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A Bill to Decriminalize Pot Is Popular with Voters—So Why Won't the Legislature Pass It?

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WASHINGTON STATE SUPPORT FOR REFORMING MARIJUANA LAWS
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NATIONAL SUPPORT FOR DECRIMINALIZING MARIJUANA
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RISING NATIONAL SUPPORT FOR FULL LEGALIZATION

Stoners get caricatured as layabouts who talk in circles, shrug off their responsibilities, and leave hard work to other people. But when it comes to reforming pot laws in Washington, it's not stoners embodying this stereotype.

As this year's legislative session begins, one of the bills still kicking around from last year's session—after it stalled in the state house without a hearing—is a measure that would decriminalize marijuana. The bill would replace the existing penalty for possessing pot (up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine) with just a $100 citation, like a parking ticket. A fiscal report by the state's Office of Financial Management shows the measure would save $11,283,360 a year in prosecution and jail costs. And relaxing pot penalties is plenty popular with voters. Polling data conducted in 2006 shows that 67 percent of state voters want marijuana possession to be decriminalized or legalized completely; national polls show a steady climb in support for removing all penalties for marijuana.

At first blush, pot reform in Washington appears to be making headway this year. The bill got a hearing in the house on the third day of the legislative session. But a closer examination shows the bill is likely to flounder. Despite plenty of reasons to approve the measure—again, it would save money and has strong statewide support from constituents—there's plenty of endless buck-passing in Olympia. When pressed, lawmakers end up talking in circles about it and pointing fingers at each other, at the public, at Washington, D.C.—all while waiting for someone else to do the hard work for them.

Like, say, a bunch of disaffected stoners.

Thankfully, a small minority of lawmakers are showing some spine. "It's not an issue about wanting to get stoned," says state representative Dave Upthegrove (D-33), prime sponsor of the house bill. "It's about drug policy that makes more sense and is more effective." But he says fellow Democrats are nervous about approving a controversial law that could trigger a conservative backlash.

If you ask state senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36), the prime sponsor of the bill in the senate (and another of the few with spine), the bill has a chance of clearing the senate but is facing a more difficult challenge in the house. Over there, house Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43) points to his assembly of lawmakers and to the chair of the committee in which the decriminalization bill is getting its start. "I don't control all the votes," Chopp says. (Quite a claim, considering Chopp is notorious for running his chamber with an iron fist.)

The chair of the committee in question, Representative Christopher Hurst (D-31), says he can't support the bill because it conflicts with federal law. A former narcotics detective for the Black Diamond Police Department, Hurst holds absolute authority to prevent the marijuana bill from ever leaving his Public Safety Committee. He claims that decriminalizing marijuana would confuse people who may sail into federally patrolled waters or drive into national parks; they could be prosecuted unwittingly for marijuana possession, he argues. But over a dozen states have decriminalized marijuana, including Nevada in 2001 and Massachusetts in 2008, and "no state has ever reported experiencing such a problem," says Alison Holcomb, drug policy director of the ACLU of Washington.

But then Hurst—who talks in circles when told the federal conflict has no play in low-­level pot prosecutions—also points his finger at Congress. "It is up to federal government to make that decision," Hurst says. "It doesn't rest with the states."

Next, Hurst claims, unbelievably, "Police don't book people for small amounts of marijuana. This idea that people are out there being booked into jail for small amounts of marijuana is preposterous." What's more preposterous—especially from a former cop—is that his statement is at odds with the state's Administrative Office of the Courts, which found that 12,463 cases were filed for misdemeanor possession in 2008, and 5,280 cases resulted in conviction. On average, defendants served 4.3 days per conviction, for a total number of 22,704 jail days. Even more frustrating, this information is in the fiscal note (prepared by the state) that accompanies the bill sitting on Hurst's desk.

Regardless, Hurst says, "I don't see the votes there in the house or the senate" to pass the bill.

While Hurst is trying to pass this hot potato off onto others, certain legislators want to pass it directly to voters in Washington State.

Representative Roger Goodman (D-45) recommends that, instead of hoping for the legislature to pass it, citizens should take the initiative by running a ballot measure. "Most [lawmakers] perceive that there is not a lot to be gained politically by taking this on," Goodman says. But Holcomb at the ACLU of Washington, which has been pressing hard on the legislature to pass marijuana decriminalization for years, points out that last year the senate voted the bill out of committee and none of the senators faced a backlash. She calls that "a strong signal to our Washington legislators that their constituents are ready to pass this bill."

Moreover, running a citizens' initiative typically requires 10 months of work and costs over $2 million—whereas the legislature can do it in a few weeks without spending an additional dime.

Still, some want to try going for broke with an initiative. On January 11, a new group called Sensible Washington filed an initiative that would legalize marijuana outright.

"There are just not enough people in the house and senate willing to step up and vote for it," says Philip Dawdy, coauthor of the initiative and a freelance journalist. With plans to get the measure on the ballot for under $100,000, the ambitious pot measure has more than an uphill battle. Passing it would be like climbing Mount Everest while fighting the Huns. But the steep fight of an initiative may be the only way Washington will ever change pot laws—even taking a moderate step like decriminalizing possession of small amounts, never mind legalizing pot completely.

"Sometimes you have to do things by initiative because the legislature doesn't want to do it," said Speaker Chopp, speaking about controversial proposals. Is the legislature shirking its responsibility by asking the public to pick up the tab for an expensive initiative? "I'm not advocating that we do initiatives. I'm just saying sometimes that's the way to get things done," he said.

Naturally, some lawmakers and citizens are fed up.

State representative Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36) has filed a bill that would completely legalize marijuana and regulate its sale like liquor. But—familiar story—Dickerson's bill doesn't have a chance because others in Olympia think it's too hot to touch. recommended

 

Comments (49) RSS

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1
Nice piece and thanks for mentioning our humble proposed initiative. Climbing Mount Everest while fighting the Huns sounds like our kind of fun. Sensible Washington's website is here.
Posted by Philip Dawdy on January 13, 2010 at 11:38 AM · Report this
2
hm no html allowed. it's at www.sensiblewashington.org
Posted by Philip Dawdy on January 13, 2010 at 11:39 AM · Report this
3
Well, we know the SuperMajority always gets just what it wants.....
Posted by ...youjustmightgetwhatyouneed on January 13, 2010 at 1:06 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
The reality is they're scared that, should they legalize MJ, they won't be able to provide Republican employers with cheap prison labor, hire GOP supporters as cops and prison guards, and then voters will actually vote in their own economic self interest.

Remember how Canada became a gang-infested gun-wielding haven after MJ was reduced to a traffic fine? .... oh, wait, the opposite happened.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 13, 2010 at 1:30 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
@2 - thanks for the link - only registered commenters get to link URLs.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 13, 2010 at 1:31 PM · Report this
6
I would like to know how much my portion would be for the initiative, and gets my the check? I'll sign on the line and circulate petitions or volunteer time. Sensible legislation is in the eye of the beholder, but this is what I see here.
Posted by Nuclear Marc on January 13, 2010 at 2:00 PM · Report this
7
You know why;it is because most of the state legislators are OWNED by people who have a vested interest in keeping cannabis illegal(think Big Pharma;Big Lumber;Big Tobacco;Big Booze;Big Cotton;Big Fossil Fuels;Big Fish&Meat&Poultry,etc.etc.).Read Jack Herer's book about the 'Emperor'....
Posted by 5th Columnist on January 13, 2010 at 2:24 PM · Report this
8
Most state legislators - in ALL states - are Korporate whores;they wipe their asses with YOUR votes,then they take the big money from their partners in crime:Big Boooze;Big Pharma;Big Tobacco;Big Lumber;Big Cotton;Big Fossel Fuel,etc.etc..Especially the senates.You'll need to do what California recently did - get enough signatures to for an initiative - to get cannabis RE-legalized here.
Posted by 5th Columnist on January 13, 2010 at 2:29 PM · Report this
9
Alcohol prohibition ended when jurors would no longer convict anyone of an alcohol related crime. Marijuana prohibition is ending the same way. It is getting hard for prosecutors to get a conviction on a marijuana charge. It only takes one person to hang a jury and cause a mistrial. They probably won't re-try.
Everyone should check out the website of the fully informed jury association (fija.org).
Posted by Brian Moritz http://brianmoritz.com on January 13, 2010 at 8:16 PM · Report this
10
Ya know, 5th Columnist, one of the side effects of too much MJ is paranoia…

Do we really want to legalize another addictive intoxicant? Alcohol cost our nation billions of dollars each year. Legalize pot will only add if not multiply these cost.

(To be fair, I don’t understand why farmers can’t grow hemp for use in the textile industry.)

I see Dominic Holden is lighting up again. He champions only two issues:

a. Gay issues
b. Pot legalization

He definitely is a two trick pony…

Forget the unnecessary 2.6 billion dollar state deficit, an idiot US Senator who is up for her 4th term in the US Senate, Boeing flying out of our state at supersonic speed. How about what would happen if a Haiti disaster hypothetically hit Washington State? Why is our State Capital near a coast that is not only subject to earthquakes but tsunamis and volcanoes?

Holden writes, and only writes about his two concerns:

a. Gay issues
b. Pot legalization


Nice to know that his issues are covered…
Posted by Not again... on January 14, 2010 at 4:51 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 11
@ 10) Here's my "two issue" author archive: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Autho…
Posted by Dominic Holden on January 14, 2010 at 8:37 AM · Report this
I'm 85 Years Old 12
@10 re: 11. Sounds like the only issues to pay attention to are

1. gay
or
2. pot
Posted by I'm 85 Years Old on January 14, 2010 at 9:31 AM · Report this
I'm 85 Years Old 13
@10 re: 11. Sounds like the only issues you pay attention to are

1. gay
or
2. pot

two track mind.
Posted by I'm 85 Years Old on January 14, 2010 at 9:31 AM · Report this
14
@10: Dominic Holden's excellent work should be obvious to anyone who pays attention. He and his cohorts at The Stranger have by far the most talented team of editorial writers in this town. The only person who is in their league and works elsewhere is David Horsey.

Regarding your other ridiculous argument: Are you suggesting we bring back prohibition? If so, I suggest you read your history books or talk to some really old folks. If not, what makes Marijuana prohibition so much better than alcohol prohibition. Is it because it isn't as harmful, or is it because it isn't addictive? Your arguments make no sense, no matter how many bong hits you take.
Posted by Ross on January 14, 2010 at 9:55 AM · Report this
15
As far as the initiative goes, this brings up an interesting topic. When The Stranger pushed for the release of the names of the people who signed referendum 71, I was too lazy to write a response. So, I'll write what I wanted to write back then:

I believe the release of the names of those who sign an initiative will set an awful precedent. What if, at some later date, people want to sign a different initiative that is vehemently opposed by a handful of loonies. What if, for example, the Republicans take control of the state legislature and pass a law banning abortion in most cases. I would love to sign an initiative reversing that law, but would fear that doing so might lead to an attack on my property or person.

Similarly, what if folks try and get Marijuana legalized. If the initiative signing is private, a lot of people will sign it; release the names and lots of pot smokers will think twice. The initiative process only makes sense if our representatives have no guts. The marijuana initiative is a prime example of that. Unfortunately, revealing names requires the citizens to have more courage than our representatives.
Posted by Ross on January 14, 2010 at 10:06 AM · Report this
16
Hallelujah!
Posted by betterplace on January 14, 2010 at 10:39 AM · Report this
ViennaSt 17
To #5 - science does not support your claim that marijuana is addictive.

It's not just a matter of ILLEGAL vs. FREE FOR ALL LEGAL! There is a grey area-let's explore, shall we!

Let's just take a look about how drugs are categorized (Scheduled) by the FDA-from heroine all the way to your prescribed pain killers.
Schedule I: highly addictive, no remedial applications and/or harmful effects >>> benefits, off causes extreme physical dependence/withdraws, can kill you in large amounts, etc. Drugs in this category are illegal!

Then it goes down to Schedule II (some of the most addictive pain killers are here), III, and IV, with IV being the most tame drugs with the benefits WAY outwaying harmful side effects.
note-(alcohol/nicotine are NOT Scheduled or regulated by the FDA, rather the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.)

Right now Marijuana is a Schedule I (right alongside heroine and crack-cocaine.) Yet, decades and decades of research have refuted all the original claims regarding pot's "dangers." No, you cannot overdose, it's not addictive, no physical dependence, and it's remedial applications have penetrated some of our most debilitating diseases and given millions relief who would otherwise be suffering from diseases like arthritis, chronic pain or weight loss from cancer, depression, the list goes on.

So I suggest the FDA reevaluate and reschedule this drug into it's PROPER Schedule (probably III or IV. Along with decriminalization, America might just solve this backward-ass 60 year issue with marijuana. One more suggestion-let's base our opinions and decisions regarding this issue off SCIENCE, not what you have been taught as "moral" by commentators/your elders growing up/or personal experiences of that little micro-world you live in. Propagation of invalid and illogical information might just be the greatest sickness of our society.
More...
Posted by ViennaSt on January 14, 2010 at 10:40 AM · Report this
18
Dominic,

Nice how you failed to mention the SERIOUS flaws with BOTH these bills...or did you purposely ignore them? SB1177 is total entrapment for patients and the public alike. This bill would be a disaster for anyone outside of Seattle. If you refuse to read these bills carefully, do your readers a favor and try that prior to writing glowing articles on bad legislation.

Simply because someone calls a bill "pro marijuana" doesn't mean that it's good legislation or that it should be supported by the medical marijuana community.

Steve Sarich
CannaCare
Posted by CannaCare on January 14, 2010 at 7:19 PM · Report this
19
Decriminalizing is a good start. But the violence and crime associated with dealing won't go away until I can grow in my backyard and sell it to my friends. Or buy from some enterprising organic farmers. Where can I sign the initiative petition??
Posted by thepwnerer on January 14, 2010 at 7:32 PM · Report this
20
Perhaps folks wanting to get this initiative to the ballot should work to have their names withheld from public disclosure, just like what's going on with Ref. 71. If gay haters can go down that road because of a p e r c e i v e d threat of retaliation, than pot smokers and supporters should definitely go there due to a r e a l threat of retaliation by law enforcement, informants, employers, et al. Just a thought...
Posted by betterplace on January 14, 2010 at 11:46 PM · Report this
21
Representative Mary Lou Dickerson is a complete idiot! Jeanne Kohl-Welles is a good family friend of mine and when I talked with her last, Kohl-Welles told me that she presented her bill (the one to decriminilize marijuana) to Dickerson to get her support so that they could just pass this bill and then hopefully pass one to legalize it in years to come. Then, Dickerson went behind her back and without telling her came up with her own bill to legalize. While I am all for legalizing it, the first step needs to be decriminilization, THEN legalization!
Posted by TK206 on January 15, 2010 at 12:33 AM · Report this
22
@ 21 why does decriminalization have to be the first step? If you legalize you essentially decriminalize as well. I took the time out to watch the hearing, needless to say I wasn't surprised when I heard the LEO's giving the same 10 second testimony of lies. I agree the bills have some awful holes (home grow, medical patient issues) those revisions would have to go through before either of those bills get passed on in my opinion. Representative Goodman made an excellent point on the testing for impaired drivers, people who smoke marijuana and drive, guess what? They are GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY. This is why we have LAWS in place to deal with people who DRIVE WHILE IMPAIRED. Alcohol is perfectly legal and way more harmful than Cannabis. People drink and drive all the time and kill people. Regardless of Marijuana's legality that is going to happen. If it was regulated kids would have a much harder time getting it. Look at alcohol. I can tell you first hand it is easier for an underaged invidual to get his or her hands on marijuana than alcohol. All of these draconic views on Cannabis and endless endless false propaganda is getting OLD. The people will put this one through with an initiative ballot if they do not pass it. I will reiterate this. The bills need the revisions for home grow and medical patients before they can go through. You don't need to decrim first, legalization does the same thing. Anyone who is against marijuana legalization is just a hypocrite, Tobacco and Alcohol, perfectly legal and more addictive and harmful for you than Cannabis. Cannabis has NEVER been DIRECTLY related to death. You will not die from smoking straight up weed. Alcohol and Tobbacco can and does kill people. Smarten up people, stop telling us what you heard when Nixon was around.
More...
Posted by Chris from NY on January 15, 2010 at 4:54 AM · Report this
23
A drug's legality or not does not depend on its pharmacological properties. In the beginning a drug is outlawed to hold down the drug's users, people we've been told are harming society in one way or another. Then the policy takes on a life of its own in the egos, careers and stock portfolios of its supporters.
Posted by John Chase on January 15, 2010 at 4:58 AM · Report this
24
I forgot to add another reason why under-aged individuals would have a harder time getting it. Ok, so marijuana gets legalized, regulated and sold. They will match street price. This cuts out all the small time dealers because they won't be able to compete. This will kill the drug cartel because the demand through the dealer grapevine will shorten and it will no longer be worth their time. Kids get from small time dealers, small time dealers get cut out with legalization, they cannot compete.
Posted by Chris from NY on January 15, 2010 at 5:00 AM · Report this
25
That guy should have asked the kid...

"How many kids in your school are selling beer, cigarettes and Oxycontin?"

Then asked...

"How may kids in your school are on FDA approved DRUGS that are known to have DEATH, PERMANANT LIVER DAMAGE or INCREASED SUICIDE as one of the side-effects?"

Then asked...

"Would you feel safer in school if you knew that the few idiots selling marijuana, did not need to carry guns to protect themselves form other dealers and the cops?"

Then say...

"Wait, you said that many kids in your school have easy access to drugs... That is exactly why we are here today, trying to change that, not ensure that it gets worse in time, as it has since these old laws were enacted."
Posted by JasonD http://www.marijuanaclasses.com on January 15, 2010 at 6:11 AM · Report this
26
I agree 25 that kid was very confused it seemed. And unfortunately he didn't get a chance to clarify because he got cut off due to time constraints.
Posted by Chris from NY on January 15, 2010 at 6:55 AM · Report this
i'm pro-science and i vote 27
The fight to keep it illegal is already a lost battle, at least with my generation. Too many of us have smoked it which means too many of us realize it does not endanger others or cause insanity. Unlike the boomers we don't seem to be so shy or shameful about having experienced it. I don't even know any conservatives around my age (30) who want to keep it illegal. it's just a matter of time, and within that time in WA state tens of millions more $s will be blown on this wasted effort (criminalization of pot) and tens of thousands more days of jail will be served, all for nothing. The squares make no sense and are on the wrong side of history, as usual.
Posted by i'm pro-science and i vote http://www.prettyopenended.com on January 15, 2010 at 12:51 PM · Report this
28
PLEASE, EVERYONE READ THE BILLS,ESPECIALLY HB2401.
HB2401 WILL GUT OUR EXISTING MED-MJ LAW 69.51 RCW.
ESPECIALLY READ SECTION 86 ,AND THE END OF THE BILL, WHERE IT REPEALS THE LEGAL PROTECTIONS OF THE MED-MJ LAW....ALSO, THERE IS NO PROVISION FOR PEOPLE TO GROW THEIR OWN. SO IF YOU ARE A MED-MJ PATIENT YOU WILL BE FORCED TO BUY YOUR MEDICINE AT THE STATES LIQUOR STORES, WILL THEY TAX YOUR MEDICINE?
THE ONLY WAY TO GET WHAT WE WANT IS TO FORCE THE INITIATIVE BY SENSIBLE WASHINGTON DOWN THEIR THROATS, PLEASE SUPPORT THE INITIATIVE.
Posted by LLLou on January 16, 2010 at 9:23 AM · Report this
29
WILL IN SEATTLE
Actually both bills if passed will not deplete the amount of LEO's out there ,in the case of HB2401 it might actually increase police activity,because growers will have to be licensed ($500 per year) illegal grows will still be illegal,anyone caught with cannabis that does not have the state stamp on it will be busted, PLUS,if HB2401 passes it will eliminate Med_MJ ,no more personal growing,no more dispensaries ..READ THEM!
Posted by LLLou on January 16, 2010 at 10:01 AM · Report this
30
#24
IF HB2401 get passed how will that prevent any adult from going into a state store ,buying an oz. and then go out and sell it to a minor,with a little mark-up of course.I think you are wrong.
The state will try to maximize the profits from cannabis, licensed growers will be regulated by the state,the drug cartels just have to undercut the states price.
Posted by LLLou on January 16, 2010 at 10:18 AM · Report this
31
@30
What prevents kids from doing that with alcohol or cigarettes right now? It has been said time and time again - if someone (even minors) wants to drink alcohol or smoke pot, they'll do it whether its legal or not.

It can almost be guaranteed that if the State starts selling WA-State branded weed, the cartels are SOL. Why would you buy illegally from a dude in the alley when you could walk down to the store and buy a safe, known product that is legal? Last time I checked, moonshiners were pretty much nonexistent.

Stop rehashing the same stale arguments over and over again.
Posted by legalize it on January 16, 2010 at 4:42 PM · Report this
32
With regard to the idea that legalizing pot will lead to more underage smoking I have to say that I started smoking pot in high school largely because it was easier to get a hold of than illegal (for me, then) beer, which was sold in every grocery store in the state. Legalizing pot for adults will make it harder for underage folks to get it, as it financially undercuts the illegal marijuana industry. As 40-something gen-Xer I have to say that pot prohibition has never had any impact on my ability to obtain or use marijuana; its absurd to think that I or anybody else of legal age will indulge in it more than we do now.
Posted by minor city bureaucrat on January 16, 2010 at 6:12 PM · Report this
ramanan50 33
If legalizing marijuana is because of the running cost for law enforcement so is enforcement of Law and Order for murder and heists.Shall we dispense with them as well? Marijuana is harmful, however one may try to justify it.This proposed measure shall prove harmful to the society in the long run and wreck family.
Posted by ramanan50 http://ramanan50.wordpress.com on January 17, 2010 at 7:06 AM · Report this
34
33 - Can you show the proof that legalising marijuana is 'harmful to society' or 'wrecks families'?

Nearly half of Australia's population has or does smoke pot. I think we're the biggest smokers in the world at 47% - (The Netherlands is 18%).

I suffer from a couple of debilitating mental illnesses that work in conjunction with each other to cause me pain. Like ripping my skin off pain, only in my head. Marijuana is the one drug that will pull me out of a psychosis, ironically.

The one drug that has an instant effect. Sometimes, I'll be suicidally depressed, and I'll have a plan in place and everything, and I'll smoke some pot, and I get really angry, because I become positive and happy and start talking about the future like I'm looking forward to it.

Thank God in heaven for marijuana.
Posted by Renstar Deluxe on January 17, 2010 at 7:41 AM · Report this
35
#31; nothing keeps kids from getting alcohol,tobacco,or marijuana ,my point is that having a state store selling "legal" marijuana will not end the illegal use of it by children, they will just be smoking "state legal" marijuana.
#33; it is a matter of results, after all these years of billions of dollars spent and lives ruined by the laws against cannabis, what are the results.....also ask yourself,who is the victim if I grow cannabis in my garden and ingest it ,who is harmed.. It is the unjust laws against cannabis that do the harm to families, not the weed itself, and as far as it being "harmful" to society, well that sort of depends on your image of what society is or should be .I would much rather live in a world of Cannabis eaters than the world as it is in most US cities today, where unjust laws create drug cartels,and imprison users,instills paranoia in it's citizens.
AUSSIE DUDE, work to legalize Cannabis in Australia,,,
Posted by LLLou on January 17, 2010 at 8:37 AM · Report this
36
legalizing cannabis is the sensable thing to do. it seems like those opposed tend to throw fact out the window and steep their views in assumptions and myths. if everyone did serious reaserch to find the facts they would see just how silly they look. the bills need to have medical users included for growing. I am not currently using as meds or relaxation. but have in the past with no ill effects at all. I have watched my mom get beat by my step father while he was drunk when i was young. would that have happened if cannabis was used? very unlikely! I have yet to see a single fight or domestic violence case in all the years i did use cannabis. but i did see 100's of fights from people using alcohol. I honestly don't see the problem with legal cannibis. give us the opportunity to use a safer way to relax and unwind. If i had the choice between riding in a car with someone that smoked a joint, or just pounded down 3 beers i would pick the canabis users car every time hands down. smoking 1 joint impairs your motor skills less the a person blowing a .05, .08 is legaly drunk. So i guess potentialy making the roads safer in that respect scares people. if you can't smoke pot your going to get drunk when you feel like getting intoxicated. thus making the roads less safe the way things are now. it's time to legalize. do your research and then make your remarks. don't waste our time reading myths,goofy assumptions and lies from the propaganda machine. Any lawmaker that won't make laws using facts is not a lawmaker i will ever vote for. They most likely will be swayed by their corprate lobbiest friends, or are just to stupid to be creating laws in the first place. it's the people that hire them not big business, though that can be hard to see at times. a good lawmaker will legalize canabis due to the facts. a poor lawmaker will be afraid to pass legalization because the ill informed might not vote for them next time. i guess we will see who the good lawmakers truely are this time.
More...
Posted by reality should count on January 17, 2010 at 7:22 PM · Report this
37
A democratically controlled legislature not passing a bill with popular support?

Sounds like health care. Over 60% polled nationwide would support a medicare like system that would cover everyone and paid for by taxes. But single payer wasn't even included in the committee debates and Pelosi and Reid wouldn't let 'medicare for all' bills even make it to the floor.

So. Another popular issue being killed by scared democrats? Not a surprise.

signed
not a republican either.
Posted by Jon in belltown on January 18, 2010 at 1:25 AM · Report this
anh 38
"He claims that decriminalizing marijuana would confuse people who may sail into federally patrolled waters or drive into national parks; they could be prosecuted unwittingly for marijuana possession, he argues."

That is probably the flimsiest excuse I've heard for not supporting this bill. Really? He can't REALLY think that people are actually that stupid. Okay, let's use alcohol as an example. It's a legal substance that is prohibited in state and federal parks. Most state and federal parks provide camping facilities, depending on the size and location. Do they really think that people are going to go camping without beer? I'm sure there are plenty of people that do camp without alcohol, but I'm willing to bet that there are even more people who sneak it in under their car seats and whatnot. Most of those parks are not actually patrolled even 50% of the time, so for anyone to think that anyone is going to get busted for having alcohol in a park is more or less mistaken. It would be the same way with pot.

Secondly, does this guy really believe that the federal government gives two shits about marijuana charges? FUCK NO! There are bigger fish to fry in D.C. I have heard several people say "legalize it and tax the hell out of it!" I concur. If people are willing to pay nearly $9.00 for a pack of cigarettes or $30 to go out on Friday night and take the risk of harming someone on their way home after they've knocked back a few cocktails, why not put the same kinds of stipulations on pot? Put an age limit on it, sell it in the liquor store, and charge a ridiculous tax for it.
Posted by anh on January 18, 2010 at 10:44 PM · Report this
39
This is a Democracy. If popular vote says that we should do something the government should have to do it. WE are supposed to run the government.
Posted by cody on January 19, 2010 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 40
The problem is that all normal intelligent people are cowed by the mythical "conservative majority". Even though it clearly doesn't exist, we all act like it does. Of course, they have most of the media behind them, and that doesn't help.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on January 19, 2010 at 4:54 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 41
Oops - sorry, the dogs were driving me to distraction there - what I was meaning to say is that there is a minority of conservative/reactionary types in this country, but they have a large media machine behind them, so that they appear to be powerful, and the normal reasonable people, along with the non-crazy political class, are intimidated by them.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on January 19, 2010 at 4:57 PM · Report this
42
By not voting to legalize weed, the result is locking up nonviolent drug offenders with violent criminals. And they are afraid of looking bad?
Posted by jj walker on January 22, 2010 at 1:23 PM · Report this
43
GASP! You mean our elected officials are a bunch of money-grubbing, soon to be voted the hell out of office COWARDS?! And I'll be happy to vote for replacing them all, if for no other reason than to hear some DIFFERENT excuses as to why they can't give the people what they want, nay, need, even though it's supposed to be these guys' whole job. Screw these ass-clowns. AND the party they rode in on.
Posted by Asmodeus2012 on January 22, 2010 at 8:27 PM · Report this
44
I'm gonna sign that initiative ASAP;by the by:I hope somebody files a petition to recall the anti-hemp Rob McKenna --I'll sign THAT as well!And VOTE OUT the three Dems who voted AGAINST HB1177 and HB2401 in the HPSEPC this week!(I think two of them are named 'Sherry Appleton' and 'Roger Goodman'.)
Posted by 5th Columnist on January 23, 2010 at 3:08 PM · Report this
45
Seattle Weekly's Dave Ferrell NEVER mentioned in his January 6th article(about legalizing cannabis)that you could use a vaporizer to prevent BURNING ganga to avoid the supposedly carcinogenic substances;is HE a shill for Big Tobacco or what?!
Posted by 5th Columnist on January 23, 2010 at 5:37 PM · Report this
46
Actually,Sherry Apleton and Roger Goodman AREN'T two of the three Dems who voted "nay" on the House Bills;those two were Steve Kirby and Al O'Brien - who,along with Chris Hurst - need to be RECALLED ASAP!!!..Go to www.sensiblewashington.org to get more info about their recently-filed ballot initiative to relegalize ganga in this state.
Posted by 5th Columnist on January 23, 2010 at 5:45 PM · Report this
47
Re;#10:Hey 'Not again',there is NO need to personally attack me by labelling me 'paranoid'!EVERTHING I posted is true;you didn't disprove ANYTHING I posted!Using strawman argumentation is an indication of intellectual cowardice and/or moral weakness!You attack me,the messenger because you cannot disprove the message!Fucker.......
Posted by 5th Columnist on January 30, 2010 at 4:05 PM · Report this
That_Indie_Kid 48
The whole concept of legalizing pot is flat out stupid. I mean how would it really work out? Would the government be in charge of growing pot? You would still have other people that will grow marijuanna regardless if it's legal or not. I think if a person was caught with pot it should bee looked at as if the person was caught with a ciggarett. If pot was being sold in stores thing about how much they would tax it for a nic bag. Stoners will be loosing money, $5+ tax for a nic bag. Eh no thanks.
Posted by That_Indie_Kid http://www.myspace.com/intoxicaiting_beauty on February 3, 2010 at 10:12 AM · Report this
That_Indie_Kid 49
Oh and Marijuanna is not adicting. I smoked it from age 13 until 18..... :] I haven't smoked in a month now.
Posted by That_Indie_Kid http://www.myspace.com/intoxicaiting_beauty on February 3, 2010 at 10:16 AM · Report this

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