Topic: marijuana legalization
You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
December 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM
A strange gap year in Washington’s grand experiment with marijuana legalization begins Thursday, when personal possession of pot becomes legal, but criminal laws banning marijuana growing and sales remain in effect.
That year gives the state Liquor Control Board time to create first-in-the-nation licenses for marijuana growers, processors and retailers. Until then, the only clearly legal way — at least, under state law — is for a medical marijuana patient to get medicine from a collective garden.
Jenny Durkan, the U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, sent out a statement Wednesday that regardless of legalization measures in Washington and Colorado, the federal ban on marijuana remains unchanged. But the statement did not come with any legal action by the U.S. Department of Justice to block the new law from taking effect on Thursday.
The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington state. The Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. Neither States nor the Executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance.
Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6th in Washington state, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Members of the public are also advised to remember that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses.
At a morning news conference, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes acknowledged that Washington is in uncharted waters.
“We are trying to substitute a legal, licensed system for what is nearly a wholly illegal system. That is going to take time. What we’re doing under I-502, beginning at midnight, we’re at least not doing any more harm. We’re not enforcing an extremely unpopular law against adults who choose to consume marijuana. But unless they are an authorized medical marijuana patient, they are already obtaining marijuana from illegal sources. Washington state is awash, as are most states, in marijuana, which is one of the points about what prohibition has failed in its purpose.”
A public celebration of the new law is planned at Seattle Center, beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Holmes reminded party-goers that public consumption of marijuana is now treated like alcohol, equivalent to about a $50 fine.
Holmes stopped enforcing marijuana possession cases when he took office, but he said Thursday he would enforce public consumption fines, should Seattle police issue them.
“I think the SPD will see how well people comply. If there’s unfortunate flaunting, and (people) want to test and see if the law will be enforced, well, I have better things to do with my time than to test the limits of the law. But we will enforce the law.”
November 13, 2012 at 4:19 PM
By CHRIS GRYGIEL
The Associated Press
Gov. Chris Gregoire says the federal government still hasn’t decided whether to take action to block new laws legalizing marijuana in her state and Colorado.
Gregoire met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole in Washington, D.C on Tuesday. She told Cole she would prefer to know “sooner rather than later,” because Washington state is in the process of getting ready to decriminalize pot, which is still illegal under federal law.
“I told them,‘Make no mistake, that absent an injunction of some sort, it’s our intent to implement decriminalization,”’ Gregoire told The Associated Press. “I don’t want to spend a lot of money implementing this if you are going to attempt to block it.”
Initiative 502 passed last week with 55 percent of the vote in the state. It decriminalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana beginning Dec. 6. The state would license the growing, processing and labeling of marijuana, but state officials have a year to come up with those rules before sales can begin.
Colorado also passed a measure legalizing the drug.
Federal lawyers are reviewing the two new state laws, trying to determine what their response will be, Gregoire said.
“It’s not a simple analysis for them,” she said. “There’s a difference between our two initiatives, and they want to look at that. They clearly want to know how things are going to flow, how regulations develop, how enforcement would be taken, taxes would be gathered.”
She said she pressed Cole as to whether the ultimate federal response would treat both Washington and Colorado the same way, and Justice Department officials indicated to her that that was their intent.
In Washington, home-growing marijuana for recreational reasons remains barred, as does the public display or use of pot. The measure also establishes a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence, and Gregoire says the head of the Washington State Patrol has to begin training officers to enforce that portion of the measure.
“He can’t wait, he’s got to start doing this,” Gregoire said.
Gregoire said she promised to keep the Justice Department fully informed as to the progress the state is making in implementing the new marijuana law.
Colorado’s governor and attorney general spoke by phone Friday with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, with no signal whether the U.S. Justice Department would sue to block the marijuana measure.
If Colorado’s marijuana ballot measure is not blocked, it would take effect by Jan. 5, the deadline for the governor to add the amendment to the state constitution. The measure allows adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and six marijuana plants, though public use of the drug and driving while intoxicated are prohibited.
Colorado’s new law also directs lawmakers to write regulations on how pot can be sold, with commercial sales possible by 2014.
November 1, 2012 at 7:44 AM
A new poll for KING 5 finds the governor’s race a dead heat as Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna enter their final days of campaigning.
With just five days to go until votes are counted, the poll found Inslee with 47 percent support and McKenna with 46 percent, with 7 percent undecided. That’s well within the survey’s 4.2 percent margin of error. The poll of 555 likely voters (including some who’d already mailed in ballots) was conducted Oct. 28 through Oct. 31 by SurveyUSA.
The tight gubernatorial race comes despite President Obama’s solid lead in Washington – he’s up 54-40 percent over Mitt Romney in the KING 5 poll.
The poll found support for gay marriage and marijuana legalization measures.
Initiative 502, which would license and regulate marijuana distribution was up 56-37 percent in the poll, with 7 percent undecided.
Referendum 74, which would legalize gay marriage, was up 52-43 percent, with 5 percent undecided.
Read more about the poll at KING5.com.
November 1, 2012 at 6:27 AM
A new study by a respected Mexican think tank asserts that ballot measures to legalize recreational use of marijuana – in Colorado, Oregon and Initiative 502 in Washington — could cut Mexican drug cartels’ earnings from traffic to the U.S. by as much as 30 percent.
The study, according to The Associated Press, assumes legalization would allow growers to produce marijuana at lower cost and create an illicit supply for other states.
Here’s the full Associated Press story.
I-502, on the Nov. 6 ballot, would regulate and heavily tax marijuana, which would be sold at state-licensed stores.
September 6, 2012 at 9:20 AM
The League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County is hosting a panel debate on drug policy reform and marijuana legalization at today, Thurs., Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at Seattle’s Town Hall. Panelists include two supporters of Initiative 502, which would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use – former U.S. Attorney in Seattle John McKay and former Spokane County public health director Dr. Kim Marie Thorburn. Commander Pat Slack of the Snohomish County Regional Drug Task Force will be taking the con side. I’ll be moderating and taking audience questions.
I-502, filed by McKay last year, decriminalizes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults and allows for heavily taxed and regulated sales of cannabis products in state-licensed storefront “pot shops.” It would set up state-licensed marijuana grow farms, legalize hemp production and pay for hundreds of millions of dollars of drug-abuse research. It also creates one of the nation’s strictest DUI laws regarding marijuana.
What would the federal government do if Washington voters pass it? What effect would it have on kids? Would it save money by diverting law enforcement away from marijuana possession cases? Would you bring a joint to your next dinner party if it were legal?
Send me you questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM
A new poll by Stuart Elway suggests most of the major measures on the November ballot could be in trouble.
While the measures on same-sex marriage, tax limits, charter schools and marijuana legalization are leading in the polls, only one of them – Tim Eyman’s initiative requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to increase taxes – polled over 50 percent.
“Because support typically fades as the campaign goes on, a ballot measure needs to be polling at 60 percent or better at the start of the summer to still have a majority in November,” Elway wrote.
The exception to that rule may be Eyman’s Initiative 1185, which reaffirms an existing law requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to increase taxes, or voter approval, he said. Elway’s poll showed it leading with 56 percent in favor and to 30 percent opposed.
“There have been times when the tax limitation measures beat the early polls,” Elway said in an interview. “They get better at the end.”
The poll found that 49 percent of voters surveyed planned to vote yes on the gay marriage measure, Referendum 74, while 39 percent would reject it. A yes vote would approve the Legislature’s legalization of same-sex marriage.
Elway said voter confusion over whether a yes vote affirms or rejects gay marriage could be costing the measure support. When voters were asked a follow-up question to clarify if they supported gay marriage, 52 percent planned to vote in favor while 40 percent opposed it.
State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, a key leader in the push for gay rights and gay marriage in the state, said the campaign is well aware of the issue.
“The campaign knows we have a problem around clarifying that yes means yes. We also know that this is going to be close,” he said.
There will be an advertising campaign, including on television, to try to educate voters, Murray said. Washington United for Marriage, the political action committee supporting R-74, has raised about $2.3 million so far.
Elway’s poll showed I-1240, which authorizes publicly funded charter schools, led by 46 percent to 37 percent. Charter school measures have lost three times previously, in in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
I-502, which would legalize marijuana, led 46 percent to 44 percent. That’s a far different result than a SurveyUSA poll released last week that showed the measure leading 55 percent to 32 percent.
The poll surveyed 405 registered voters from July 18 through July 22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
About this blog
Trending with readers