The Serious Business of Marijuana Legalization

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††The Serious Business of Marijuana Legalization

Posted by CN Staff on March 19, 2011 at 05:56:24 PT
Seattle Times Editorial†
Source: Seattle Times†

Washington State -- The marijuana legalization bill, House Bill 1550, may be stopped for this session of the Legislature. But this issue has been moving as never before, and it needs to keep moving.This page has been part of it. On Feb. 20 we came out for regulation and taxation of cannabis for adult use, which HB 1550 would do through the state liquor stores. That The Seattle Times would say this lowers the risk for public officials to say it. At the hearing Wednesday at the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, you could feel the change.
There were no Cheech and Chong jokes. This was serious business.The first three presenters were Seattle City Attorney Peter Holmes, Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess and Professor John McKay of Seattle University School of Law. All favored an end to prohibition.The bill's sponsor, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, presented Hunter's committee with an estimate that in the next biennium her bill could raise $441 million for the state. That would be welcome, just as the liquor revenue was welcome when Prohibition was ended during the Depression. But no estimate is reliable, and revenue, in any case, is not the main reason for doing this.McKay, who was U.S. Attorney here during the Bush administration and who enforced the law against marijuana sellers, said prohibition has failed to stop people from growing, selling and using. He said the policy has put this into the hands of violent criminal gangs, just as liquor prohibition did in the 1920s.Burgess, a former police officer, said prohibition has helped make the United States "the world's biggest jailer."None of these arguments is new. They have been made and ignored for years. Now people begin to listen. If the Legislature does not act, the people may this year by supporting Initiative 1149, which would remove penalties for adult use without imposing the regulatory system in Dickerson's bill.Dickerson's is not the only bill. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, has a medical cannabis bill that is less sweeping but more urgent.Her bill, a modified version of Senate Bill 5073, would license and regulate growers, processors and dispensaries of cannabis for medical use only. The urgency around this regards dispensaries, which have opened here and in other states in advance of protection from state law.Holmes said he and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg know of at least 30 dispensaries in Seattle, and expect 100 by year-end. "They are essentially unregulated," he said.Federal agents raided a whole string of such dispensaries recently in Montana, accusing them of trafficking outside the medical market. They, too, were essentially unregulated.Holmes said either the Legislature sets the rules or local governments will make up their own.Legislators have Kohl-Welles' bill. The Senate has passed it. The House should do the same.Note: The Seattle Times editorial board commends the House Ways and Means Committee for holding a hearing HB 1550 to legalize marijuana, and also expresses its support for SB 5073 to license, tax and regulate growers and dispensaries for medical cannabis.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Published: March 18, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis  Archives 

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Comment #7 posted by rchandar on March 20, 2011 at 11:12:21 PT:
There isn't any one answer. Getting rid of the penalties is what gives us many answers which are. all good.
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Comment #5 posted by Paul Pot on March 20, 2011 at 02:04:22 PT:

Not in booze shops.
It's great they're trying to legalize it but to associate it with booze by selling it in liquor stores is a bit rough. Why can't we buy and smoke at some nice coffee shop. Why can't people grow their own and should they feel inclined sell a little. It might even grow into a business. Not allowing people to start off business in a small way and restricting an industry with large fees and regulations stinks of fascism.
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Comment #4 posted by rchandar on March 19, 2011 at 23:09:56 PT:

The answer is simple. Strip the DEA of all its power and abolish all of its negotiating power in drugs policy.rchandar 
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on March 19, 2011 at 08:18:39 PT

I always enjoy reading your post, but here I wonder?Noam Chomsky said, "no need to speak truth to power, they already know the truth." I realize he does not know everything but on this I tend to agree with him.Have a great day!
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on March 19, 2011 at 07:43:20 PT

the power plant
The people that know the plant and its power LOVE it. Those that donít have this knowledge fear it and want to oppress it.
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on March 19, 2011 at 06:35:05 PT

Power to the plant!
There is great power in the super-plant. We all know this and we are aware of it's many applications and the possibilities associated with it.Our problem is; that powers the be recognize the power that is in the super-plant even more than we do, I suspect?The plant will be free or else! I suspect that the DEA Sociopathic Society is conceding to this fact these days? Even now I suspect that they are making a last grab for cash and grass while they still can. After all they do have the best contacts for reselling their confiscated drugs. Local cops are just like this. They are robbers, nothing more.I still hear down the grapevine that Certain militant groups are waiting to take on the DEA in some parts of the country. I can't say any more here. But lets just say that Egypt has been an inspiration to many.
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