State lawmakers seek new pathway for medical pot

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- State lawmakers are pursuing a new plan to provide medical marijuana patients with easier access to the drug.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles said Wednesday she is optimistic that the Legislature can make some improvements to the system. A plan that she sponsored last year to provide statewide regulation was vetoed by Gov. Chris Gregoire because of concerns about whether federal authorities could prosecute state workers.

The new proposal would allow local governments to regulate nonprofit patient cooperatives, which could grow up to 99 plants.

Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis says the governor's policy staff members have been helping work on the bill, although she hasn't officially endorsed it. She is separately advocating that the federal government reclassify medical marijuana.