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King County Sheriff to Testify at Pot Rules Hearing in D.C.

Associated Press

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws in Washington D.C., and King County Sheriff John Urquhart will be there to testify.

The Department of Justice gave the green light to Washington and Colorado to implement local pot legalization laws. But the Senate committee will take up some of the issues that remain unresolved. As a sheriff and former narcotics detective, Urquhart wants the committee to know he supports the new law because the war on drugs has failed.

“And that’s despite spending billions of dollars over the last 40 years and incarcerating a huge part of our population—many of those, people of color. Therefore, it’s time to try something new,” he said.

Urquhart says public safety will continue to be his top priority in enforcing marijuana laws. He plans to reassure federal officials that crimes like drugged driving won’t be tolerated.

“I’m going to respect not only the legalization, but the other aspects. For example, you can’t smoke it in public. I will enforce that,” he said.

The sheriff also wants to push congress to change federal banking regulations so marijuana stores can open checking accounts and take credit card payments. As it stands now, when stores open in June, it will be cash only.