Washington Should Lead on Marijuana Legalization

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  Washington Should Lead on Marijuana Legalization

Posted by CN Staff on February 16, 2011 at 19:41:31 PT
By Pete Holmes, Special To The Times 
Source: Seattle Times 

Washington State -- Marijuana prohibition is more than a practical failure; it has been a misuse of both taxpayer dollars and the government's authority over the people. As the steward of reduced prosecutorial dollars, I am the first Seattle city attorney to stop prosecuting marijuana-possession cases and to call for the legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana for adult recreational use.We have long since agreed as a society that substances should not be prohibited by the government simply because they can be harmful if misused or consumed in excess. Alcohol, food and cars can all be extremely dangerous under certain circumstances, and cigarettes are almost always harmful in the long term. All these things kill many people every year.
But we don't try to ban any of them — because we can't, and we don't need to. Instead, we regulate their manufacture and use, we tax them, and we encourage those who choose to use them to do so in as safe a manner as possible.Marijuana is far more like alcohol than it is like hard drugs, and we should treat it as such. We address alcohol abuse primarily as a public-health issue, and we should do the same with marijuana abuse. Inebriation only becomes a crime for those who choose to get behind the wheel, whether the intoxicant is alcohol, prescription pain killers or cannabis.My focus as city attorney is to ensure that we have ways to regulate the production and distribution of any potentially harmful substance so that we limit the potential risk and harm. Outright prohibition is an ineffective means of doing this.Instead, I support tightening laws against driving while stoned, preventing the sale of marijuana to minors, and ensuring that anything other than small-scale noncommercial marijuana production takes place in regulated agricultural facilities — and not residential basements.It is critical that we get these details right. Ending marijuana prohibition isn't a panacea, but it's a necessary step in the right direction, and the specifics of a rational regulatory system for marijuana are important.Ending marijuana prohibition is pro-law enforcement because it would enhance the legitimacy of our laws and law enforcement. As Albert Einstein said of Prohibition in 1921, "Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced."Marijuana prohibition cannot be and has not been consistently enforced, and keeping it on the books diminishes the people's respect for law enforcement.I applaud the state Legislature for recently holding a hearing on House Bill 1550, which would legalize marijuana. This is an important start to the conversation about ending prohibition, which I believe is likely to lead to a successful citizens' initiative if the Legislature doesn't step up and do the right thing first.Ending marijuana prohibition and focusing on rational regulation and taxation is a pro-public safety, pro-public health, pro-limited government policy. I urge the state Legislature to move down this road.Even if marijuana remains illegal under federal law, it is still time for Washington state to act. As with alcohol prohibition, collective action by the states will help us end the federal marijuana prohibition and transition to a rational and functional system for regulating and taxing marijuana.The state of Washington should not use the continued existence of the federal prohibition as an excuse for leaving our misguided and wasteful state prohibition system in place.Pete Holmes is serving his first term as Seattle city attorney. Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author:  Pete Holmes, Special To The TimesPublished: February 16, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on February 18, 2011 at 12:43:17 PT

Legislation Filed to Legalize Medical Marijuana in KansasTopeka — Legislation has been filed to legalize medical marijuana for people with debilitating conditions, such as cancer.“I feel very strongly that the chronically and terminally ill should be allowed to use the medicine that works best for them without having to fear being arrested or thrown in jail,” said state Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, who suffers from lupus.“I am not advocating the use of cannabis for recreational types of activity,” Finney said Wednesday. House Bill 2330... Cont.
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on February 18, 2011 at 12:35:03 PT

Here's more info about what por1 linked to
Congressman Targets Federal Funding for the War on DrugsBy Eric W. Dolan, The Raw Story - Thursday, February 17 2011 Colorado Congressman Jared Polis has offered two amendments to the House continuing resolution that would eliminate much of the federal funding for the war on drugs in the United States.The House is currently debating HR 1, the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. The bill is needed to fund the government for the rest of the current fiscal year.Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has offered a number of amendments to the legislation. One of his amendments, No. 501, would eliminate funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, commonly known as the drug czar. Another amendment, No. 427, would prohibit funds being made available for the investigation or criminal prosecution of any person for the possession, manufacture or distribution of marijuana.The Marijuana Policy Project is urging its members to contact their representatives about the amendments."The Drug Czar's office is simply not necessary," a pre-written letter by the group said. "Levels of drug use do not change because we have a person of power in Washington going around the country saying, 'Drugs are bad.' Moreover, a case can be made that the Drug Czar's office has done a disservice to our youth by emphasizing the harms associated with marijuana at the expense of educating them about the relative harms of all drugs."Last week, Rep. Polis said that support for legalizing marijuana at the federal level was steadily increasing in Congress."I find that a lot of members of Congress privately agree that we need to change our drug policy, they’re just still too timid or scared to come public with it," he said.- Read the entire article at THE RAW STORY+ additional info:
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on February 18, 2011 at 09:54:39 PT

Sanity breaking out here and there...
and the media reporting it.That's good.
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on February 18, 2011 at 08:52:56 PT

Congressman Jared Polis(D) is My congressman.He's been good for the cannabis movement and continues to be a leader and a voice for the superplant.
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on February 17, 2011 at 21:35:23 PT

Congratulations sir!
I am the first Seattle city attorney to stop prosecuting marijuana-possession cases and to call for the legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana for adult recreational use.
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Comment #4 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on February 17, 2011 at 18:22:07 PT

George Washington grew cannabis,
so it only makes sense that the state named after him should be the first to re-legalize it.
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Comment #3 posted by por1 on February 17, 2011 at 11:30:27 PT

Congressman Jared Polis(D)
Check this out I would love to see this pass
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Comment #2 posted by christ on February 17, 2011 at 10:39:49 PT

Pete Holmes
What an intelligent man!
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on February 16, 2011 at 21:10:47 PT

On the back stretch,
Sounds good to Me.In the race to legalize the relativley safe, extremely popular God-given plant cannabis, I believe Washington has a good chance to reach the goal before Colorado, California or any other state. 
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