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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 19, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Marijuana legalization

Leave decisions to states

Editor, The Times:

The Seattle Times is correct [“Let states handle the marijuana muddle,” Opinion, editorial, June 18]: America’s ideal marijuana policy is one that allows “the states, and cities like Seattle, [to] discover what works.”

Legislation just reintroduced in Congress this week seeks to make this ideal a reality. The Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009, introduced by Reps. Barney Frank, Ron Paul, Maurice Hinchey and Dana Rohrabacher, would eliminate federal penalties for the personal possession of up to 100 grams (more than three and a half ounces) of cannabis and for the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of pot — making the prosecutions of these offenses strictly a state matter.

Passage of this act would provide state lawmakers the choice to maintain their current penalties for minor marijuana offenses or eliminate them completely. Lawmakers would also have the option to explore legal alternatives to tax and regulate the adult use and distribution of cannabis free from federal interference.

The federal government has much more important business to attend to than targeting, arresting and prosecuting adults who use marijuana responsibly.

— Paul Armentano, NORML Foundation deputy director, Washington, D.C.

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