Governor should ignore federal threat and sign medical-marijuana bill

April 18th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

“JUST sign it,” is our advice to Gov. Chris Gregoire regarding the medical-marijuana bill, when the bill lands on her desk.

The people of Washington will back her up. They voted for medical cannabis in 1998, and polls show they would vote yes again by an even greater margin today.

In this matter, experience is the great persuader. The latest conversion is Republican Rep. Dave Reichert, who said last month in a KCTS-TV interview that his mother, who died last week from pancreatic cancer, used cannabis and “it provided her relief.”

The former King County sheriff said, “I do recognize the medical benefit and it’s only come to me recently that I recognize that.”

Gregoire now worries about the federal law. She is a lawyer, a former state attorney general and a possible future candidate for a law-related job in the Obama administration. And so, faced with the medical-marijuana bill passing both houses of the Legislature, she made the mistake of asking Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, if it was OK to sign it.

Bad idea. She should have just done it.

Holder’s answer, relayed through U.S. attorneys, is a restatement of the law: marijuana is forbidden. Federal agents have the power to arrest growers and dispensaries, and even public employees who treat them as legitimate businesses “would not be immune from liability.”

The feds are not going to promise immunity. But the words carefully fall short of a promise to prosecute.

The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said New Mexico has had state-licensed dispensaries

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