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August 30, 2013 at 6:07 AM

The marijuana OK: It began with the initiative process

Gov. Jay Inslee on the phone with Attorney General Eric Holder, while spokesman David Postman and policy adviser John Lane look on Photo from Governor's office

Gov. Jay Inslee on the phone with Attorney General Eric Holder, while spokeman David Postman and adviser John Lane look on. (Photo courtesy of Washington state governor’s office)

Here is the value of initiatives: the photo released Thursday of Gov. Jay Inslee on the phone with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, being told that the federal government won’t challenge Washington’s marijuana law.

Inslee, a Democrat, would not support Initiative 502 when it was on the ballot. Nor did the previous Democratic governor, Chris Gregoire.  No encouragement came from the Democratic administration in Washington.

Democrats are the liberal party. Did it matter? No. Not on this. It was too sensitive, and state politicians were too scared to defy the federal government. It took a statewide public vote,  which was brought about by private petitioners, to move political leaders. It was the same in Colorado. And in the late 1990s medical marijuana was pioneered exclusively by public vote in California in 1996, in Washington, Alaska and Oregon in 1998 and in Maine in 1999.

The Obama administration’s decision on this is good. But remember how it started.

0 Comments | Topics: eric holder, Jay Inslee, marijuana

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