by: KIRO 7 Staff Updated:
SEATTLE - King County Sheriff John Urquhart will appear in Washington, D.C., before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 10, his spokeswoman Sergeant Cindi West said Wednesday.
Urquart will testify on state and federal marijuana laws at a hearing titled "Conflicts between State and Federal Marijuana Laws."
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) announced the hearing months after Washington and Colorado legalized small amounts of marijuana for personal use, and only days before the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that it will not intervene in the states' implementation of their respective laws.
"I supported I-502 last year because, as a former narcotics detective, I can say with full confidence that the war on drugs has been a failure," said Urquhart. "There has to be a better way. And as far as marijuana is concerned, the citizens of Washington have decided legalization for personal use appears to be that 'better way.' Law enforcement needs to respect their decision."
As sheriff of King County, Urquhart is the top law enforcement official in the nation's largest local jurisdiction with legalized recreational marijuana. His testimony will focus on public safety priorities during and after the implementation of I-502. In addition he will testify on issues not addressed by the DOJ decision, such as "incongruous banking laws which will make legal marijuana sales a cash-only business," according to West.
In addition to Urquhart, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole and Jack Finlaw, chief legal counsel to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, will appear before the committee.