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Monday, October 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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State employees urge Gregoire to veto pot bill

OLYMPIA — The state employees union joined the fray over the medical marijuana bill, urging Gov. Chris Gregoire in a letter today to veto it. The letter from Greg Devereaux, executive director of the Washington Federation of State Employees, said the law would put them in a “precarious position of enforcing a state law which could potentially lead to their prosecution under federal law.” That missive comes on the heels of Thursday’s letter from University of Washington Law Professor Hugh Spitzer, one of the state’s top constitutional law experts, who contends those types of prosecutions are highly unlikely, despite a letter from federal prosecutors to Gregoire. Spitzer accused U.S. Attorneys Mike Ormsby of Spokanke and Jenny Durkan of Seattle of “federal bullying” and argued such prosecutions haven’t occured over other conflicts between federal and state laws for decades — maybe not since the Civil War. Gregoire is scheduled to take action on the bill at 2:30 p.m., and said earlier in the week she’d like to salvage the state registry for medical marijuana patients if she can find a way to separate that from provisions that call for state agencies to license growing, processing and dispensary operations. Just can the whole thing, Devereaux said in the letter. If that happens, the Legislature could take up the issue again in the special session if there’s an agreement by the leaders of both parties in both chambers and Gregoire. That kind of OK would be needed because medical marijuana isn’t directly connected to the budget, which is supposed to be the focus of the special session.
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