Washington State legislators have approved a statewide initiative for possible November ballot that would allow the legalization of small amounts of marijuana by adults.
New Approach Washington raised over 350,000 signatures to qualify the initiative for this year’s ballot in November. Backers include two former US Attorneys from the Bush and Clinton administrations and Seattle FBI agent-in-charge. This initiative must go to the Legislature where they must either pass the measure as written, allow it to go on the ballot after either ignoring it or rejecting it, or finally put it on the ballot with a legislative alternative.
The main goals as stated in Initiative 502 would require the state to license and regulate marijuana the same as hard liquor and:
… stop treating adult marijuana use as a crime and try a new approach that:
(1) Allows law enforcement resources to be focused on violent and property crimes;
(2) Generates new state and local tax revenue for education, health care, research, and substance abuse prevention; and
(3) Takes marijuana out of the hands of illegal drug organizations and brings it under a tightly regulated, state-licensed system similar to that for controlling hard alcohol.
This measure authorizes the state liquor control board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age and older, and add a new threshold for driving under the influence of marijuana.
This is a step in the right direction taken by the citizens of Washington State to decide for themselves what should or should not be a legal activity in their state. If passed this November it would put Washington State in conflict with federal laws where it is still illegal to use, buy and sell marijuana.
The citizens and the state of Washington are legally within their rights to decide this issue based on the 10th Amendment which states; “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” No where in the US Constitution was the federal government givin the authorty to regulate what plants we grow or consume, this is purely a state power.
We at the Tenth Amendment Center think if passed the state will need to take further action to pass legislation informing the federal government that they have no authority delegated to them by the constitution or under the most liberal interpretation of the Commerce Clause to regulate what products are produced, distributed and sold in a state and the they will not be allowed to subject state sanctioned legal business with arrest or prosecution.
The Tenth Amendment Center would sugest to the citizens and legislators of Washington State that they look to our Model Legislation webpage for examples of legislation we have put together that can be used to protect themselves from the federal government and its unconstitutional laws. Amoung these are:
Intrastate Commerce Act
Provides that all goods manufactured or made in Washington state and all services performed in Washington state, when such goods or services are held, maintained, or retained in Washington state, shall not be subject to the authority of the Congress of the United States under its constitutional power to regulate commerce.
Sheriffs First Legislation
A “Sheriffs First” bill would make it a state crime for any federal agent to make an arrest, search, or seizure within the state without first getting the advanced, written permission of the elected county sheriff of the county in which the event is to take place.
As stated Initiative 502 is a step in the right direction but the federal government will not want to relinquish the power it has taken from the states and the citizens of Washington State will need to pass further legislation to protect its citizens.
Visit the TACs legislative tracking page HERE