Who In Seattle Thinks the Sale and Trafficking of Marijuana Should Remain in the Hands of an Illegal Market?


Why does he want to have us spend more and more on prisons, courts, and trials - and impose his Nanny State values on FREE Americans?

Are you sure he's not a Commie?
O no! People might come from other states to buy our legal cannabis and pay state taxes!
I am absolutely begging for the information I need to be convinced that legalizing pot is right. I want to be convinced. Dominic, do you have any information on how much it would cost the state to legalize and regulate pot? Do you have any information on a drop in illegal growth, sales and purchases after a legalization and regulation took place? (I would take solid data from any country, Dominic, I know it's impossible to get solid data on it in the US right now).

Without that kind of information, I can't believe that legalizing and regulating pot will really be worth it. I want to fight for this, but I simply need more information. Do you have it?
@3 the question is - how much is it COSTING us right now to lock productive citizens up, bust into their homes, put them on trial, and other impacts ... let alone the missed sales tax revenue for City, County, and State ...
@4 I don't care how much it's costing us right now if the alternative is spending 9x as much to allow citizens the right to not get in trouble for something they know is currently illegal. That's why I want to know what the costs of legalizing and regulating pot would be in the first place! If we're going to do it, we'd damn well make it something the state can sustain.
@5 I'm sorry, but if they legalize Demon Rum, then everyone will become Alkies and society will fall in Ruin.

We all know that, don't we?

(Molly get yer hatchet ...)
@6 You're supposed to be some kind of political figure, aren't you? Or former political figure? Shouldn't you care about carefully crafting policies that the city and state can support?
Also...pro-legalization organizations keep spouting about how much money pot will bring in. How much we'll make in taxes. How much less we'll spend on fines, police, jail etc. I want the whole picture; not one pro-pot figure has said "here are all of the costs to legalization" and just laid out the best estimates possible.
Legalization is not uncharted territory. The United States legalized alcohol in 1933 and it was a resounding success.
I live in the 46th District. I knew when the deal was cut to get this guy in we would all be "Frockt" (sorry, just couldn't resist).
@3: Oceans wrote, "I am absolutely begging for the information I need to be convinced that legalizing pot is right. I want to be convinced."

Another way of looking at it: What information convinces you that continued prohibition of cannabis is right? The natural condition is a lack of prohibition. After using it for many thousands of years, we experimented with prohibiting cannabis for a few decades, and that prohibition has been a huge failure.

Please consider the cost of prohibition (police resources wasted, prisons built, communities destroyed, lives ruined, jobs lost, financial aid withheld, etc.), and whether or not that cost is justified by the result. Are we getting our money's worth? Is it moral to lock someone in a cage because of what he or she chose to put in his or her body?

Phil, CDC member
I don't think Oceans is asking too much, and I don't think Rep. Frock's fears are totally unwarranted. Thing is, none of these concerns are good enough arguments against legalization, given what we already do know.

Viaduct replacement would still be on the table whether we knew the exact number of trips per day or not.
@11 Phil, I am more than willing to consider whether we are getting our money's worth through prohibition. I want to know the other side of the equation too, though. Without it we can't really have a balanced answer to our situation.
@9 This is a different era and a different prohibition. We don't base our decisions on data gathered in 1933 for anything else so why would that argument possibly succeed in this arena?
@13: Oceans: Let's start with what we're getting out of it. What do you think the prohibition cannabis -- fining people and locking them in cages for possession of a plant that has been used safely by humans for thousands of years -- accomplishes? Then, we can move on to what it's costing us.

Phil, CDC member
See also: Questionland: How much taxpayer money would be "saved" in WA if a pot legalization initiative (like I-1068) passes (with regard to incarceration and paperwork)? where we answered:

When evaluating the "savings" that would result from making marijuana legal again, consider also the opportunity cost of jobs lost (termination due to drug testing, not being hired due to drug convictions) and education missed (due to disqualification for federal student financial aid).

In their paper, "The Consequences and Costs of Marijuana Prohibition", University of Washington professors Katherine Beckett and Steve Herbert assess collective costs: 1) fiscal & organizational, 2) asset forfeiture & enforcement of marijuana laws, 3) public safety, and also human costs: 1) financial, 2) social, psychological, & physical costs to individuals and families.
@15 Non-medical use of opiates is also outlawed. If we're fighting for the right to use one ancient drug in the present day without legal consequences, why aren't we fighting for them all?

I've never met a person, recreational user or not, bettered by drugs. Legalizing something that only makes us worse seems like a step in the wrong direction. If we are going to do it, though, I want it to be profitable.
@16 I will read this today- thanks for the link.
@ 14, @12 re wanting fiscal impacts of HB 1550. The fiscal note prepared for the legislators indicates more than $800 million per biennium in net revenues over expenses starting in 2013-15 biennium. Here's the link to the fiscal note:
@17: Oceans wrote, "Non-medical use of opiates is also outlawed. If we're fighting for the right to use one ancient drug in the present day without legal consequences, why aren't we fighting for them all?"

I hope to see a move from prohibitionist drug policy to regulatory drug policy for all drugs.

"I've never met a person, recreational user or not, bettered by drugs. Legalizing something that only makes us worse seems like a step in the wrong direction."

Maintaining a system that only makes us worse is another step in the wrong direction. Whatever the cost of ending cannabis prohibition may be, I am absolutely unconvinced that it will be larger than the cost of continued prohibition.

"If we are going to do it, though, I want it to be profitable."

That's a rather selfish attitude. Thank you for admitting it. You're undoubtedly not alone. Many of us, however, are more focused on ending the harms caused by cannabis prohibition than with the potential profit of a regulated cannabis market.
Email address for Frockt: david.frockt@leg.wa.gov
@20 Phile wrote "Whatever the cost of ending cannabis prohibition may be, I am absolutely unconvinced that it will be larger than the cost of continued prohibition."

Being unconvinced is fine. Wouldn't you rather stand firmly on a pile of data proving your convictions, though? It's definitely an easier position from which to persuade people.

My attitude is selfish. I don't even pretend it's otherwise. I feel like the inalienable rights worth passionately fighting for do not include the right to get high whenever you want. If I am going to support the legalization of drugs, I want the benefits of doing so to be obvious, and one incredibly obvious benefit (right now especially, with all the budget BS going on) is revenue.
I guess one of the points I am really trying to drive home is that there are a lot of people out there looking to be convinced, with *facts and data,* that legalization is not only right in the human interest sense of the word, but it is right in the economic sense as well. The most traction I've seen in the argument to legalize came after the data about how much it costs us to police illegal activities and jail or otherwise punish offenders, but that isn't enough momentum on its own to convince all of the people you need to make legalization a real thing.

Oceans, the arguments for legalizing pot are all over the internet. They cover everything from the societal cost of prohibition to the potential revenue or regulation, the diversion of law-enforcement resources used on pot to the opportunity of using them for serious crime, and a blizzard of other relevant data about drug treatment, organized crime, harm reduction, and more. The tubes are your oyster.
Or ... we could just look up north and see what happened when MJ became legal there.

Their costs went down.

@23 - I think you also might be making the assumption that legal access to cannabis correlates to increased use of cannabis, which is not necessarily that case.
@26 I am aware of that data already. I assume that usage will remain steady or grow at a slow, slow rate. I am fully prepared to be wrong on that point because it is hard to predict. For example- when Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001, cannabis use went up instead of staying steady or going down.
Oceans: Putting together the statistics you seek in an easy-to-understand format would be an excellent project for you to spearhead with CDC. I invite you to come join us.

I'll admit I don't have numbers for the cost of ending prohibition. Can you tell us what you think the benefit of continued prohibition would be? If the benefit is zero or nearly-zero, then any cost associated with it is wasted. I think we're all in agreement, here, that the cost of prohibition is enormous, even if we're not clear on what the number is. So I'm encouraging you to look at the other side of it -- what good does prohibition do?
@22 Moral arguments don't require empirical cost/benefit analysis. Sometimes something is just wrong. Do we need an empirical argument against torture, against rape? You don't support a persons right to pursue happiness chemically with their own body, because you say it only makes us less and somehow it costs society. Ok, how does it cost society? HOW would legalization cost society? In what ways? You keep asking for figures, figures of what? The increase in fictional reefer madness murders? The fictional fear that everyone will just drop out of society and smoke the country extinct? Anyone (included underage kids) can get as much weed as they want already, and that hasn't happened. What costs are you afraid of here? I'll give you one, possible increase in stoned driving leading to further accidents. It's the only one I can come up with. Will that happen? I don't know, I don't know if there have been any good studies, but if you're asking for facts and figures, at least have specific questions to ask.

& to paraphrase Bill Hicks, you don't like people who use drugs? Well then take all that music you love, and burn it. You may not believe you've ever met anyone who had increased quality of life because of drugs, but there's millions of people who would adamantly disagree with you, & laugh at your childish presumption as to knowing what makes them better, happier people. If you've honestly never met anyone made better (in anyway) by the use of any drugs (alcohol, caffeine, weed, prescribed antidepressants) then you must typing from Amish country.
As the sponsor of the bill to regulate cannabis, I want to say in no uncertain terms that these attacks on Rep. David Frockt are way off base. I know Rep. Frockt. He is a thoughtful legislator who resists rushing into decisions that could have unintended consequences. It took me many years before I finally took the step of proposing the regulation and taxation of cannabis. My experience as Chair of committees that oversee funding for health and human services finally convinced me that ending the prohibition of cannabis is the right choice for Washington.

I understand and respect Rep. Frockt's hesitancy to endorse a far-reaching proposal until he hears the debate unfold. Attacking a lawmaker for trying to keep an open mind while he learns more is NOT the way to win allies and secure victory.


Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson
@30: Representative Dickerson, we've been learning about cannabis prohibition for decades. How much more devastation does Rep. Frockt need to see? His comment, "full-scale legalization of marijuana is a huge step into uncharted territory," is false. That territory was charted for thousands of years before our miserable experiment with prohibition.
gotta disagree mary lou. the legislature is ALWAYS behind the populace on progressive issues. it is the people's responsibility to put pressure on their representatives to catch up. that's exactly what we are going here. we're letting frockt know that if he doesn't come around to the views of the people he represents, he can expect to be called out on it and directly challenged. that feels alot more like democracy than what goes on in most statehouses in this country.
actually, the more i think about it, shaming democratic lawmakers who refuse to make progress on this issue might be the single most effective thing that we can do to push this issue forward. us progressives need to take a page out of the far right playbook of the past 20 or so years. they demanded that their reps go farther & farther to the right & they did everything they could do to destroy them when they didn't. and over the course of the past 20 years, it's gotten them pretty much everything they ever wanted. in contrast, progressives have been voting for democrats, getting next to nothing for their efforts & then turning around & voting for the same democrats who just spent their last term ignoring them. it's time to not just call out but full on attack democrats who are not progressive.
@33 - I would contend that going back to something that was legal up until a few decades ago is going backwards and not necessarily making progress. I don't see how going backward is moving forward...

that's where we differ.
@28 Phil, you might see me at that. I guess if the information is available somewhere then maybe I could help gather it.

Marijuana was legal throughout U.S. history up through the 30s. It was a popular alternative to alcohol during alcohol prohibition. Now we have had marijuana prohibition for over 80 years and usage has gone up. It's a complete failure of a policy that was only ever enacted out of political interests and not for any genuine interest in public/civic health outside of the transference of the alcohol prohibitionists' zeal to marijuana. People act like legal marijuana is without precedent.

Next comes the old saw about marijuana having stronger THC blahblahblah, but shit...those people getting high in those old newsreels look just as high as anyone else I've seen get stoned before.

Sounds like Cab Calloway's describing a lot of people when they're stoned to me:


The strength is irrelevant. People had gotten high, legally, but it was Wall Street that fucked the country up by the time that marijuana was outlawed, but it wasn't marijuana that did it. People act like legalization this time around will be some kind of "experiment."
I completely agree, I don't think now is the time for any pot smoker in Washington State to have to pay taxes on their product! I refuse this idea from these crazy legislators that we should "pay our fair share", heck we grow everything ourselves, without any government regulation, why the heck are they trying to profit off it? It's my weed, and I'm not paying any taxes on it for as long as humanly possible. I don't think any government deserves the tax revenue I don't want to pay.