "would not be immune from liability" under the federal Controlled Substances Act. 

"If I ask state employees to do it, I don't know that they'd volunteer. I wouldn't," she said at the conference. "So I don't expect any state employee to volunteer. Therefore I can't implement it."

She did say she supported a statewide patient registry "to prevent arrest of medical patients." But in the past, this was an aspect of the bill that riled activists because of privacy concerns. 

Meanwhile, the Cannabis Defense Coalition is holding "raid preparedness training" in across the state. Spokane's training is today, from 1 to 4 pm, at the downtown library.

“The medical cannabis bill is a ghost of its former self, and could get dramatically worse if the governor exercises her sectional veto power,” says the CDC's Rachel Kurtz. “Our community would do well to prepare itself, to brace for impact.”

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