WASHINGTON — In the wake of conflicting legal opinion, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) on Friday vetoed critical parts of a new medical marijuana bill, citing concerns that state workers could be prosecuted by federal authorities under the law.
“We cannot presume to assure protections to one group of people — patients, providers and health care professionals — in a way that subjects another group, Department of Health and Department of Agriculture employees to federal arrest or criminal liability,” she said in prepared remarks in Olympia on Friday. “That is not acceptable to me; it is not workable.”
The bill, which would legalize, regulate and tax medical marijuana dispensaries, has garnered the support of Seattle’s mayor and city councilmembers, even as the state’s two U.S. attorneys have warned that state regulators could be subject to criminal charges under the proposed legislation.