Seattle, WA: Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske is flying from Washington, DC to Seattle on Friday to meet with the editorial board of The Seattle Times. Kerlikowske arranged for the meeting immediately after the paper opined in favor of state legislation, HB 1550, that seeks to regulate the "production, distribution, and sale" of marijuana to adults.
In an unsigned editorial published on February 18th, the paper’s editors stated: "Marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed. The push to repeal federal prohibition should come from the states, and it should begin with the state of Washington."
They added: "Some drugs have such horrible effects on the human body that the costs of prohibition may be worth it. Not marijuana. This state’s experience with medical marijuana and Seattle’s tolerance policy suggest that with cannabis, legalization will work — and surprisingly well. Not only will it work, but it is coming."
Following the publication of the editorial, Kerlikowske contacted the newspaper and requested Friday’s meeting. Speaking to the Seattle alt-weekly newspaper The Stranger, Bruce Ramsey, The Seattle Times editorial writer who authored the uncredited opinion piece, said the White House called "right after our editorial ran, so I drew the obvious conclusion… he didn’t like our editorial."
Kerlikowske is the former police chief of Seattle.
In a separate commentary published by The Seattle Times on February 25th, editorial page editor Ryan Blethen said the public’s reaction to the paper’s pot-friendly position was overwhelming. "It is rare we publish an editorial on a hot topic and receive near universal praise," he wrote. "But that is what happened last week when we came out in support of Washington state legalizing cannabis."
The newspaper’s editorial board published a second editorial in favor of House Bill 1550 on Thursday, February 24. The House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has yet to take action on the measure.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information regarding House Bill 1550 is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here: http://www.capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=24023501 or on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_143495259045041.
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