The old story, medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal, is the new story. Or is it?
Lately, the debate on legalized marijuana is bearing a striking resemblance to the hokey-pokey. With state and local governments calling the dance, dispensers are taking their open signs in and then taking them back out on almost a weekly basis. It’s hard to keep track.
Seattle has chosen sides. After a city council resolution to minimize the priority of marijuana possession crimes, it comes as no surprise that the city appears to be welcoming medical marijuana merchants.
Tacoma, well, not so much. Mayor Strickland appears to be saying no in a recent Trib article, but the negative doesn’t seem to have much of a punch. At question is whether or not there will be any enforcement on the current dispensaries.
What, exactly, is going on? The roadblock, or the grease, depending upon your point of view, is the federal government.
The federal government has purview over all scheduled narcotics, and knowing feds as I do, they’re not likely to give up any enforcement powers. Despite many western states’ attempts to legalize marijuana, either for medicinal or general use (CA, CO for example), the federal government is not a fan of cannabis. Congress’ makeup includes representatives from many states not inclined towards legalization, so any future that includes legalized marijuana will have to arrive through a lengthy congressional process.
This means that advocates in states more favorable towards legislation will need to put a few miles on their wheels and go east. That’s where the hearts and minds appear dead set against legalization. In the meantime, it’s a no go.
No matter what gets decided at our state and local levels, until our national government changes it’s mind there will be federal agents fully authorized and capable of serving a search warrant on any and every marijuana “dispensary” (note: those are federal quotes) in Tacoma, Seattle or any other city.
So no matter how the local efforts go, marijuana growers may only perceive a subtle difference when the cops come busting through their doors. The shirts will likely say “DEA.”