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Plan to ask feds to target pot use in states proves controversial

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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 1:50 am

    BOISE — Along with some Idaho Senate colleagues, Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello, on Monday opposed Idaho legislation that would have encouraged the federal government to enforce drug-free policies in states that have recently legalized marijuana.

    And a symbolic measure that sought to target legalized marijuana use in other states by sending an anti-marijuana message from Idaho to the federal government subsequently failed on a 13-21 Senate vote.

    “And, I think it’s up to the other states to work that out with the federal government,” Lacey said. “And … for this reason, I’ll be voting no.”

Lacey said much time has been spent in Idaho discussing the idea that the federal government shouldn’t be involved in states’ rights.

    The legislation — Senate Joint Memorial 101 — pushed by Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, followed the Nov. 6 ballot initiative that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in Washington and Colorado.

    “This Joint Memorial calls upon the President of the United States, the Director of the US Department of Justice and Congress to take appropriate action to ensure that federal drug-free policy is upheld in all states,” SJM101’s statement of purpose read in part. The measure reaffirmed the state’s “opposition to the legalization of marijuana.”

    Winder argued that the federal government should intervene nationwide when it comes to enforcing the law on marijuana – which remains illegal under federal law.

    “There is an appropriate place for the federal government, and it is to enforce interstate (drug) trafficking (laws),” Winder said.

    A related measure carried by Winder, Senate Concurrent Resolution 112, was promoted as an opposing response to the possibility that an initiative to try to legalize medical marijuana in Idaho is on its way to the 2014 ballot. SCR112 passed 29-5. Lacey voted in favor of that legislation.

    Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon, voted in favor of SCR112 and SJM101.

    In addition to Lacey, Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, also opposed SJM101 in Monday’s Senate debate. Pearce referred to Idaho as “a sovereign state.”

    “I, too, am absolutely opposed to marijuana use in every sense and phase,” Pearce said, referring to statements by previous speakers. “But, I also believe in states’ rights.

    And, right now, Idaho is out of compliance on the Real ID (Federal Act).  And I would not support another state that would say ‘Let’s pass a resolution instructing the federal government to go and correct and make Idaho get on board.’”

    The Association of Idaho Cities brought both measures to Winder.

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