New Medical Pot Law in Wash. Brings Uncertainty

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  New Medical Pot Law in Wash. Brings Uncertainty

Posted by CN Staff on July 21, 2011 at 13:04:43 PT
By Mike Baker, The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press 

Olympia, WA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire's decision to veto key parts of a bill regulating medical marijuana in Washington has left the state with a patchwork system of oversight that is mystifying patients, providers and the cities in which they live.New medical marijuana rules are perhaps the most contentious - and confusing - in a batch of new state laws set to take effect Friday. Dozens of new laws approved by the Legislature will alter how the state handles everything from public records to domestic partnerships to drunken driving convictions.
Laura Healy, of Green Hope Patient Network in Shoreline, said she still doesn't know what her medical marijuana operation will look like under the new law. She's transitioning to a collective garden organization, the format approved under Gregoire's law, but has a variety of lingering questions that will determine how many patients she can help and how easy it will be to provide them with marijuana.Lawyers are helping Healy assess her options."I don't even think Gregoire understands what she put in (the law)," Healy said. "She kind of left us with, `OK, now what?' Now we're trying to figure it all out. And it's a big mess."Complicating matters for Healy is that Shoreline officials voted Wednesday to place a moratorium on medical marijuana operations. She still hopes to have some sort of system on Friday but doesn't know what that will look like.Several jurisdictions have been pressing ahead with moratoriums on the collective gardens, triggering further confusion. Seattle, meanwhile, voted this week to start taxing and licensing medical marijuana operations like any other business, drawing praise from some activists and the threat of a lawsuit from another who believes cities don't have the authority to regulate the industry.The uncertainty comes after lawmakers worked for months on a plan that would help clear up the state's medical marijuana laws. The Legislature approved a plan that would have created a system to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.But Gregoire, citing fears that state workers could face federal prosecution for participating in the licensing scheme, vetoed much of it.The remaining parts of the law allow collective marijuana grows with up to 45 plants, serving up to 10 patients. But some have noted that the law is unclear how many collective gardens can be located on a single tax parcel or whether the 10-patient rule can be stretched by having patients only participate in the gardens for brief periods of time.King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg has warned that Gregoire's veto is a big step backward.Alison Holcomb, drug policy director at the ACLU of Washington, said while the law leaves plenty of gray area, it also does provide at least some help to patients. Instead of growing marijuana themselves or finding a designated provider, the patients can now band together in the collective gardens to share the costs, space and work to maintain them."It represents a small improvement," Holcomb said.Still, she's leading the organization of a new initiative that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in the state. Holcomb said Gregoire's veto added extra urgency to the idea.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Mike Baker, The Associated PressPublished: July 21, 2011 Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on July 21, 2011 at 19:40:20 PT
Go Irv!
You have the nerve!And yes, leave it to AP: "Uncertainty" I'm getting scared, quick get into your nuclear shelter.The great nation of the USA depends on WA state right now.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 21, 2011 at 13:09:19 PT

Press Release: PRNewswire
Medicine to Be Used on Steps of City Hall in Protest of Failing Program***Patient Advocate and Author Irvin Rosenfeld to Attend in Solidarity with DC's Illegal Medical 'Marijuana' Patients. July 21, 2011Washington, DC --  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the 1-year anniversary of Congress approving the District of Columbia's medical cannabis program, the District of Columbia Patients' Cooperative (DCPC), a District-based non-profit organization and Safe Access DC, the Washington, D.C. chapter of Americans for Safe Access, will hold a press conference on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 9 a.m. outside of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The press conference intends to shine a light on DC's non-functioning medical marijuana program and feature patients who are demanding that the District's medical cannabis patients be granted legal protections to grow their own medicine."The patients of the District have waited longer than any other citizens in America for their ballot-approved medical cannabis," says Nikolas Schiller, Secretary of DCPC, and the organization's only paid staff member, who will be losing his job at the press event because of the District government's inaction. "Patients and investors have lost patience and while you don't see it on the news, people are suffering because our local government went AWOL. It is time for emergency legislation to give patients basic legal protections while the city figures out how to run a burdensome medical marijuana program." "Patient home cultivation is what began the medical cannabis movement in America, and that movement began here in Washington, DC. Robert Randall, a patient with severe glaucoma, was caught growing his own medicine at his apartment in Capitol Hill in the late 1970s and decided to fight back, successfully suing the federal government in order to legally obtain a supply of medicine his entire life," says Kayley Whalen of Safe Access DC which is co-sponsoring the press event. "The federal program his activism created was the Compassionate Investigative New Drug Program. It's a program that was discontinued because Mr. Randall wanted HIV/AIDS patients to have safe access, and President George H.W. Bush chose to end the program instead of extending it to patients in need. Today there are four living federal medical cannabis patients, one of whom is Irvin Rosenfeld," said Whalen.Mr. Rosenfeld of Fort Lauderdale, Florida is a Board member of Patients Out of Time, an International Patient Advocacy Non-Profit Organization and is one of the four (4) living federal medical cannabis patients in America will attend the press conference. He has been receiving medical cannabis from the government for almost 30 years. Outlined in his book "My Medicine," Mr. Rosenfeld explains how medical cannabis saved his life and how the current prohibitions on home cultivation harm more people than they help. Mr. Rosenfeld was also a friend of Robert Randall and will recall how the medical marijuana movement in DC began. More information at CONTACT: Nikolas Schiller, +1-202-460-0032, info dcpatients.orgSOURCE: DC Patients' Cooperative

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