Martin Abegglen

Hemp Bill Vetoed in Washington State Over Budget Fight

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) vetoed 27 bills at the end of the legislature’s 60-day session last week, including one authorizing the state Agriculture Department to permit selected farmers to grow hemp for research purposes.

The Seattle Times reported the vetoes were the governor’s effort to get lawmakers to compromise on a budget and plans for K-12 education funding.

“I have remained willing to do any meeting, any time with legislators,” Inslee said in the report. “…You bet I’d like to help them, but fundamentally they have to, themselves, step up to the plate and make the hard compromises that are necessary to get a budget.”

The hemp bill (ESSB 6206) would have allowed for some farmers to become licensed to grow the plant in order for Washington State University to study the “feasibility and desirability” for industrial hemp in the state. The bill easily passed both legislative bodies – 48-1 in the Senate and 97-0 in the House – and could be reintroduced, and voted on, during the 30-day special session ordered by Inslee in order for the legislature to come to a budget agreement.

State Rep. Cary Condotta (R) took to Facebook to condemn the move, calling it “a childish fit of rage.”

“[The] governor has vetoed a number of really good bills including our hemp bill which was three years in the making,” Condotta wrote early last Friday morning. “I would hope that democrats and republicans (sic) alike would immediately start a re call (sic) campaign for this idiot who has never had any business holding this office to start with.”

Inslee did sign some bills at the end of the session with the “common thread” of health, public safety and law enforcement.      

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