If what you say is true, the DEA would have preempted our medical marijuana law, which is also inconsistent with federal law. Our state already receives sales tax revenue from medical marijuana dispensaries, and sent letters to all of them stating that they must collect sales taxes.
Arizona licenses and regulates medical dispensaries, as does Washington DC. Seattle also issues licenses to medical dispensaries. There is no reason whatsoever to expect a preemption or a crackdown once I-502 passes. Part of the reason I-502 is crafted the way it is, is to show the federal government that this isn't a loosy goosey grow it wherever you want and however much you want bill. This is a responsible and modest way to move forward. No one pretends its the end of the line for the marijuana reform movement.
By the way, the letter Gregoire got was not from the federal government, it was from two attorneys giving their own point of view of what the feds will do. I find it extrememly unlikely that the Feds would intervene given the modesty of the proposal. Under 502 there is no "positive conflict" between state and federal law. The state will be issuing licenses and collecting taxes which they can do without violating the law.
First, let me correct one statement. The "threatening letter" to Gov. Gregoire came from Jenny Durkan, whose title is the United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington. She is, in fact, the legal arm of the Federal Government in Western Washington. If anyone were to intervene on the part of the Federal Government, it would most likely be Durkan.
It was her counterpart, Michael Ormsby, in the Eastern District of Washington, who ordered the closures of ALL of the dispensaries in Eastern and Central Washington. Mr. Ormsby is a true marijuana hater. To think that he would not zealously pursue anyone in the Eastern District that was growing and selling marijuana for recreational use it just silly.
This whole arguement that somehow the Feds will be too intimidated to intervene, or for some reason hesitate to close down the growing and sales of recreational marijuana to anyone over 21 because the law is "well-crafted" is simply a poorly crafted sales slogan coming directly from the paid media spinmasters hired by New Approach Washington.
Colorado's dispensary law was also passed by the voters. The law includes the highest taxes and the most restrictions of any of the seventeen states medical cannabis laws. Last year the Feds were not too scared to intervene and closed down 57 of these dispensaries....that ONLY sold to patients.
In Montana....the Federal Prosecutor closed down every single dispensary in the state and they are now looking at giving Chris Williams, a medical marijuana grower there between 45 & 85 years in Federal prison. And you think the Feds aren't serious?
Within the last month, the Feds have closed down 29 dispensaries in Seattle. Seattle has always be a "sanctuary city"....but no more. So far, the Obama administration has conducted over 170 SWAT style raids on medical cannabis dispensaries.
Which of these actions, all taken against MEDICAL marijuana growers and retailers, gives you the "feeling" that the Feds will simply ignore the growing and sales of 187,000 pounds of recreational marijuana in Washington State if I-502 passes?
The State COULD stop the preemption by the Feds under Title 21, section 903, of the Federal Controlled Substance Act, which gives the states the power to control controlled substances. In order to make that arguement in a Federal Court, however, the state would have to ACTUALLY legalize marijuana in the State of Washington..... and I-502 absolutely DOES NOT do that (despite the hype from the sponsors). Under I-502, marijuana will remain an illegal, Schedule 1 narcotic, under the State
Controlled Substances Act. This makes it impossible for State to challenge a Federal preemption in Federal Court.
I publicly debate the 1-502 sponsors at least two or three times a week. I'll be debating Alison Holcolm tonight in Thurston County. Her only response now is not a legal explanation for how they can stop Federal preemption, because they don't have one. Their standard answer now is that "it will be a political decision". And so was the closure of 29 medical cannabis dispensaries in Seattle this month. We have a pretty clear idea what their "political decision" is going to be and no indication that they'll show any restraint because this is "recreational" marijuana, in fact, logic would tell us that they will crack down much
harder on recreational sales.
Please don't be fooled by this Trojan Horse. All you will get out of this law is a Per Se DUID law that you'll have no defense for in court.
Manager & Spokesman
NO ON I-502 Committee
P.S. While Arizona has a dispensary law in place, the first one hasn't yet opened, so there are currently no dispensaries in Arizona for the Feds to shut down.