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Norm Stamper Headshot

Washington State to the 'Other' Washington: Look But Don't Touch

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In passing Initiative 502, the legalization of marijuana, 56 percent of Washington State voters defied the federal government. In every corner of our state we weighed and debated the issue, broke down the economic and human costs of marijuana prohibition, and, in the end, decided that regulating adult possession of the weed was a very smart thing for us to do.

We now respectfully invite the federal government to look at, indeed to study our decision and its implementation. But we also ask the feds to keep their hands off our new law.

For years, decades, federal officials have snubbed science, avoided honest conversation, refused to debate the issues. With the administration (and Congress) rejecting calls to examine the economic, moral, and social costs of marijuana prohibition, the smartest thing it can do now is to monitor our incubator baby, give it a chance to survive and become a model for how to end an obscenely expensive and failed drug war.

Colorado passed a similar law, with 54 percent of the vote. With these two convincing victories, the administration should, at a minimum, work with Congress to remove marijuana from its absurd "Schedule I" drug classification, recognize its medicinal (and industrial hemp) applications, and respect the states' right to regulate a plant known to be safer than alcohol and healthier than tobacco.

I join other members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition in thanking the hundreds of campaign officials and volunteers in Washington and Colorado who worked tirelessly to make November 6, 2012 a day to remember.

This is how alcohol prohibition fell after 13 years. State by state by state...