Elected officials in Seattle are going on the record in favor of legalizing, taxing, and regulating pot—including every single officeholder at City Hall—and we've been going down the list of folks in Seattle's legislative delegation, pressing them for their position.
Who opposes regulating the marijuana market? In an email, State Representative David Frockt (D-46) says he thinks it's too soon to make up his mind:
I am not in favor of full-scale legalization at this time. I respect the efforts of Rep. Dickerson and the Seattle Times to inspire a needed public debate on marijuana policies, but this debate is still in its early stages, at least in Washington. The issue has not come directly before me either on the floor or in committee. So, I particularly feel a need to hear more about how legalizing and selling marijuana in state liquor stores would affect the attitudes and access of people under the age of 18 or 21 (assuming 21 would be the age of legalization) . I would also like to hear more discussion about the possible unintended consequences of being the ONLY state to legalize marijuana. Would we attract drug cultivators or large numbers of heavy users from other states? Would we be an unintended exporter of marijuana to neighboring states? Would we invite unexpected retribution from the federal government?
I support recent efforts to make marijuana enforcement a low law-enforcement priority, and I support minimal penalties and ensuring that people are not branded for the rest of their lives, or disqualified from student loans, because they got caught with a joint. But full-scale legalization of marijuana is a huge step into uncharted territory, and I think we need more discussion of the details and risks before we take it.
Sorry, Frockt, but when people who actually have the power to change the law are swanning around, they're maintaining the chaotic, wasteful, ineffective war on pot. Even applying those "minimal penalties" consume the time of cops and courts while producing... what? Kids can still buy it, gangs still sell and grow it, and millions of people still use it. Standing against legalization is standing up for a system that doesn't card minors trying to buy pot, a system that promotes international marijuana trafficking, and a system that costs the government in enforcement expenses when it could be collecting tax revenue. Also, sorry, this isn't new issue that America just discovered. Legalization is uncharted territory, true. But the chartered territory is a wasteland.