Monday, September 23, 2013

How Exactly Will the DOJ Keep Marijuana Off Federal Land?

When the DOJ announced that they would not go after individuals who followed state legalized marijuana laws, they also did so apprehensively. According to their instructions, there were eight federal priorities that they wanted Washington and Colorado to address. One of those priorities was to keep marijuana use and possession OFF of federal land. This includes the many state parks located throughout Washington.

While state officials have no plans to license any stores or gardens on federal land, this is not the only issue at hand. Since individuals do not always adhere to rules and regulations, Washington is left trying to figure out how to enforce this rule—in order to stay compliant with federal requests. Another words, how do you keep backpackers, tourists, and campers from bringing legalized marijuana into Mount Rainier National Park or other national parks across the State?

In fact, just this year at least 146 people in Washington and 135 people in Colorado have been cited for bringing pot onto federal land. One of those people was former schoolteacher Melanie Cease of Seattle. She was at a secluded campsite in Olympic National Park when a park ranger approached her. He saw her empty pipe lying on the picnic table and immediately reached for his gun. With his hand on his gun, he demanded that she turn over whatever pot she possessed and then cited her for having a "trace amount" of marijuana.

Now, she is facing six months in jail and $5,000 fine for using her medicinal marijuana, even though it is now legal throughout the State of Washington. Sadly, she didn't even know she was breaking the law.

So how will the state and the DOJ ensure that marijuana remains off federal land? It seems that only time will tell. Until then, the media and others in the marijuana business are trying to get the word out and educate marijuana users about the new legalized marijuana laws.

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