Gregoire asks Justice Department about marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, November, 14th 2012 by THCFinder
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has met with James Cole, deputy U.S. attorney general, to discuss the decriminalization of marijuana under Initiative 502. The initiative was passed by voters Nov. 6, and is to be certified Dec. 6 and go into effect Dec. 9. On its face the decriminalization here and in Colorado conflicts with federal law, specifically the posting of marijuana under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.
Gregoire, a former state attorney general, has been a cautious supporter of marijuana liberalization. She was for medical marijuana, but she vetoed much of the medical marijuana bill of 2011, sponsored by Sen Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, out of worry that federal agents would arrest state employees. In 2011 she petitioned the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify cannabis as a Schedule II drug, which would allow doctors to prescribe it as medicine and pharmacists to sell it.
She didn’t support 502 but the voters did, and she has a duty to go to bat for them. And she has.
Her spokesman, Cory Curtis, said she told Cole the state of Washington is going ahead with Initiative 502, first working with Washington State Patrol on enforcement of the driving under the influence law, for which 502 set a new standard. That is the smaller effort; the big one is the work by the Washington State Liquor Control Board to decide how to license and regulate cannabis growers, processors and retailers. This is to be done by December 2013 and is estimated to cost the state $17 million.
Her question was the attitude of the Justice Department toward all this. “There was nothing definitive from them,” Curtis said.
He said Gregoire told Cole she hoped the federal government would come up with some decision on state marijuana legalization sooner rather than later, before the state of Washington spent the full year, and the $17 million.
One of the things the federal government could do is act on her petition to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. But to satisfy Initiative 502, the rescheduling would have to be much more thorough than merely to post it under Schedule II, which includes such drugs as cocaine, opium, methadone, oxycodone, morphine and dexedrine. Under Initiative 502, which turns cannabis into an over-the-counter commercial product available to anyone over 21, marijuana should probably be delisted entirely.
Marijuana legalization: States send message, feds aren't listening
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, November, 13th 2012 by THCFinder
Voters in Washington and Colorado didn't just pass historic measures legalizing recreational marijuana use last week, they blew smoke in the face of Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and, by extension, President Obama. The bud stops at your desks, gentlemen.
Since the vote, legal experts and media analysts have focused speculation on how the feds will crack down on these two rogue states and show them who's boss. Will the Department of Justice file a lawsuit, seeking a ruling that federal law prevails and nullifying the results of the election? Or will the Drug Enforcement Agency start breaking down doors of pot shops in Denver and Seattle?
We'll probably get the answers in the next few weeks, but meanwhile I have a better question: When is the federal government going to get the message that the states are so desperately trying to send it?
Growing national acceptance of same-sex marriage attracts a lot of discussion, but the trend's got nothing on the changing attitudes on marijuana; although nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay unions, 26 states have either legalized medical marijuana use or passed laws minimizing or eliminating penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis, or both. In Alaska, for example, it's legal to keep up to 4 ounces of marijuana in one's home (as a service for non-potheads, that represents a lot more weed than the average person could smoke in a month) and to cultivate up to 24 plants.
A Gallup poll last year, meanwhile, found that 50% of Americans think marijuana should be legalized for adult use. That's up 4% from the previous year and the highest percentage since Gallup starting tracking public attitudes on cannabis in 1969.
What's happening in the states is a backlash against federal cannabis laws seen as draconian and counterproductive in that, like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, they have created a non-taxed underground industry and clogged prisons while doing little to decrease marijuana consumption.
Most absurd of all is that under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no accepted medical uses and is as dangerous and addictive as heroin.
If there was ever a justification for this, it ended decades ago. Although cannabis is hardly the wonder cure that medical marijuana enthusiasts claim, there is ample evidence that it has valuable curative properties, particularly when it comes to appetite stimulation for cancer and HIV patients. Moreover, it's widely considered less addictive than alcohol or tobacco and less dangerous to consume.
Colo., Wash. await federal marijuana response
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, November, 9th 2012 by THCFinder
DENVER (AP) — Two states that approved recreational use of marijuana are waiting to hear how the federal government intends respond to the measures.
The governor of Colorado said he planned to talk by phone with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the measures that contradict federal law banning the use of pot.
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., already allow marijuana use by people with certain medical conditions. Still, federal drug law outlaws use of the drug in all circumstances.
Voters in Colorado and Washington pushed the limits even further when they approved ballot measures Tuesday allowing adults over 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana under state regulation and taxation.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has said Colorado will respect the will of voters but added that he was awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Justice on how to proceed.
"In a situation like this, where our law is at loggerheads with federal law, my primary job is to listen first," the governor said.
Hickenlooper opposed the ballot measure and has downplayed the likelihood of a commercial marijuana market materializing in Colorado.
"Based on federal law, if it's still illegal under federal law, I can't imagine that 7-Eleven is ever going to sell it," he said.
Marijuana advocates hope the federal government maintains its current posture of mostly ignoring states that flout federal law by allowing medical use under certain circumstances.
The U.S. government has cracked down during the past two years on more than 500 marijuana dispensaries in several states, but no one has faced federal prosecution for personal use.
"It would certainly be a travesty if the Obama administration used its power to impose marijuana prohibition upon a state whose people have declared, through the democratic process, that they want it to end," said Brian Vicente, co-author of Colorado's marijuana measure.
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