Thursday, April 21, 2011

WA: "The Governor Gins Up a Federal Controversy Over Medical Pot"

Dominic Holden (The Stranger):
So why did the Feds send a letter specifically mentioning state employees?

Because Gregoire specifically asked the Obama administration, in a letter sent on April 13, if state employees would be "immune from arrest or liability." Naturally, prosecutors would never provide blanket immunity—and they made that clear.

At issue is the difference between what the federal government can do and what it actually will do. US attorney general Eric Holder issued a memo in 2009 that indicates, in essence, that the Feds won't intervene in medical marijuana cases that are in compliance with state laws. (Of course, Holder said that the Feds reserved the right to prosecute those cases.)

So, this line of thinking goes, when Gregoire asked the Feds if they could—technically, possibly, even though they never have—charge state employees, she got the answer she wanted (and as the former attorney general of Washington State, Gregoire already knew what the answer would be). Now Gregoire is leveraging the letter to bully the legislature into watering down the bill this week—asking them to gut key protections for sick and dying patients and complicating access for their caretakers. MORE...

No comments: