August 23, 2013 in City

Pot law adviser suggests pacts on enforcement

States could partner with U.S. government

OLYMPIA – A professor who serves as a lead consultant on implementing Washington state’s marijuana law has suggested that the U.S. Department of Justice enter into contracts with both Washington and Colorado to avoid a federal crackdown on state-licensed businesses that will sell marijuana.

The independently released paper written by Mark Kleiman advises a partnership between the federal government and the states, both of which legalized the recreational use of marijuana last fall.

The paper said that partnership could entail the Justice Department promising not to bust state-licensed businesses in return for a state pledge to crack down on illegal growing, The News Tribune of Tacoma reported Thursday.

Kleiman, a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles, said the partnership would rely on federal drug laws that allow for contracts with states on drug enforcement. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the idea is worth considering.

Kleiman said such a partnership would “prevent flooding the country with cheap pot.”

He said that because of lack of local and federal law enforcement resources, there’s currently little incentive for local law enforcement to curb black-market growing.

In his paper, written for the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis, Kleiman also puts forward an option in which Congress passes a law allowing state legalization under certain conditions. However, Kleiman acknowledged that’s unlikely.

The Department of Justice has stayed silent about what it will do as Washington and Colorado move forward with their laws.

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