Washington State Should Decriminalize Marijuana
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Washington State Should Decriminalize Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on November 23, 2009 at 13:44:50 PT
By Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Toby Nixon
Source: Kirkland Reporter
Washington State -- Once again, the annual Hempfest drew tens of thousands to parks along Seattle’s waterfront this past summer. In its mission statement, the all-volunteer organization that produces the event says, “The public is better served when citizens and public officials work cooperatively in order to successfully accomplish common goals.”We agree. That is why we, as a Democratic state senator and former Republican state representative, support Senate Bill 5615. This bill would reclassify adult possession of marijuana from a crime carrying a mandatory day in jail to a civil infraction imposing a $100 penalty payable by mail. SB 5615 was voted out of committee with a bipartisan “do pass” recommendation and will be considered by legislators in 2010.
The bill makes a lot of sense, especially in this time of severely strapped budgets. Our state Office of Financial Management reported annual savings of $16 million and $1 million in new revenue if SB 5615 passes. Of that $1 million, $590,000 would be earmarked for the Washington State Criminal Justice Treatment Account to increase support of our underfunded drug treatment and prevention services.The idea of decriminalizing marijuana is far from new. In 1970, Congress created the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. A bipartisan body with 13 members — nine appointed by President Nixon and four by Congress — the commission was tasked with conducting a yearlong, authoritative study of marijuana. When the commission issued its report, “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding,” in 1972, it surprised many by recommending decriminalization:“Possession of marihuana in private for personal use would no longer be an offense; and distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration not involving profit would no longer be an offense.”Twelve states took action and decriminalized marijuana in the 1970s. Nevada decriminalized marijuana in 2001, and Massachusetts did so in 2008. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, states where marijuana possession is decriminalized represent over 35 percent of our nation’s population.These states have not seen a corresponding increase in use. Nor have the 14 states that have adopted legal protections for patients whose doctors recommend the medical use of marijuana, or the several cities and counties that have adopted “lowest law enforcement priority” ordinances like Seattle’s Initiative 75, which made adult marijuana use the city’s lowest law enforcement priority in 2003.On the flip side of the coin, escalating law enforcement against marijuana users has not achieved its intended goals. From 1991 to 2007, marijuana arrests nationwide tripled from 287,900 to a record 872,720, comprising 47 percent of all drug arrests combined. Of those, 89 percent were for possession only. Nevertheless, according to a study released earlier this year by two University of Washington faculty members:• The price of marijuana has dropped;• Its average potency has increased;• It has become more readily available; and• Use rates have often increased during times of escalating enforcement.We now have decades of proof that treating marijuana use as a crime is a failed strategy. It continues to damage the credibility of our public health officials and compromise our public safety. At a fundamental level, it has eroded our respect for the law and what it means to be charged with a criminal offense: Fully 40 percent of Americans have tried marijuana at some point in their lives. It cannot be that 40 percent of Americans truly are criminals. We hope citizens will work with us to help pass SB 5615, the right step for Washington to take toward a more effective, less costly, and fairer approach to marijuana use.Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D–District 36) chairs the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee. Toby Nixon was state representative for the 45th Legislative District.Source: Kirkland Reporter (WA)Author: Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Toby NixonPublished: November 23, 2009Copyright: 2009 Sound PublishingContact: cwood kirklandreporter.comURL: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on November 24, 2009 at 14:42:52 PT
RayGreen  Comment 2
Wow!That was so good.As I was watching you and thinking about you and George and other patients... I thought about those troublemakers and fear mongering, gotcha driven, prohibitionists that watch dispensaries and say healthy people are going in there and buying cannabis and they, the prohibitionists, somehow, can tell that those so called patients are really completely healthy, just by looking at them. You'd think that with the amazing skill they possess, just being able to tell if there is something wrong by looking at you, that they'd be in the business of trying to help people with their amazing skills. Just think of the money we could save on expensive testing equipment. We don't need all that since these prohibitionists can tell if something is wrong with your health by looking at you.You looked great... but I have no doubt that you have MS and a serious health issue. Montel looks great. George looks great. Irv looks great. Fine and shiny.Yesterday, I sashayed, with a healthy stride, right into my doctor's office looking great. Yes, I did. Top notch. I was the picture of strength and health. I've never had high blood pressure, but when they took my blood pressure they went into high alert. They gave me blood pressure medicine right there in the office and didn't let me go until it came down. Out of the clear blue sky... and I looked good... but they said I was in serious stroke territory. Where's a health detecting prohibitionist when you need one? They could have warned me that I was in trouble, if they'd seen me. Surely.I've never had a doctor give me a pill right in the office and wait and watch me for it to take effect. But I looked good... so a prohibitionist would have judged that I didn't need that medicine at all... because I looked fine.And they think they're so dang smart... certainly smarter than the doctors and everyone else. Just them. They know. They're better than everyone else somehow because they are prohibitionists... and of course... they know. They just know. They have some kind of exclusive mystical power, I guess.Good job, though, Ray. Very good job. Thank you, so much.I'm so impressed and grateful.
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on November 23, 2009 at 19:07:52 PT
Hearing postponed on new Colo. medical pot rules
US CO: Hearing postponed on new Colo. medical pot rules
 Webpage: 23 Nov 2009Source: Summit Daily News (CO)Author: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 
Hearing postponed on new Colo. medical pot rules 
DENVER — A Colorado Board of Health hearing to consider new restrictions on medical marijuana providers has been postponed.The meeting was scheduled for Dec. 16. It hasn't been rescheduled.The board imposed new rules on Nov. 3, but a judge overturned them, saying the board ignored the needs of patients and violated open meetings laws.The board said Monday it will “explore its legal options” before deciding what to do.
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Comment #2 posted by RevRayGreen on November 23, 2009 at 17:33:41 PT
In case you missed this.....
Stasher RevRayGreen testifies on medical marijuana to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy -
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 23, 2009 at 15:16:10 PT
OT: Surviving The Holidays With Lewis Black
I think Lewis Black is a really funny comedian. I thought others might want to check out his Special too.Monday, November 23 08:00 PMTuesday, November 24 12:00 AMFriday, November 27 08:00 PMSaturday, November 28 12:00 AMSunday, November 29 03:00 PMHo, ho, ho! 'Tis the season of survival. Armed with history, humor and his trademark ranting, the "Curmudgeon of Comedy" returns to make sense of this 36-day, end-of-year insanity that consumes us all. The Grammy winner takes a comedic look at how to survive the "month-long festival of consumption" without losing your mind. He consults experts in holiday history, anxiety and gift giving--and other comedians. He explores the meaning of Kwanzaa, the history of Chanukah, and the real Saint Nicholas. He interviews turkeys on a turkey farm. Lewis discovers why we drink on New Year's Eve and why the Detroit Lions always play on Thanksgiving Day. He does a stint as a department store Santa with kids and learns about the Major League Dreidel playoffs.Rating: TVPG LRunning Time: 120 minutes
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