Oaksterdam University

The 10th Amendment

Peace In Medicine

Teahouse Collective

Feds give “green light” to Washington State to implement I-502

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee receives the word from US Attorney General Eric Holder. Photo courtesy of Gov. Jay Inslee

By Jeremy Daw and Darby Beck

WCL News — Washington Governor Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson have reached an agreement with US Attorney General Eric Holder to allow marijuana legalization to go forward in the Evergreen State. The announcement confirms the existence of long-rumored collaborative talks between state government and the federal Department of Justice on the implementation of the voter-approved Initiative 502 to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults.

“Today we received confirmation Washington’s voter-approved marijuana law will be implemented,” wrote Inslee and Ferguson in an August 29, 2013 press release. “We received good news this morning when Attorney General Eric Holder told the governor the federal government would not pre-empt Washington and Colorado as the states implement a highly regulated legalized market for marijuana.”

The press release also states that “Attorney General Holder made it clear the federal government will continue to enforce the federal Controlled Substance Act by focusing its enforcement on eight specific concerns, including the prevention of distribution to minors and the importance of keeping Washington-grown marijuana within our state’s borders. We share those concerns and are confident our state initiative will be implemented as planned.” The reference to the goals of blocking access to minors and preventing interstate trafficking may signal a working relationship between the state and federal governments which would ease tensions between Washington policy, which allows adult use of cannabis, and federal law which prohibits possession for the general public. Senator Patrick Leahy (I-VT) has scheduled hearings on the tension between state and federal cannabis policy next month.

UCLA professor of public policy Mark Kleiman, who has also consulted with the state of Washington on implementation of I-502, recently released an article examining how a clause allowing cooperative contracts in the federal Controlled Substances Act – the federal law which prohibits cannabis – could legally allow reforms like I-502 to go forward if the state and federal governments cooperate on a policy designed to curb undesirable outcomes.

Reform advocates reacted enthusiastically to the announcement. “While we know the federal government has reversed course on this sort of announcement in the past, this has the potential to be a major advancement in the history of drug reform,” said retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, advisory board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs. “Allowing states to legalize and regulate marijuana will funnel millions of dollars of profits from the criminal organizations that have controlled the trade into the hands of legitimate businesses that check IDs and create jobs and badly needed tax revenues. For me, this means my fellow officers will be able to focus on their real job of preventing and solving violent crime, increasing their ability to do that job and returning honor to the profession of policing.”

LEAP executive director, 34-year policing veteran Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) had this to say: “This is the most heartening news to come out of Washington in a long, long time. The federal government is not simply standing aside and allowing the will of the people to prevail in these two states. The attorney general and the Obama administration are exhibiting inspired leadership. The message to the people of the other 48 states, to all who value personal freedom and responsible regulation is clear: seize the day.” — West Coast Leaf News Service

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>