Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 1 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Washington's Marijuana Decrim Bill: Why It's Good, What's The Hold-Up, And What To Do

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     (# of views)   No comments
Author 17440
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Steve Elliott
Become a Fan
  (5 fans)

(
Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA
The Washington state legislature is looking at a bill which would decriminalize adult marijuana possession in the Evergreen State. There are many, many reasons that reducing the penalties for marijuana is a good thing. But the biggest and best is: You don't get put in a cage for pot. Anyone who underestimates the value of not being in a cage hasn't spent much time in one. Under current law, possessing as little as one joint is punishable by up to 90 days in jail. In Washington last year, 11,553 people were arrested on marijuana possession charges. As reported by Dominic Holden in The Stranger, sponsors and advocates behind the bill intend to emphasize the bill's savings. Representative Brendan Williams (D-22, Olympia), one of the bill's co-sponsors, said he plans to "frame it in terms of the tradeoff in the budget discussion ... and set a square alternative." Williams says conservative legislators could be attracted to the cost-saving argument for decriminalization more than ever. "Do you choose to provide health care for x number of children or fund criminalizing marijuana possession?" he asked. For example, Williams cites a cost analysis of pot busts taken from Washington State Institute for Public Policy data that shows, based on the number of arrests in 2007, Washington would save $7.5 million by passing the law. No Republicans have co-sponsored either the House or the Senate versions of the marijuana decrim bill.

Copyrighted Image? DMCA
Chart: The Stranger Alison Holcomb, director of the ACLU of Washington's Drug Policy Project, said public opinion is on the bill's side. A recent poll shows 81 percent of Washington voters believe pot laws aren't working. "I think that the bill is an improvement Washington voters are ready to see," she says. Massachusetts voters passed a nearly identical measure in November by a 30-point margin-and the lack of pot-induced hysteria in Massachusetts may provide evidence that the hackneyed reefer-madness claims about marijuana reforms are unfounded.

Copyrighted Image? DMCA

Alison Holcomb of the ACLU
"Thirteen other states have already [decriminalized marijuana]"-including Massachusetts, where a measure similar to the one in the Washington State legislature passed a public vote in November by a 30-point margin-"and we haven't seen any of those other states struggle with [the] problem" of federal prosecution, Holcomb said. California has made possession of marijuana a civil infraction, and, like Washington, it also sits on an international border and has a coastline patrolled by federal agents. The Facts SB 5615 would change pot possession of 40 grams or less from a misdemeanor to a $100 civil infraction. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on SB 5615 Tuesday, February 10 at 10 a.m. in Hearing Room 1 of the J.A. Cherberg Building on the Capitol campus in Olympia, WA. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5615&year=2009 This is a companion bill to HB 1177: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1177&year=2009
Rep. Chris Hurst doesn't want marijuana -- and he doesn't want you to have it, either
The House version of the bill, HB 1177, is being held up in the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee by the committee chairman, this asshat, Rep. Chris Hurst: http://www.leg.wa.gov/HOUSE/hurst Reality Catcher suggests you call his office and let him know what you think about that. (For best results, I suggest you don't call Rep. Hurst or his assistants "asshats." Do as I say, not as I do.) Telephone (360) 786-7866 Or if you're one of his constituents, you can send him a message online: Email Rep. Chris Hurst

 

News 1   Supported 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Steve Elliott Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I'm a 49-year-old writer, editor, ex-musician, dreamer, reality catcher, ex-con, and father. I have three kids, six tattoos, a criminal record, a terminal disease, and an attitude. I was born in Alabama and spent the first 38 years of my life there (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Maybe *This* Is The Way The War On Marijuana Ends

Attorney General Rob McKenna Is Not Cool

Arresting The Messengers: The Bush Administration's Assault On Journalism

Sarah Palin - Dick Cheney in a Dress

Victory In Kitsap! Lessons and Moments From the Olson Medical Marijuana Trial

Privacy's Twilight: Rise Of The Total Surveillance Society