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Posts tagged: marijuana testing

Some pot prosecutions in doubt

OLYMPIA — Prosecutions in some marijuana cases are grinding to a halt in Washington, a result of a glitch in a new law, a lack of equipment at the state crime lab and the basic chemistry of the oft-discussed weed.

The Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory can't say for sure that material seized in growing operations, drug buys or major possession cases meets the new definition of illegal marijuana, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg told the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Thursday.

“We can't enforce the law,” he said.

Prosecutions for people who smoke marijuana or eat it in baked goods, then get arrested for driving under the influence, aren't affected because the lab tests are different.

In an attempt to correct the problem, the committee approved a bill to change the definition of marijuana approved by voters last year in Initiative 502. It added an emergency clause, which would mean the law went into effect immediately if passed and signed by the governor.

“Obviously, this is something we need to act on now,” Chairman Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, said.

But House Bill 2056, which was just introduced Wednesday, would have to pass both houses with a two-thirds majority before the session ends on Sunday, or be part of the likely special session.

Hurst said he couldn't speculate on the bill's chances. The committee did its job by sending it to the House for further consideration, he said. But if legislators don't pass the law before going home for good, marijuana possession cases might not be prosecuted for the rest of the year.  

To understand the problem, the committee got a science lesson in the chemistry of marijuana from an array of laboratory analysts, attorneys and medical marijuana experts. . .

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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