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Friday, March 4, 2011

Every Elected Official at City Hall Wants Pot Legalized

Posted by on Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM

It's official. Every officeholder at City Hall—from the mayor and city attorney to each member of the Seattle City Council—is now on the record supporting legal pot. The last holdouts were Council Member and former cop Tim Burgess (who wrote an eloquent piece here) and finally Council Member Bruce Harrell, who wrote in an email last night, "I am for the decriminalization, regulation and taxing of marijuana." Some use of marijuana would remain illegal—like driving under the influence, of course—and he's got concerns about sending young people a "mixed signal," he says. "At the end of the day, though, it is clear that our existing strategy to criminalizing marijuana use is a failed strategy."

So what next? Because the city can't overturn state law, Seattle lawmakers need to do what they can: Collectively go on the record by passing a resolution asking the state to tax and regulate pot. Then they need to lobby the state. The council took a step in 2009 when it passed a resolution to reclassify marijuana possession "from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction." But that's not enough; people would still be ticketed for pot and reclassifying possession wouldn't address the underlying problems of an illegal drug market.

While we wait for the council, my intrepid intern Megan Burbank is contacting every member of Seattle's legislative delegation and every King County Council member who represents a Seattle district for their position. And finally, a Slog poll to see where the ultimate authorities stand on this subject. Here's the question I asked everyone at City Hall:


Comments (26) RSS

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Canuck 1
I have one letter for you: zed. If you didn't have brownies for breakfast, you'll see where it goes.. :)
Posted by Canuck on March 4, 2011 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Here's video of discussion of Resolution 31174, which set the 2010 state legislative agenda for the city. Under "Session Priorities, Law & Criminal Justice" the resolution states, "In addition, we support reclassifying possession of small amounts of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction. We also support immunity from prosecution for illegal drug possession for persons who witness or experience drug overdoses and call for medical assistance."
Posted by Phil M on March 4, 2011 at 11:43 AM · Report this
Centopar 3
Yes, of course. And I have a powerful craving for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Posted by Centopar on March 4, 2011 at 11:43 AM · Report this
lilmonster206 4
Best poll results ever.
Posted by lilmonster206 on March 4, 2011 at 11:49 AM · Report this
I'm in favor of calling it "cannabis". "Marijuana" is the scary foreign Mexican-sounding name they used to propagandize prohibition.
Posted by pox on March 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM · Report this
d rock 6
headline of the day!
Posted by d rock http://www.13th-Grade.COM on March 4, 2011 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Well, it's nice to see that Slog readers support marijuana legalization more than 111 to 1...
Posted by hwj on March 4, 2011 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 8
Time to form our own State.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 4, 2011 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 9
What shocking results!

And by "shocking," I mean "predictable."

Call me cray, but this idea is so cray, it just might work! Cray, right?
Posted by Urgutha Forka on March 4, 2011 at 12:12 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 10
Because the city can't overturn state law...

Technically, we CAN pass legislation removing any and all city-level enforcement. Why don't we?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on March 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM · Report this
svensken 11
It's coming. But grab the popcorn and watch THE CHILDREN!!! crowd go wild.
Posted by svensken on March 4, 2011 at 12:23 PM · Report this
zombie eyes 12
Legalize yes, regulate & tax, no. Or no more regulation than carrots or fava beans on Saturday at the Farmer's Market.

Regulated it becomes just another lobbyist political breaucratic clusterfuck.
Posted by zombie eyes on March 4, 2011 at 12:39 PM · Report this
bgk 13
I would be happy to pay high tax prices to be able to pick up a pack of cannabis cigs at the liquor store.
Posted by bgk on March 4, 2011 at 12:46 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 14
@9 ok, you're a Cray.

The best part of what @13 says is this cuts out all the middlemen and increases State Tax Revenues and Profits.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM · Report this
I think you accidently a word there
Posted by kainzuu on March 4, 2011 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Cephalodude 16
I'm waiting as patiently as I can for cannabis cupcakes with a mint-strawberry (that'd be a good combo, right?) frosting from Cupcake Royale.
Posted by Cephalodude on March 4, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 17
@16 I'm waiting for Ronald McDoobie to push MJ instead of addictive caffeine-laden Mocha shakes and Lattes.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 4, 2011 at 2:34 PM · Report this
veo_ 18
I don't think you can use 'cray' singularly. Proper usage would be "don't be cray cray." Otherwise you just look silly.
Posted by veo_ on March 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM · Report this

Burn it by the bushel and pump the smoke through the DBT vents.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on March 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM · Report this
samktg 20
@18, Something stuck in your craw?
Posted by samktg on March 4, 2011 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 21
@18 they get cray when they stand in line for a sweater signing by Wil Wheaton at ECCC - you have to cut them some slack.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 4, 2011 at 4:04 PM · Report this
And don't forget about decriminalizing hemp farming!
Posted by elaineinballard on March 4, 2011 at 4:08 PM · Report this
I am shocked, just shocked, that Stranger readers support the legalization of marijuana. Horrified might even be a better word for it. Yes. Horrified. F'reals. Horrified, yo. Just horrified.
Posted by pheeeew!crack!boom! on March 4, 2011 at 4:11 PM · Report this
Unregistered User 24
This has got to be the most hilariously one-sided poll I've ever seen on the stranger.

Not that I didn't expect it, but it's still funny to see.
Posted by Unregistered User on March 4, 2011 at 4:13 PM · Report this
Decriminalization is not the same legalization. Parking in a metered zone without paying, driving 10 miles over the speed limit and not picking up your dog's shit are all illegal but those are not crimes. They're infractions, which means you need to pay but there's no criminal record, no potential of jail time, no jury trial, etc.

The quotes in this post from Harrell don't appear to support legalization but in fact decriminalization and even then only of possession of small amounts. It says nothing about large sales or grow operations. Also, nothing about federal law. None of this means "legal pot". It just means reducing penalties for personal possession so that they don't totally fuck up somebody's life.
Posted by decidedlyodd on March 7, 2011 at 2:34 PM · Report this
Just emailed Frock re his out of touch opinion on legalization.

I just read in the Stranger that you are not in favor of legalizing marijuana. You represent Seattle! Every Seattle city council person is in favor of legalization. You are not representing your constituents! I am a member of Sensible WA, NORMAL, ACLU, Cannabis Defense Coalition. Our members are large, our voices are strong. We will get you voted out of office if you don't support this.
Posted by CAnna on March 8, 2011 at 1:29 PM · Report this

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