Roger Goodman, a lawyer and Democratic representative of the eastside 45th District, is leading a band of lawmakers asking for the state's top attorney to step into the fracas over the state medical marijuana bill. Governor Chris Gregoire’s partial veto of SB 5073 last Friday left a patchwork of remaining provisions that "has thrown our state’s medical cannabis program into crisis," say Goodman and the 14 other legislators in a letter to AG Rob McKenna.

Lawmakers are seeking McKenna's advice to help craft a new bill that cleans up the veto's mess. For instance, the remaining Swiss cheese of legislation now mandates that a person may only serve as a care provider for a new patient every 15 days but bans dispensaries altogether (which eliminates a gray area in the current law that lets dispensaries serve several patients a day, one patient at a time).

To that end, lawmakers have asked McKenna three questions: (1) How would the state run afoul of federal law if it issues a dispensary license but doesn't actually violate the Controlled Substances Act; (2) what is the likelihood that state employees would be prosecuted for issuing licenses; and (3) how enforceable is Washington's original medical-marijuana law passed in 1998?

Although many argued that Gregoire's objections were a paper tiger—when she insisted that feds would prosecute state employees for issuing licenses to dispensaries—any new legislation must withstand Gregoire's souped-up veto pen before the special legislative session ends later this month.

It will be interesting to see if McKenna, a Republican, provides a legal analysis for the group of Democrats. If he does, he may once again counter Gregoire's claims that the bill she vetoed exposed state employees to liability.