WA Medical Pot Reform Fails, Making Dispensaries “Clearly Illegal”


A effort to overhaul Washington state’s medical-marijuana law died, leaving cities and law enforcement to muddle through changes that will clip short the boom in dispensaries, reports the Seattle Times. As a result, a law will take effect in July that allows 45-plant collective gardens for the first time while undercutting dispensaries’ best legal defense. Cities will have to choose between tolerating dispensaries or cracking down.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said, “The commercial dispensaries jumped the gun, and are out aggressively marketing their services. Whatever gray area used to exist to allow that is gone now. They are clearly illegal as of July.” He said the new law “puts cops and prosecutors back in the business of making the medical-marijuana law work. I don’t think that’s fundamentally the law that cops and prosecutors should be in. It should be a medical issue, not a law-enforcement issue. Dispensaries popped up over the past year by seizing on vague patient-provider definitions in the 1998 voter-approved law. Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed most of a regulatory bill, saying a harsher tone from federal prosecutors that could potentially expose state regulators to arrest.

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