Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Tag: DEA

Nov.
17th

Recreational drugs: what was old is new

“The Greeks and Romans used opium, anticholinergics, and numerous botanical toxins to induce states of mental euphoria, create hallucinations, and alter their own consciousness.”

The quote, lifted from the pages of Dr. David Hillman’s book, The Chemical Muse, suggests that recreational drugs were an accepted part of both the society that created democracy and the empire that bent its knee to Caesar.  

The notion that mind altering drugs have been around a long time should come as little surprise. Today, the demand remains strong, regardless of the so-called war on drugs (or perhaps

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July
25th

Is drug raid a federal declaration against legalized pot?

Following the results of last November’s vote to legalize marijuana in Washington State, there has been much speculation about the federal government’s response.

With marijuana still illegal on a national level, officials from Attorney General Holder on down have been quick to reaffirm federal authority. They have also been frustratingly silent on what actions, if any, the various government agencies might take.

If actions speak louder than words, however, it appears the silent treatment is over.

On Wednesday, federal agents raided three Western Washington medical marijuana dispensaries, including a downtown Tacoma storefront operation known as Tacoma Cross (

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March
6th

Former feds’ fight against legalization a wasted effort

With all the sound and fury eight former DEA bosses are stirring up over marijuana, you would think that recent legalization measures passed in Washington and Colorado are the first sign of the apocalypse.

In an AP article (Trib 3/5) replete with infomercial appeal, “the onetime DEA heads issued a joint statement” (pot humor is mandatory in these articles) that the Justice Department should “act now or else it will be too late.”

Too late for what? Too late for the cartels who profit from illegal drugs? Too late for the war on drugs which is bankrupting our

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Nov.
10th

Legalized marijuana has arrived, but will it last?

“A solid majority” is how the Trib’s most recent article (11/7) described the passage of I-502. For recreational pot aficionados, Tuesday’s election results provided much cause for celebration.

While some might be tempted to mark the occasion by sharing a bong among friends, I would suggest reading the aforementioned article first. It clearly outlines some of the new guidelines stipulated by I-502, beginning with the date of the new law’s enactment: Dec 6, 2012.

Also included are: the legal limits for personal use- one ounce for people 21 and over; the DUI limitations, a complex restriction that

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Oct.
14th

I-502 discussion important – and entertaining

Many local and national issues await our decision on November 6. One of those guaranteed to resonate on many levels is Initiative 502, the measure to legalize marijuana. Its controversial presence on the ballot may be the final lap for legalization- but what a long and strange trip it has been.

Forget about jobs and the economy; that bitter and acrimonious debate is as full of rhetoric as it is never-ending. For shocking surprises, surreal parallels and unholy relationships, no issue has more political drama than the pre-election flap over legalized pot.

If the road up to this point has

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May
1st

Medical marijuana a hard sell to banks – an easy sell to recreational users

In the last couple of years dispensing medical mariajuana has moved out of dark alleys and into storefronts. As scientific research confirms its benefits, public perception appears to be warming up to the idea of cannabis as legitimate medication. In the near future this progress could lead to a stable industry that provides a secure source of a legitimate prescription medicine.

If only recreational pot users would stop sabotaging the program.

Medical marijuana remains a chaotic business model in large part because of the legalization advocates themselves. These folks  - who are vocal, if nothing else – loudly denounce the criminalization

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Jan.
17th

Some facts to consider in the marijuana legalization discussion

 

Several times over the last few months I have written columns on the controversial topic of marijuana. There’s been a lot to discuss. Legalization. Medical marijuana permits. Enforcement. I-502.

I based much of the writing on both my experiences as a police officer enforcing drug statutes as well as a few recent Trib articles. These stories ranged from status updates on marijuana legislation, a review of both Tacoma and Seattle’s stance on marijuana enforcement, and the results of an investigative piece wherein a reporter successfully applied for a medical marijuana permit.

The comments I

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July
30th

When it comes to marijuana the feds have the final word

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.

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