Failed medical marijuana bill could mean D.O.J. intervention

Failed medical marijuana bill could mean D.O.J. intervention

SPOKANE, Wash. - It may have been quiet inside Cured Collective medical marijuana shop Friday, but the owner Joseph Corcoran was celebrating a win. Corcoran says the bill to regulate medical marijuana (SB 5887) was "a disaster for patients."

The bill would have limited the amount of weed patients can possess, raise taxes, and finally provided oversight on this unregulated industry.

Corcoran even put a computer up in the shop for patients to email lawmakers and show opposition to the bill.

"We actually became part of the political system and it's kind of cool," Corcoran said.

Representative Kevin Parker says differences between legislators on how to split the future tax revenue killed the bill.

"There's a lot of ways in which people are proposing that money get spent, but Olympia also has a habit of spending money it doesn't yet have," Parker said.

The U.S. Department of Justice was likely watching a key part of the bill that deals with regulation. The DOJ sent a memo in August to Washington lawmakers that stated they would not intervene if the state followed eight guidelines. Regulating medical pot was also included in the memo. A failed bill means one more year without it.

In 2009, the U.S. Attorney shut down medical marijuana in Spokane. Shop owners were accused of turning big profits on the drug trade.

Some dispensaries worry upsetting the DOJ may result in raids once again. Corcoran hopes they'll be sympathetic.

"It's a distinct possibility but...I would hope they would have some compassion for our patients and not buy into the hype that many of our patients don't need this medicine," he said.

KXLY could not contact U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby because he was traveling.

However, his office said "they plan to follow the DOJ guidelines." When asked if that meant dispensaries will be shut down or allowed to stay open, they just said they're "following the guidelines."