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End The Drug War!

Posted on  December 03, 2012 by  News Admin

  By Anthony Martinelli Communications Director Sensible Washington In a recent article published on our website, we explain the key reasons for ending our failed prohibition on cannabis. Doing so would bring untold benefits, and deal a huge blow to our failed war on drugs. However, even if cannabis were legalized, our nation would still be waging the widespread and devastating humans rights violation that our drug war has become. Even if you don't condone the use of any drugs, it is difficult to argue that throwing someone into prison alongside murderers and other violent criminals -- for simple drug possession, spending taxpayer money along the way -- is anything other than bad policy. The global conversation has opened up immensely over the past several years. United Nations reports have declared the war on drugs a failure (and multiple national leaders have called for an end), and more than 80 percent of Americans have the same opinion. Times are changing. As the conversation heightens, and with the need for reform ever-growing, here are a few of the primary reasons we believe that we should quickly and effectively end our war on drugs: • Our war on drugs is not economically feasible, and cannot be maintained. More than a trillion dollars of taxpayers' money has gone into fighting a massive war that the government can never win. A hardline approach to drug use has not diminished their presence in our society. Instead, it has enriched the criminals who choose to sell them, done nothing to decrease usage rates,...

Is I-502 Better Than The Marijuana Law We Have Now?

Posted on  October 31, 2012 by  News Admin

  By Troy Barber Sensible Washington If I-502 -- on the November general election ballot -- passes, national headlines will read "Washington State Legalizes Marijuana!" This is what national marijuana law reform groups have been dreaming of for more than 40 years. The practical application of the law, however, will be something very different, the end results could yield some very negative impacts, and all the headlines would be for naught. I-502 is not legalization; it is decriminalization. The language creates a narrow exception for the right to possess limited amounts of marijuana or cannabis-infused foods and beverages. The tax-and-regulate portions conflict with federal law and are likely to be preempted. This will leave no legal production or retail sale of product for consumers, leaving illegal markets to fill new demand. Current marijuana laws in Washington State treat possession of less than 40 grams as a misdemeanor. In many simple possession cases, a first offense may be deferred, leaving no criminal record, or carries a mandatory minimum penalty of one day in jail and a $250 fine. I-502 only protects people from arrest for possession for up to 28 grams -- it does not allow non-medical home grows, nor does it remove any of the civil or criminal penalties from the state code. Any violation outside their narrow exceptions are fully prosecutable under state law as it currently exists. I-502 creates new limits for driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC, more commonly known as DUID, or "drugged driving"). These...

Sensible Washington: Here's Why We Oppose I-502 'Legalization'

Posted on  October 10, 2012 by  News Admin

 Our opposition to Initiative 502 was not a decision made in haste. We examined this measure from multiple angles, looking at the political ramifications, the legal implications, and the social benefits and consequences. We came to a clear conclusion: Initiative 502 is not a positive step forward for our state, and we can do better. The initiative proposes dangerous and arbitrary policies, and sets up a legal distribution system that will fall to federal preemption. Here are the key reasons why, after deep consideration, our organization voted unanimously to oppose this measure (you can read our full analysis here): • Initiative 502 will retain cannabis as a schedule 1 controlled substance under state law. This classification declares cannabis equal to heroin in danger and illegality. Instead of legalization, it will set up a narrow exception for certain activities, such as possession of a small amount. However, gifting or sharing, such as passing a joint, will remain a felony charge. Home-growing, even a single plant, will remain as illegal as before. This is far from legalization. • The regulation and taxation system -- if not the entire initiative -- will be rendered invalid by the federal government. The initiative forces the state to license businesses for, and collect taxes from, a substance that is a schedule 1 drug under both federal and state law. This directly conflicts with our Federal Controlled Substances Act, and our State's Uniform Controlled Substances Act, which will give the federal government complete legal authority to take it to federal court,...