WA Lawmakers Considering Decreasing Pot Penalty 

WA Lawmakers Considering Decreasing Pot Penalty 
Posted by CN Staff on February 10, 2009 at 15:58:10 PT
By Brian Slodysko, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
Olympia, Wash. -- Civil liberties groups, medical marijuana supporters and a smattering of music festival-goers may have reason to rejoice: The Legislature is considering a proposal that would effectively decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. A bill proposed by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, would reduce the penalty for possessing marijuana in quantities of 1.4 ounces or less to a civil infraction carrying a $100 fine. "Marijuana has been demonized and has been demonized in such an overboard manner," Kohl-Welles said Tuesday.
Currently, possession of small amounts of the leafy drug is a misdemeanor offense, warranting arrest and carrying the possibility of punishment with fines and jail time. If Kohl-Welles' bill is approved, possession of marijuana would no longer be an offense subject to arrest. However, teenagers younger than 18 would still be subject to current law. Civil liberties groups support the measure, saying law enforcement officers should focus on more serious crimes. But the bill drew fire from anti-drug advocates who argue marijuana is a gateway drug that can lead users to more serious drug abuse. Kohl-Welles said she has friends and family who have been seriously ill that have used the marijuana to ease suffering and rekindle appetites. Washington has a medical marijuana law on the books, but Kohl-Welles said she thinks her bill could give medical marijuana users more protection from possible arrest. Lawmakers at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee seemed confused over how great of a quantity 1.4 ounces of marijuana is. "We're talking dried stuff?" questioned Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood. A man at the back of the hearing room used his hands to demonstrate the size of the quantity  about the size of a can of soda. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, joked that marijuana was in fact a gateway drug: "My own experience shows that marijuana is. I used to grow my own dope and now I brew my own beer." The room erupted into laughter and clapping before Kline added: "Just kidding." The pot possession bill is Senate Bill 5615. On the Net: Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Brian Slodysko, Associated Press WriterPublished:  February 10, 2009 Copyright: 2009 The Associated PressCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on February 11, 2009 at 08:30:35 PT
yea ned, i agree
Nice that there can be a little levity in the issue for a change.I also like that through the joke, he put cannabis growing on parity with home brewing beer.
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Comment #1 posted by 420ned on February 10, 2009 at 22:18:25 PT:
Love the joke
It's a pretty good one
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