Seattle’s medical marijuana stores have been living in a dream. Some have been so complacent as to oppose Initiative 502, the decriminalization measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.
They didn’t want a state marijuana tax. They didn’t want regulation by the Liquor Control Board, and they didn’t want a blood-THC standard for driving under the influence. They had what they wanted, marijuana unregulated and tax-free, protected by the forbearance of liberal politicians.
Now they don’t have it. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has moved to shut down 26 of Seattle’s 145 dispensaries because they are within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or, in the case of a Shoreline dispensary, a public trail.
The DEA spokeswoman says all the remaining marijuana stores are illegal, too. An outspoken Seattle attorney now advises his cannabis clients: “Close, and close fast.”
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Closed doors are not what the people of Washington want. More than 58 percent of voters favored medical cannabis 14 years ago, and more people support it now. We believe they are ready for the next step, marijuana decriminalization for general adult use. I-502 is a vehicle for the people to say that. It is a way to push back against the Obama administration, which has been much less liberal on this issue than many had hoped.
Everyone involved in medical cannabis should support Initiative 502. It does not offer unregulated freedom; the people of Washington are not ready for that. We believe they are ready to bring marijuana above ground to license it, tax it and regulate its sale and use. Initiative 502 asks for that. It is a step forward.