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Washington State Stops Testing Parolees For Cannabis

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drug test testing welfareCannabis was legalized in Washington State during the 2012 Election. Since the law went into effect, possessing and consuming cannabis is legal (cultivation and sales are not legal at this time). Washington State Department of Corrections recently stopped testing parolees for cannabis considering the fact that it’s now legal to consume. This was an excellent move by the Washington State Department of Corrections.

Per King 5:

“We’re putting some changes into effect so that we won’t routinely test offenders in the community for THC,” said Annmarie Aylward, DOC’s assistant secretary.

THC is the compound in marijuana that produces the high sought by users. The Corrections Department currently tests parolees’ urine for traces of six types of drugs. But the test for THC stopped as of June 1.

“We don’t want them held to that level when, as a citizen, you wouldn’t be held to that level either,” Aylward said.”

Again, this is an excellent move by the Washington State Department of Corrections. I would speculate that this will lead to less parolees testing positive for other, more harmful drugs. Since cannabis stays in your system longer than most other drugs, many parolees use other drugs that only stay in the system for a few days as a substitute. Those substances are much more harmful, and often result in more criminal activity by the user who is then trying to do anything they can go get their fix.

I think this will also lead to less alcohol consumption by parolees who would rather use cannabis, which is a good thing. Whereas alcohol is associated with increased chances of violent behavior, the opposite is true for cannabis. Hopefully future legal states will follow suit. While industry regulations are a great side effect to legalizing cannabis, we must always keep in mind the number one benefit of ending prohibition is ending the incarceration of those who utilize cannabis. In this regard, the Washington law has been a tremendous success.

Source: International Cannabis Business Conference

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About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.