Another meeting I’d like to attend

Last week I talked about the powerful and well-written editorial in the Seattle Times…

MARIJUANA should be legalized, regulated and taxed. The push to repeal federal prohibition should come from the states, and it should begin with the state of Washington.

So what was the reaction to that editorial? Yesterday, the Times editorial page editor commented on that reaction.

It is rare we publish an editorial on a hot topic and receive near universal praise. But that is what happened last week when we came out in support of Washington state legalizing cannabis.

The fact that a lot of people support the drug being legal is not surprising. Most people I know have long supported legalization of marijuana.

Knowing people who support it and public opinion about a newspaper supporting it are different things.

When people take the time to e-mail or call me about an editorial, it is usually because they do not agree with the editorial page. This editorial was different. The compliments rolled in, the discussion in the comments section of the editorial is nearing 600 and is interesting and thoughtful — which is not always the case — and so far the editorial has been recommended by about 3,000 people on Facebook.

Those numbers are nice to see, but only a minor part of the story. What the editorial has shown is that a broad cross-section of Washingtonians supports legalizing cannabis, or at least are ready to discuss the issue seriously.

Editorial boards across the country, sit up and take note.

It is possible, however, that there was someone who wasn’t as pleased with the editorial.

The Stranger has learned that immediately after the Seattle Times ran an editorial last week supporting a bill to tax and regulate marijuana, the newspaper got a phone call from Washington, D.C. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske wanted to fly to Seattle to speak personally with the paper’s full editorial board.

The meeting is scheduled for next Friday, an apparent attempt by the federal government to pressure the state’s largest newspaper to oppose marijuana legalization. Or at least turn down the volume on its new-found bullhorn to legalize pot.

Bruce Ramsey, the Seattle Times editorial writer who wrote the unbylined piece, says the White House called right “right after our editorial ran, so I drew the obvious conclusion… he didn’t like our editorial.”

Yep. I’d love to be in that room. What could Kerlikowske possibly have to say to that editorial board that has clearly researched the issue in depth, made a considered decision to run the editorial, and received near-universal acclaim for running it?

I’m not the only one who’d like to be in that room.

The Marijuana Policy Project is asking the Seattle Times to live-stream the meeting.

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