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The Real Reefer Madness: Medical Marijuana Regulation

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A smart politician picks Friday afternoons to bring out news sure to be received badly. So it was with Gov. Christine Gregoire's veto of key provisions in legislation designed to bring uniformity to the "gray market" of medical marijuana distribution.

"The real change lies with and must be made at the federal level," said Gregoire. She knows full well that antiquated, unjust federal laws are not going to be reformed given a conservative Congress and an election-focused, risk-adverse White House.

Increasingly, in this state and country, uniformity is going out the window. Peoples' right or ability to engage in certain activities has come to depend entirely on where they reside.

The feds raided medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane last week. They would catch hell doing likewise in Seattle and King County. State law appears to protect medical users who grow their own cannabis, authorize someone to grow it for them, or come together to cultivate their supplies. The feds can still raid, however, where they choose.

"I support allowing the medical use of marijuana," Gregoire said. Almost in the next breath, however, she noted that possessing cannabis to relieve pain is "still a federal crime," adding that this is an issue of "extreme complexity."

But a few basic truths need recognizing: Medical marijuana users cause no pain to society. They are about relieving pain. Pain knows no boundaries of political climate or geography. Does one set of policies apply in the city where Gregoire went to law school, and another on this side of the Cascade Curtain?

We still see about 800,000 drug possession arrests in America each year. The "War on Drugs" is a miserable failure, perpetuated only by the bureaucracy it spawns. The 40-year war hasn't stopped people from smoking cannabis -- use among teenagers is up of late -- and succeeds only in wounding reputations.

The best and brightest traipse above it. Our 44th president has written of teenage marijuana use in his autobiography. A youthful marijuana bust did not hinder the rapid rise of a top potential Obama challenger, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana. Future Vice President Al Gore lit up for six years before his election to Congress.

So, a legal tangle persists. The most we can hope is for the Washington Legislature, in its special session, to deliver up those slices of the brownie that Gov. Gregoire is willing to accept. It gives lawmakers something to do while budget negotiations proceed behind closed doors.

The bottom line: What you can do is coming to depend on where you live . . . this in a country whose Bill of Rights and recognition of privacy is supposedly a touchstone for the world.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: seattlepi.com
Author: Joel Connelly
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Hearst Communications Inc.
Website: The real reefer madness: Medical marijuana regulation
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