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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

April 27, 2011 at 4:21 PM

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Gregoire considering partial veto of medical marijuana bill

Posted by Andrew Garber


Gov. Chris Gregoire appears to be weighing either a partial veto or a full veto of a medical marijuana bill passed by the Legislature last week.

The governor at a news conference on Wednesday said "I'm looking at it only with what I can save. Not whether I will sign it."

The measure would create a system for licensing storefront dispensaries and grow operations, and protect some patients from arrest.

The governor indicated she would not let the bill survive in its present form.

"I cannot and will not subject state employees to criminal prosecution at the federal level. I think that would be highly irresponsible on my part," she told reporters.

She was referring to state employees who would collect fees or inspect and audit dispensaries and producers under the legislation.

The governor added "I don't even know that I could implement the law" because two U.S. Attorneys have warned that state workers could be subject to prosecution.

"If I ask state employees to do it, I don't know that they'd volunteer. I wouldn't," she said. "So I don't expect any state employee to volunteer. Therefore I can't implement it."

Gregoire said there are some aspects of the bill she'd like to save, if possible, such as a patient registry. "I think we need a registry to prevent arrest of medical patients," she said.

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