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:
Are you in favor of legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana?