People of Northwest Public Radio
Tue November 20, 2012
Letter To Attorney General Urges Cooperation On Marijuana
A coalition of law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and federal agents have signed a letter asking U.S. Attorney general Eric Holder not to interfere with Washington and Colorado’s new legal marijuana laws.
The letter to Eric Holder was organized by the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, otherwise known as LEAP.
The communication asks Attorney General Holder to respect the will of the people of Washington and Colorado. Both states passed laws legalizing recreational use of marijuana by roughly a 55 percent majority.
Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper was one who signed the letter. He believes a big advantage is police will have more time to focus on violent, predatory crimes.
“And so we're convinced that by working with the community -- including those that for so many years have been victimized by these laws -- we can build an authentic partnership between the police and the community and create a climate of true, not cosmetic, public relations version of community policing.”
Stamper says in many parts of the country , pot laws have helped create bad feelings between police and minority groups. He cites as an example the 50,000 stop-and frisk marijuana arrests in New York city every year.
“NYPD and the citizens of New York blessed by the Justice Department can watch what we do, observe our two states, use us as a laboratory, and learn that not only will the sky not fall with legalized and regulated marijuana, we will see big improvements in crime fighting and citizen policing.”
Washington Governor Christine Gregoire met last week with Deputy Attorney General James Cole about the federal response to the state’s new pot law.
She says federal lawyers are reviewing the two new state laws, trying to determine what their response will be.
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