Pages tagged "Washington State"
“I just met with my Representative,” exclaimed a wide-eyed participant from Bonney Lake. “I went in there and built a relationship with her, just like you said, and it worked,” said the man with a chuckle and grin.
As Steph Sherer and I hustled around Olympia last week, we heard the same refrain echoed repeatedly. From patients to policymakers, there is a newfound exuberance about medical cannabis that has been missing from the conversation until now. Even the security guards were quick to offer praise, pulling organizers aside to mention how nervous they were initially, mainly due to the sheer volume of attendees, but how pleased they were with the ultimate outcome. The positive feedback reverberated all the way to the Governor’s office and then bounced back, rippling through the Legislature a second time around by week’s end. Medical cannabis has undoubtedly turned over a new leaf.
US Representative Earl Blumenhauer (D-OR) is sending a letter to President Obama asking him to follow his recent comments on cannabis and its classification under federal law with action. Will you call your US Representative today and ask him or her to support this effort by signing Representative Blumenhauer’s letter?
President Obama told a reporter that cannabis was no more dangerous than alcohol on January 27. When asked about that comment by a CNN reporter a few days later, the President said it was up to Congress to decide which drugs belong on Schedule I – a classification reserved for dangerous drugs with no medical value. It is encouraging to hear the President taking a relatively enlightened view of the safety of cannabis and raising the question about its classification under federal law. But we need him to go further.Read more
Stakeholders speak out to defend state's 15-year-old law and urge legislators to preserve, strengthen patients rights
Seattle, WA -- Patient advocates and various stakeholders will hold a press conference today at 4pm at Saint Martin's University in Lacey to draw attention to this evening's statewide public hearing on the fate of Washington's 15-year-old medical marijuana law and to urge policymakers not to dismantle a program that works and is necessary for tens of thousands of patients.Read more
"Health Before Happy Hour" campaign seeks state legislation to protect patient rights, preserve and license dispensaries
Seattle, WA -- Medical marijuana advocates will hold stakeholder meetings across Washington State next week in advance of submitting written public comments on regulations being developed for I-502, the state's recreational marijuana initiative passed last November. Meetings hosted by the Washington chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will be held from October 27th-30th in Bellingham, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, and Yakima.Read more
Earlier this year, on April 21st, the Washington State legislature passed SB 5073, a bill that would have established a licensing system for the dozens of medical marijuana distribution centers that existed to provide much-needed medication to thousands of patients throughout the state. Notably, the legislature passed the bill after Governor Christine Gregoire sought and received feedback from the Obama Justice Department. U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby wrote that growing facilities, dispensaries, landlords, financiers, and even state employees “would not be immune from liability under the CSA (Controlled Substances Act).” In other words, anyone remotely connected to the production and distribution of medical marijuana could be criminally prosecuted under federal law. Yet, the legislature must have seen through these threats of intimidation because it passed SB 5073 anyway.
Less than a week after SB 5073 was passed, on April 27th, U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking “further clarification” on the Justice Department’s position on “federal prosecution in states that have enacted laws authorizing medical use of marijuana.” Specifically, Congressman Inslee sought clarification on whether the Justice Department would really “prosecute a state employee who is operating in full compliance with SB 5073.” Unfortunately, nearly 6 moths later, Congressman Inslee is still waiting for a response.
Not-so-coincidentally, a day after the congressman sent his request for clarification, the federal government conducted several aggressive law enforcement raids in Spokane, Washington and later indicted multiple dispensary operators under federal law. A day after that, Governor Gregoire vetoed the parts of SB 5073 that included the establishment of medical marijuana production and distribution regulations.
Apparently, this was a thought-out, well-conducted strategy by the Obama Administration to undermine the efforts of Washington State legislators to establish sensible public health policy with regard to medical marijuana. And Washington is not alone. Similar derailments of public health policy happened in Arizona, California, Montana, and Rhode Island, to name a few.
Thursday, Congressman Jay Inslee sent a follow-up letter to Attorney General Holder, reminding him that the Justice Department has:
[F]ar more critical functions than preventing some of our Nation’s most vulnerable residents from getting the relief they need.
Once again, Congressman Inslee asked for:
[A] detailed justification as to why the Justice Department is focusing such a substantial portion of its limited resources in this area.
This is yet another example of the push back from federal legislators on President Obama’s confusing war against medical marijuana. He would do well to respond and, better yet, President Obama should reconsider his harmful and indefensible policy.