Litigation is pointless — propose a bill to change federal marijuana law

The federal law making marijuana use illegal is the issue, and our U.S. legislators should act promptly to change the law that creates the conflict with states.

Our elected leaders, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson once again appear to prefer fighting with the Trump administration rather than solving a problem. This time, they are reacting to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the federal government is rescinding two policy statements issued under the Obama administration, which basically allowed states to adopt rules for legalizing marijuana. Inslee claims Sessions’ move was “based on ideology and politics.”

Known as the Cole and Ogden memos, they announced the circumstances when federal government prosecutors were instructed essentially to “look the other way” and decline to prosecute the cultivation, possession, sale and distribution of cannabis. The federal law remained on the books, but it was to be, for all intents and purposes, ignored so long as the states imposed a rigorous regulatory scheme.

Cannabis is regulated under federal law by the Controlled Substances Act. Under that law and the accompanying schedules, cannabis is classified with heroin, cocaine and other hard drugs. The problem was created when voters in a number of states, including Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and California, legalized the personal recreational possession and use of small amounts of cannabis.

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The state and federal laws are now in conflict, and rather than trying to solve the problem,…

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