Even if you no longer have to hide your pot in Washington State or Colorado, definitely don’t bring your stash into a national park there. Technically you’re not supposed to be smoking in public anyway, even where it has been legalized. But my point, or rather the Associated Press’s point is, feds are still being obnoxious to anybody they catch with marijuana on federal lands. Case in point:
TACOMA, Wash. — Karen Strand didn't think she'd get in trouble for having a small container of medical marijuana when she went hiking in Olympic National Park this summer.
President Barack Obama, she remembered, had said the federal government had "bigger fish to fry" than people who follow state marijuana laws, and Washington state had just legalized pot.
But a ranger pulled her over on a remote gravel road, and Strand wound up as one of at least 27,700 people cited for having pot on federal land since 2009, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal court data. The number of citations is small compared to the hundreds of millions of visitors to national parks, forests and monuments each year.
But it nevertheless illustrates one of the many issues Washington, Colorado and other states face in complying with last month's Justice Department memo that requires them to address eight federal law enforcement priorities if they want to regulate marijuana. Among those priorities is keeping marijuana use and possession off federal property.
There have been several citations in both Washington and Colorado on federal lands this year following the states’ legalizaiton. Those arrested could face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine, but cases are typically dropped down to an infraction costing a couple hundreds. And, no, they don’t care if you are using it as medicine and have a legal prescription.
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