Let the stoners roll
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
In November, the majority of voters in Washington and Colorado cast their ballots in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use.
In Washington, it is now legal for anyone 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana; 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product (like pot brownies); or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquid. In Colorado, it is now legal to recreationally smoke weed and grow it at home (I bet that’s going to lead to interesting 4-H or Future Farmers of America projects).
The problem is, in Washington, you cannot legally grow or buy marijuana. In Colorado, you cannot legally buy marijuana.
And, in the eyes of the federal government, no matter what the votes or state officials say, marijuana is still considered a controlled dangerous substance and buying, selling or growing the laughter-in-a-leaf is a federal crime.
I don’t see how the federal government will be able to impose its own punishment on weed smokers in those two states, though. It’s sort of like a kid playing Mom and Dad against one another. Mom says no, Dad says yes; technically, if you do get in trouble, you have at least one authority figure to back you up or at least take on most of the blame.
During an interview with MSNBC, Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said since the growing, selling or possessing of any amount of marijuana is illegal under federal law, the Justice Department is “reviewing its options in Washington and Colorado.” The article did not elaborate on what that meant but I assume since the federal government controls anything via purse strings, if Washington and Colorado annoy the feds enough, D.C. could finds reasons and ways to strips funds. I’m not saying that is going to happen but that’s usually how it goes.
The MSNBC article also noted that while marijuana is still illegal in federal eyes, the feds tend to ignore those who use medical marijuana. (This is only my opinion, but I imagine the feds realize letting a cancer patient, for example, smoke a naturally occurring plant is more economical and physically beneficial than living on prescription morphine and opiates. That opinion comes from a different column topic, though, one where I could give reason upon reason as to why many terminal patients and others should have legal access to marijuana.)
There are a number of reasons why I support marijuana legalization but I do have some reservations. However, I think in a situation like this, the federal government needs to back off and give states a chance to prove they can control their own territory. Legal marijuana use might prove to be a disaster or it might prove to be what many marijuana users see it as – a personal, recreational activity that leads to the consumption of snacks and hours of “Looney Tunes” viewing.
There are better things for all branches of governments to focus on than stoners.
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