A group of police officers, prosecutors, judges and other criminal justice professionals — including Seattle’s former chief of police — is endorsing I-502, the Washington initiative to regulate and tax marijuana that voters will decide on this November.
Norm Stamper, the former Seattle chief and a spokesman for the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), said, “Everyone knows that marijuana prohibition has failed. When even those who once worked to enforce these laws are saying this, the only logical next step is to enact a system that legalizes, regulates and controls marijuana. Doing so will not only take money away from the gangs and cartels that sell marijuana now, but will generate new, much-needed revenue that can be used to pay the salaries of police officers and teachers and for substance abuse prevention and education.”
David Nichols, a retired judge in Bellingham, added, “Replacing the criminalization of the marijuana trade with a public health approach grounded in science will allow our criminal justice system to fully focus on stopping and solving violent crimes and crimes against property. We don’t need the backs of our police cars, our courtrooms or our jails filled with people caught on marijuana charges.”
I-502 would strictly regulate the sale of marijuana to adults over 21. The initiative would not change laws regarding medical marijuana or impairment in the workplace. If I-502 is passed, there will be penalties in place to punish driving while impaired or use by persons under 21 years old.
James Doherty, a former prosecutor who lives in Seattle, added, “By regulating and controlling marijuana, we will make it less available to teenagers. Ask any high school student whether it is easier to get marijuana or alcohol. Most will say marijuana, because alcohol is regulated and controlled under the law, and marijuana is controlled by illegal dealers who don’t ask for I.D.”
Recent statewide polling shows a double-digit margin of support for the initiative. Other high-profile criminal justice professionals who have endorsed I-502 include former FBI special agent in charge Charles Mandigo and former US attorneys John McKay and Katrina C. Pflaumer.
More information about the initiative is online at http://www.newapproachwa.org
Coloradans will also vote on a statewide initiative to legalize and tax marijuana this November.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others who support legalization after fighting on the front lines of the “war on drugs” and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeMarijuana.com.