Determined to call Gov. Chris Gregoire's bluff, medical-marijuana advocates today will be in Olympia rallying against her threat to veto the massive medical-marijuana legislation that's now cleared both houses of the State Legislature.
Toke Signals columnist and rabble rouser Steve Elliott reports that the rally will be at the State Capitol at high noon. He also quotes Philip Dawdy, the Washington Cannabis Association's mouthpiece:
"It's time for the Governor to stop listening to the feds and begin listening to the people of this state who overwhelmingly approved medical cannabis by initiative in 1998."
The law would, among other things, set up a statewide medical-marijuana dispensary-licensing framework that would make dispensaries highly regulated, but legal.
Gregoire thinks the law will put state workers in danger of federal prosecution for managing trade in a substance that's still quite illegal in the federal government's perspective.
This, of course, is bogus.
The American Civil Liberties Union points out, quite accurately, that even though states like New Mexico, California, Colorado, Rhode Island, and New Jersey have state-managed medical-cannabis dispensaries, no state employee has ever been arrested for doing their job.
The notion that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder would go against their own stated policy and let federal agents march into Washington state and arrest state workers is ridiculous. One can only imagine how that would play in the 24-hour news cycle.
In fact, it's because of the lack of a law like SB 5078 that the federal government is even hassling Washington state at all. Earlier this month when U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby announced that he would prosecute dispensary owners and landlords who rent to them in Spokane County, he pointed to the big catch in the pro-pot Obama stance--the one that says the feds can still raid if a dispensary is breaking state laws.
If the state makes regulated medical-marijuana dispensaries legal, then Mr. Ormsby suddenly has no grounds on which to prosecute the dispensaries he's targeting.
But anyway. Rally at noon. State Capitol. If you get bored, you can join the budget-cut protest.