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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor
NEWS ADVISORY

SUBJECT: Holmes expresses disappointment with medical marijuana bill veto

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
4/29/2011  3:45:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kimberly Mills  (206) 684-8602


“I am profoundly disappointed that at the 11th hour and 59th minute Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed the central operative sections of the medical cannabis legislation championed and shepherded through the Legislature by the bipartisan team of Sens. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Jerome Delvin and Rep. Eileen Cody.

The governor’s objections, which were voiced far too late in a lengthy process that started in the middle of last year, deprive patients, health care professionals, local governments and law enforcement of a regulatory framework so vitally needed since voters approved medical marijuana in 1998. The primary concern the governor cited—that state employees could be arrested by the federal government—is a red herring at best, as esteemed constitutional expert Hugh Spitzer detailed in his letter to Gregoire this week.

A rational regulatory framework, which the Legislature’s bill would have brought us, is even more necessary with the proliferation of dispensaries we’ve seen in recent years. Because of the governor’s actions today, these dispensaries will remain mired in a legal gray area, and many sick patients will be forced to keep buying their medical cannabis from drug dealers.

The Legislature and numerous stakeholders worked hard to show responsible leadership on this important issue. The governor’s decision to step in at the last minute and hastily veto the bill without taking the time to consider the legal explanations offered this week by Professor Spitzer and others will unfortunately strengthen those irresponsible actors who would prefer to see the medical cannabis market remain an unregulated gray market.

However disappointed I am in the governor’s actions today, I will continue working with the Legislature and other state and local officials to do everything possible to bring patients, health care professionals, local governments, and law enforcement the rational regulatory framework and legal protections that has been lacking since the voters approved Initiative 692."

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