This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
Looks like another round of dithering from the Tacoma City Council on medical marijuana.
At the council’s behest, Mayor Marilyn Strickland is assembling a “task force” of citizens tasked with helping council members shirk accountability for letting a commercial marijuana industry fester illegally in the city.
The group is supposed to advise the council on whether it should tolerate marijuana stores, also known as dispensaries. It’s hard to see this as anything but an attempt to outsource the question to people who bear no public accountability for it.
The issue came before the council last year and has been hotly debated ever since; any council member who actually needed more facts on the matter at this point would do well to confess a case of terminal obtuseness and resign.
The council has had time to study the issue ad nauseum. It knows that every competent legal authority, from the city attorney on up to the county prosecutor and the state attorney general, says that the sale of marijuana is illegal under state law, including the initiative that legalized medical marijuana in 1998.
The law does allow collective gardens of no more than 45 plants shared by a maximum of 10 patients, who can hire a skilled marijuana gardener (no shortage of those) on a strictly nonprofit basis.
The Seattle City Council has decided to pretend that this explicit restriction somehow allows dispensaries to sell pot to unlimited numbers of customers.
For the Tacoma City Council, the question is whether to mimic Seattle’s toleration policy or actually honor the law. It ought to close Tacoma’s roughly 50 marijuana stores – which for some strange reason far outnumber the city’s pharmacies – and stick to genuine collective gardens.
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