With the marijuana legalization initiative in Washington State and Colorado set to officially go into effect in the next several weeks, several members of Congress are stepping up to ask federal agencies to respect the will of the voters. The 17 members sent a letter to the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration asking them to not interfere with the states’ marijuana laws. From the letter (via Rep. Jared Polis):
While we recognize that other states have chosen a different path, and further understand that the federal government has an important role to play in protecting against interstate shipments of marijuana leaving Colorado or Washington, we ask that your Departments take no enforcement action against anyone who acts in compliance with the laws of Colorado, Washington and any other states that choose to regulate access to marijuana for medicinal or personal use. The voters of these states chose, by a substantial margin, to forge a new and effective policy with respect to marijuana. The tide of public opinion is changing, both at the ballot box and in state legislatures across the country. We believe that the collective judgment of voters and state lawmakers must be respected. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
The members who signed the letter are Jared Polis (D-CO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Barney Frank (D-MA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Sam Farr (D-CA), Jim Moran (D-VA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Adam Smith (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) and John Conyers (D-MI).
I think it is interesting to note that three of the members who signed the letter are from Colorado, one is from Washington State, and one represents Detroit, which recently approved a local marijuana decriminalization measure. As politicians are shown that their constitutes strongly supports marijuana legalization it becomes easier for them to strongly advocate for it. Marijuana legalization is quickly transitioning from a political taboo to a winning political position in large parts of the country.
Photo by Jeffrey Beall under Creative Commons license