Pubdate: Tue, 18 Dec 2012
Source: Olympian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2012 The Olympian


President Barack Obama broke the silence late last week on how the
federal government will respond to voter-approved measures in
Washington and Colorado that legalized adult recreational use of marijuana.

The president said it is not a priority of the federal government to
prosecute recreational marijuana use in the two states.

Perhaps more importantly, the president acknowledged it's time for
Congress, the Justice Department and others to tackle the question of
how to reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana possession is
a federal offense with state laws that say it isn't.

While the president does not support legalized marijuana, that
shouldn't stop him from also working with Congress to amend the
Controlled Substance Act, which lists marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug,
in the same company with heroin, LSD and morphine.

The president's comments should come as relief to state officials who
have started work on a marijuana production and sales program as
allowed by passage of Initiative 502. For instance, without some
assurance of a hands-off policy by the federal government, employees
of the state Liquor Control Board - tasked with establishing the rules
for recreational marijuana in this state - would be working under the
threat of federal prosecution.

The president's message also is welcoming news for marijuana users
whose activities are legal under state law, but illegal under federal

Marijuana use remains a controversial and complex topic. But at least
the president has recognized what a waste of time it is for federal
agents to arrest and prosecute recreational marijuana users.
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