Cannabis News Marijuana Policy Project
  Seattle Votes To Make Marijuana Crime Low Priority
Posted by CN Staff on September 17, 2003 at 15:30:58 PT
By Reed Stevenson 
Source: Reuters  

cannabis Seattle -- Seattle's citizens have told local police and prosecutors they should make marijuana use the least of their worries and instead provide better protection of homes, streets and neighborhoods.

In a vote hailed a by marijuana advocates as the most progressive in the United States, more than 58 percent of voters endorsed a bill that explicitly requires authorities to "make cases involving marijuana offenses, in which the marijuana was intended for adult personal use, the city's lowest law enforcement priority."

The measure also establishes a Marijuana Policy Review Panel to oversee arrests and report on the impact of the initiative.

Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske was quoted by the Seattle Times as saying the measure would not affect police work on the street. About 400 arrests for marijuana possession are made in Seattle every year.

Keith Stoup, founder and executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, hailed the vote.

"It's very positive to see that a solid majority of the residents in Seattle do not want to waste law resources prosecuting marijuana users," Stoup said, adding that the vote marked a crucial step toward the legalization of marijuana.

ALREADY LOW PRIORITY

The new law, called Initiative 75, was aimed at making easier for adults to possess marijuana in small quantities without having to fear that they will be sent to prison for years for smoking pot.

Critics have said that any law making marijuana use "low priority" is meaningless because it already is a low priority for local police and provides no direction on how to do that.

John Walters, director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, came to Seattle earlier this month to talk down the proposed law, calling it a "silly and irresponsible game." The U.S. drug czar said any law making pot use a low law enforcement priority would raise its use among teenagers.

The U.S. West Coast, along with neighboring parts of Canada and Alaska, has long been a haven for marijuana advocates and users.

In Canada, a bill is under consideration that would decriminalize possession of of small amounts of marijuana. People caught with 15 grams (half an ounce, or enough for about 15 to 30 joints) or less of cannabis would only be fined, and criminal penalties would be reduced on those growing up to 25 marijuana plants.

Vancouver, a three-hour drive north of Seattle, is considered a haven for marijuana users where pot is readily available and its use often overlooked. Much of the surrounding Canadian province of British Columbia is a fertile growing area for the drug.

At midnight on Tuesday, 97 percent of votes had been counted and a final tally of the vote, which required a simple majority to pass, is due later this week.

The initiative was endorsed by the League of Women Voters of Seattle, King County Democrats and the Washington state arm of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Source: Reuters
Author: Reed Stevenson
Published: September 17, 2003
Copyright: 2003 Reuters

Related Articles & Web Sites:

NORML
http://www.norml.org/

Sensible Seattle Coalition
http://www.sensibleseattle.org/

Voters Scald Latte Tax; But Pot Measure Passing
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread17334.shtml

Seattle Voters Favor Measure on Marijuana
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread17332.shtml

D.C. Bud? - Seattle Weekly
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread17331.shtml


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Comment #10 posted by afterburner on September 18, 2003 at 06:23:55 PT:

The US Media Is So Brow-Beaten by Walters...
That They Cannot Bring Themselves to Say the Word "Legalize" Unless It Is Uttered by John P. or One of his Minions as a Swear Word!

In Canada, a bill is under consideration that would decriminalize possession of of small amounts of marijuana. People caught with 15 grams (half an ounce, or enough for about 15 to 30 joints) or less of cannabis would only be fined, and criminal penalties would be reduced on those growing up to 25 marijuana plants.

Where do they get this stuff? Cannabis possession is legal in Ontario, PEI, Nova Scotia, and BC with challenges soon to come to courts in most of the rest of the Canadian provinces. "There is no offense known to law," say several Canadian courts. The Canadian Supreme Court is also considering cases challenging not only cannabis possession, but also cannabis "trafficking" and cannabis "cultivation." Yet, the media continues to trumpet the lame decrim/recrim bill that may never get passed.

and criminal penalties would be reduced on those growing up to 25 marijuana plants. This is the first I've heard of this. Since Justice Minister Cauchon returned from his meeting with his US DEA masters, he proposed INCREASING penalties for all cannabis growers. Is this some new government leak to the media, a trial balloon, or just more sloppy journalism!?

ego transcendence follows ego destruction, media convergence is counter-productive to decentralized democracy.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by lilgrasshoppah77 on September 17, 2003 at 21:22:39 PT:

E_johnston...
there's more truth in that statement that some realize.... Just as the high level Nazis used Christianity for their own foul ends, and didn't REALLY believe, so to do high level drug prohibitionists disbelieve their own rhetoric.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #8 posted by E_Johnson on September 17, 2003 at 20:31:03 PT
The old and the new
The old way: Nazis claim that Jews eat Christian babies

The new way: Drug warriors claim that relaxed pot laws eat Christian babies



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #7 posted by Robbie on September 17, 2003 at 18:54:18 PT
YES!
I wore an I-75 button at Seattle Hempfest in August! Wonderful! And a great time! :-)

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #6 posted by mayan on September 17, 2003 at 18:19:32 PT
Cannabis Drivers
Sorry if this has already been posted...

One in three drivers 'use cannabis': http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,7294625%255E1702,00.html

The way out is the way in...

9/11 Second-Anniversary Events in Germany and New York City Reveal Growing Strength, Credibility of Movement: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/091703_not_one_night.html

20 Smoking Guns - The 9/11 Military/Psyops Attack: http://www.propagandamatrix.com/911_redux.html

Map: Hijacked 9/11 Flights and Military Bases http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/911-flightpaths-bases.htm

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by FoM on September 17, 2003 at 17:32:07 PT
Mike
This special is very good. We are taping it.

I haven't seen one thing on the TV News about the Initiative only the coffee tax issue and it really is bothering me.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #4 posted by gloovins on September 17, 2003 at 17:20:13 PT
Shoulda went the Ann Arbor route
"Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske was quoted by the Seattle Times as saying the measure would not affect police work on the street..."

Should of done what Ann Arbor students did in '70s, reduced the fine to poss of 1oz & under to $5.00. THEN cops change their behavior & figure whats the point?

Oh yeah about 15 yrs ago they raised the fine to $25. Inflation I guess...

Listen to a Peter Tosh ya'll

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by Mike on September 17, 2003 at 17:19:18 PT
Selective coverage
Its interesting how much of the television news media is reporting that Seattle didn't pass a selective caffeine tax, but is making no mentions of I-75 passing.

I was especially shocked at Peter Jennings because I thought he was more apt to report stories like this one. It would just be nicer if more people "mainstream" knew about it. ABC radio has made no mentions during their hourly radio news updates either, but yet again mention the java tax not passing each time. Just seems a bit... odd.

I'll have to check out that PBS thing..

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #2 posted by FoM on September 17, 2003 at 16:48:18 PT
Off Topic: PBS Program David Suzuki
Tonight is the third episode and thought some of you might want to check it out.

TONIGHT: Wednesday, September 17th watch "The Fire of Creation", Episode Three of The Sacred Balance TV Series on PBS (please check local listings). Plus... We invite kids (and their parents) to check out our KidZone featuring 4 great projects from "Eco-fun" by David Suzuki and Kathy Vanderlinden. For more activities download our Community Education Guide - 24 pages of environmental, earth science activities for use in classrooms, after-school programs, museums and in your own backyard! Join our forums to share ideas and solutions with over 2100 members of the Nature Challenge Online Community.

Sacred Balance: http://www.sacredbalance.com/

Animation Introduction: http://www.sacredbalance.com/web/idea/

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on September 17, 2003 at 15:33:42 PT
Walters
>>The U.S. drug czar said any law making pot use a low law enforcement priority would raise its use among teenagers.<<

You mean there's a teenager in Seattle who isn't smoking it now, but would if the cops treated it slightly more laxly?

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