|The Seattle Times|
"The federal government's policy, where states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, has been to respect voters' decisions"
~ Alison Holcomb, New Approach Washington
After last week's federal letters threatening Seattle medical marijuana dispensaries -- access points which have made a point of following state and municipal laws governing such shops -- the backers of Washington state marijuana "legalization" initiative I-502 had a chance to say something intelligent about federal interference in voter-approved marijuana laws.
After all, I-502 itself -- should it pass, as appears likely, in November -- will be in direct conflict with the federal Uniform Controlled Substances Act, under which cannabis is considered a Schedule I "narcotic" with no accepted uses and a high probability of abuse.
So what did I-502's main author, Alison Holcomb of ACLU-WA and campaign manager for 502 sponsors New Approach Washington, have to say in a Tuesday news story from the Seattle P.I.?
Well, let's just say Alison missed the grand chance to say something -- anything -- remotely intelligent about the conflict between state and federal law which is inherent in I-502.
Incredibly, Holcomb said there is no precedent for the feds cracking down on a state where voters have spoken, reports Joel Connelly of the P.I.
"The federal government's policy, where states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, has been to respect voters' decisions, work cooperatively with the states, and save enforcement for large-scale operations that fall outside the parameters of the law," Holcomb claimed.
This would certainly come as big news to the 23 Seattle-area medical marijuana access points that received threatening letters from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last week.
All were licensed facilities going by Washington's medical marijuana law, approved by voters in 1998, as well as with city rules; that apparently didn't make a dime's worth of difference to the feds, who ordered them all to shut down within 30 days or face arrests and hefty fines.
The "1,000-foot rule" cited by the DEA in ordering these access points to close exists only in federal law; Washington's medical marijuana law has no 1,000-foot rule. Thus, these shops were closed down -- contrary even to the stated policy of the Obama Administration -- even though they are in compliance with state law.
But remember, according to Holcomb, I-502 is "thoughtfully crafted to foster dialogue with the federal government."
If you call dispensary shutdowns and raids "dialogue with the federal government," then I guess you agree with Alison.
Otherwise, you have to ask yourself where she's been living the past few years. Sounds like a really nice place!