On Marijuana Legalization, a Promising Year

Dec 27, 2011

Last Feb­ru­ary this page argued that pro­hibit­ing mar­i­juana was caus­ing far more harm than good, and that Wash­ing­ton should legal­ize it for adult use. We hold this view still, and have strong hopes for progress in 2012. A year ago, dis­pen­saries were open across the state pro­vid­ing edi­ble and smok­able cannabis to bona fide patients. For the most part these shops were orderly and peace­ful, though whether they were legal was doubt­ful. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, spon­sored a bill for the state to legal­ize them, licens­ing grow­ers and dis­trib­u­tors. It was a good bill, and the Leg­is­la­ture passed it. But after U.S. attor­neys in Seat­tle and Spokane warned that state employ­ees who licensed mar­i­juana would not be immune from fed­eral pros­e­cu­tion, Gov. Chris Gre­goire vetoed most of the bill. Her action, which we thought overkill, left things in chaos. Police shut down dis­pen­saries in Spokane, arrest­ing recal­ci­trant own­ers as drug deal­ers and forc­ing sick peo­ple onto the black mar­ket. In Seat­tle, Tacoma and a few other cities, pros­e­cu­tors have bravely allowed dis­pen­saries to stay open. Seat­tle has more than 100 of them. The dif­fer­ence here is not the law, but the dis­cre­tion of those who hold power. Kohl-Welles is ready­ing another medical-cannabis bill, and is nego­ti­at­ing with the governor’s office. Gre­goire should take some risk on this. The sci­ence behind med­ical cannabis is clear, and pub­lic opin­ion is clear, too. In no state have fed­eral author­i­ties arrested state employ­ees for doing their jobs. To her credit, Gre­goire does sup­port med­ical use of mar­i­juana, and has peti­tioned the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to allow it by reclas­si­fy­ing mar­i­juana under the Con­trolled Sub­stances Act. This is a peti­tion the Obama admin­is­tra­tion should grant. Then, there is the mat­ter of full legal­iza­tion. On Dec. 29, a group called New Approach Wash­ing­ton plans to turn in sig­na­tures on Ini­tia­tive 502, a mea­sure to legal­ize, reg­u­late and tax the grow­ing, pro­cess­ing and sale of mar­i­juana in Wash­ing­ton, allow­ing it for adults in small amounts. I-502 gives leg­is­la­tors three options: pass it into law, let it go to the Novem­ber bal­lot, or pass an alter­na­tive that would accom­pany it on the bal­lot. Leg­is­la­tors should let it go to the bal­lot. The peo­ple are ready: On Nov. 28, a KING-5/Survey U.S.A. poll found that 57 per­cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers sup­port legal­iz­ing the adult pos­ses­sion of 1 ounce. Above every­thing here is fed­eral law. Kohl-Welles’ bill, Gregoire’s peti­tion and I-502 all ulti­mately amount to lob­by­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, either for for­bear­ance or change. And on issues such as this, the most pow­er­ful lobby is the entire pop­u­la­tion. Legal­iza­tion: Bring it to a vote in 2012. Note: The Seat­tle Times edi­to­r­ial board expresses its sup­port for med­ical mar­i­juana and for the legal­iza­tion, reg­u­la­tion and tax­a­tion of mar­i­juana gen­er­ally, and hopes for change in 2012. Source: Seat­tle Times (WA) Pub­lished: Decem­ber 25, 2011 Copy­right: 2011 The Seat­tle Times Com­pany Con­tact: opinion@​seatimes.​com Web­site: http://​www​.seat​tle​times​.com/

25eb428897TITLE2.gif 150x112 On Marijuana Legalization, a Promising Year

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On Mar­i­juana Legal­iza­tion, a Promis­ing Year

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