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February 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM
What if I dropped marijuana on the floor at Bartell’s?
Another burning issue has arisen with marijuana in Washington: What if some cannabis smoker drops a bud at Bartell’s, or leaves their stash at Safeway?
If this improbable event occurs, what is the store manager to do?
We’re talking about a substance that retails for upwards of $12 a gram. People don’t tend to drop trails of it like Hansel and Gretel with the bread crumbs. But imagine it. Picture some hapless employee of Walgreen’s finding a blunt tucked behind the Tylenol.
“Hey, look what I found! Is this what I think it is?”
“Lemme have it.”
“No way. It’s mine.”
Now comes House Bill 1808, introduced by Rep. Terry Nealey, R-Dayton, and Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, described as:
AN ACT Relating to the proper disposal of legal amounts of marijuana inadvertently left at retail stores holding a pharmacy license.
This bill instructs the drugstore employee to promptly call the police, then “properly dispose of the marijuana.”
There was a hearing about H.B. 1808 Tuesday in the House Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight. The reason for the bill was explained. Pharmacies are subject to federal regulation. That is why they can’t sell medical marijuana. It’s contraband. They’d lose their licenses.
Apparently some lawyer in the drugstore trade has had a hallucination about what would happen if state-legal marijuana were discovered on his company’s premises—on the floor, in the cash register, in an employee’s pocket… How could the company make it up to Uncle Sam?
The answer: have a legal duty to call police. More important, protect the drugstore owner by keeping a record that his employee called police. The cops wouldn’t need to do anything. “The intent,” said Hurst, “is that they decline to respond.”
“Don’t even call us,” said Don Pierce of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. “There is nothing we’ll do with that information.”
The unspoken message: Just say you called. As for the “contraband,” Pierce said, “I would suggest you destroy it however way you want.”