Senator feels vindicated, but battle still looms

In her attempt to tame the “wild, Wild West” of medical marijuana, Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center said she was vilified, received death threats and was depicted in a widely circulated caricature as having fangs and red eyes.

“The moment I introduced this legislation almost three years ago, my office phones lit up. Those who had been making their living – and a very good living at that – preying on those who relied on medical marijuana for relief, as well as providing children with unfettered access to marijuana, mounted a vicious campaign to paint me as the anti-patient lawmaker,” Rivers said in an email.

On Friday, Rivers sent a press release using a recent Supreme Court decision to tout the need for the legislation she worked on.

“The value of Rivers’ years of work to legitimate medical-marijuana patients was confirmed Thursday when the state Supreme Court issued its decision in State of Washington v. William Michael Reis,” the release reads.

One part of the court’s ruling reads the state’s medical-marijuana law “does not support the conclusion that the medical use of marijuana is not a crime,” according to the release.

The governor has signed the measure regulating the state’s medical marijuana market, Senate Bill 5052.

One of the more controversial components of the measure is to create a patient registry of medical marijuana users. Although the state legalized the use of medical marijuana in 1998, the market is unregulated and the state does not know how many medical marijuana users exist.

Rivers feels vindicated, but some lawmakers and medical marijuana activists, many of whom are worried about what will happen when the measure takes effect, say the battle isn’t over.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or Follow her on Twitter .

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