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A Spokane jury rejected arguments Thursday that the state's medical marijuana law should be interpreted broadly to allow for commercial dispensaries, convicting a supplier of multiple drug trafficking charges.
OLYMPIA – Washington legislators are spending some of their time on pot this week, discussing it both as a potential revenue source through outright legalization, and as an administrative problem stemming from the medical marijuana law voters approved in 1998. A day before the state’s revenue forecast, supporters of a bill to legalize cannabis, a term they prefer over marijuana, made a push to revive a measure they claim would be worth $440 million in a two-year state budget cycle.
Because Congress refuses to update the absurd Controlled Substances Act, states are trying to figure out the best ways to implement the sane and popular wish that marijuana be made available for medicinal purposes. It’s not the first time states have become the laboratory for ideas that are eventually accepted nationwide. By a wide margin, Washington state voters in 1998 passed a medical marijuana initiative, but the Legislature has never devised a system to implement it. This muddle has produced expensive police investigations and controversial arrests that have lost sight of the voters’ intent. Finally recognizing this, legislators are establishing a clear system for the purchasing and dispensing of medical marijuana. However, it has acquired some of the same out-of-date baggage that informs the 1970 federal ban.
A trial with statewide implications regarding the legal distribution of medical marijuana will go to a Spokane jury today after attorneys give closing arguments. Scott Q. Shupe, who co-owned one of the first marijuana dispensary businesses in Spokane, faces felony drug charges in a case that is challenging the legal interpretation of the law that allows Washington residents to legally purchase, possess and use marijuana for medicinal purposes. At issue is the legal phrase “only one patient at any one time.”
Marijuana advocates say Spokane has quickly earned a new nickname: Spokansterdam, a nod to the Dutch city where the sale and use of marijuana is legal.
Life could be tough for a Catholic kid in the 1950s. So Sam Diana got tougher. George Diana remembers the taunts he and his brother would get walking home from school in their uniforms: “‘Cat-licker! Cat-licker! Cat-licker!’” George recalled recently. “Other kids wouldn’t play with us and stuff.”
Several efforts are under way in Washington state to loosen marijuana laws, from fully legalizing it to making in readily accessible to patients who need it for medicinal purposes. A couple of bills have been introduced in Olympia and a voter initiative has been sent to the state for approval before signature-gathering begins.
BOISE – A statewide poll that’s been conducted in Idaho for more than 20 years yielded a surprising result: 74 percent support for allowing “terminally and seriously ill patients to use and purchase marijuana for medical purposes.” Just 23 percent of Idahoans queried in the Boise State University Public Police Survey said “no” to that; 3 percent said they didn’t know, according to results announced Tuesday.
BOISE – An Idaho lawmaker has introduced a medical marijuana bill, saying Idaho needs to save money in its Medicaid program and that medical marijuana is a much cheaper way to treat patients in severe pain than expensive opiates. That’s a big selling point in Idaho’s budget crunch, but Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, said that so far, other Idaho lawmakers haven’t been receptive.