By: Meghan Ridley

Within the widescreen version of the war on drugs, the medical cannabis movement in Seattle sits as an undoubted focal point for the DEA.  And when the Drug Enforcement Administration sounded its horn on August 23, 2012, their message and misuse of words was strikingly clear.

By now most of us have heard the story: 23 “marijuana storefronts” in Seattle have been ordered closed due to their location within 1,000 feet of an “educational facility or other prohibited area.”  Broken down by numbers and locations, the DEA dosed 23 access points with their version of justice.  Timed epically alongside back-to-school season, whether you shake your head at or thank the DEA is up to you.

But behind the headlines and the closures sits an illuminated piece of nonsense that defiles the entire conversation.  Here we find the contrast in language—and overall perspective—as one of the most glaring issues.  How we’ll ever get to an understanding between both sides of this contentious argument depends on whether or not we can begin talking about the same thing.  And as long as we’re talking medical cannabis access point and their talking illegal marijuana distribution, we are effectively getting nowhere.

Dissecting the letter from the U.S. Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration reveals the level of conversation we’re actually having with the DEA.  The simple fact that the distributed letters were regarding an “illegal marijuana enterprise” showcases the perspective of a government that degrades state and local policy, not to mention, common sense.  Funny how something we know as medical cannabis access points can sound like such a threat to society with just a few clever changes. . .

Priming their pumps with political rhetoric has always been a strong vehicle for the Feds.  But with a movement as evolved and educated as ours, I have to believe most citizens are too smart to be listening.  Between the war on drugs and the war on words being waged, at some point, the Feds will have to start telling the truth.  Until then, the battle in Seattle for cannabis—and common sense—continues.




About the Author: Matt Brooks

Matt is a journalist from San Francisco who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than six years.

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