Feds Throw Local Democracy Aside, Raid Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Pot-Friendly Seattle

Undergoing more than a dozen dispensary raids on Tuesday, Washington is the latest state to suffer under the strong hand of the federal government's assault on legal, medical marijuana. The administration''s focus on these programs does not only overlook states rights, but the voices of the people. Washington inhabitants have used ballots to throw their support into legal, medical pot, and they elected many pot-friendly officials, who have put their anti-prohibition platforms into practice. What's more, American support for marijuana legalization just reached a record high at 50%. Even more Americans - 70% - favor legalizing medical marijuana. 

NORML pointed out the discrepancy between policy and public opinion: 

Remember, these raids are taking place in Tacoma, which just had an election last week on this very issue of marijuana law enforcement: 

(Seattle Times) Tacoma voters easily passed citywide ballot Initiative No. 1 — the measure seeking to make “marijuana or cannabis offenses … the lowest enforcement priority” of the city.

After Tuesday night’s count, 65 percent of voters favored the measure, while 35 percent cast no votes.

And Seattle, which had made marijuana law enforcement its cops’ lowest priority in 2003 by a 58% vote:

(Seattle P-I) Since Seattle voters famously made the Emerald City a bit greener by mandating that cops mellow out when it comes to marijuana possession busts, a funny thing has happened.

Nothing. Nada. Nil. No crazy hopheads running amok with “reefer madness.” No groundswell of support to legalize the drug (at least no more than usual), and no discernible protest by law enforcement that a pro-drug message effectively has been sent — or received.

“I’d say it’s had little to no effect,” said [former] City Attorney Tom Carr, an outspoken opponent of Initiative 75, the 2003 ballot measure that directed Seattle police to make low-level pot busts their lowest priority. “And that’s good. It hasn’t been a problem. You can tell by the numbers.”

Seattle is so accepting of marijuana that the new city attorney, Pete Holmes, won’t even prosecute you for personal possession and believes marijuana should be legalized, as does the mayor, Mike McGinn.  Even the Seattle City Council is unanimous in their support for medical marijuana dispensaries.

To enter a state and raid businesses locals used their democracy to legalize is unacceptable. Where is the consideration, not just for the dispensary employees, but the constituents whose voices have been silenced?

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at November 16, 2011, 9:37am

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