Washington State Legislators Introduce Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

According to The Stranger, Washington state legislators have introduced a bill aimed at reducing the penalty for marijuana possession to a $100 fine.

State representative Brendan Williams, citing a cost analysis of marijuana-related arrests from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, has said that the state would save $7.5 million by passing the bill. According to The Stranger, the decriminalization measure would apply to adults in possession of 40 grams or less of marijuana. The penalties for juvenile offenders would remain unchanged from current state law.

Williams, in speaking with the Washington alternative weekly, said that he plans on framing the legislative discussion “in terms of the tradeoff in the budget discussion … and set a square alternative…[i.e.] ‘Do you choose to provide health care for x number of children or fund criminalizing marijuana possession?’”

Earlier this November, Massachusetts passed a bill similar in scope by a 30-point margin. Additionally, a recent survey of Washington state citizens revealed that 81 percent of voters there do not believe that current marijuana laws are working.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to see the drug decriminalized.

Opponents of past measures, such as the bill proposed by legislators like Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) have pointed to marijuana’s causal link to mental illness as reasons why the drug should remain illegal.

However, others, including marijuana advocacy groups, argue that such claims are baseless.

Our Take

Regardless of one’s preference one way or the other for the drug, this, as a measure, seems to make sense.

The cost–on both local and federal levels–of prosecuting non-violent drug offenders is already too much. Perhaps this bill won’t be passed, but the passing of similar laws in states like Michigan and Massachusetts seems to indicate that Americans are ready for a new approach to drug laws, if not necessarily legalization.

– Article from College News on January 15, 2009.

Comments

7 Comments

  1. Kyle from the Tri on

    A $100 fine is much better than the $500 fine plus jailtime I had to spend for carrying 3.5 grams of some dank. (not to mention the “criminal” record). Do not oppose this bill, it is in my eyes a HUGE step for the marijuana community. I do agree that a full legalization would be nice, but let’s not get too carried away here.

  2. Anonymous on

    correlative? your an idiot refer madness dea jerk off

  3. Anonymous on

    reffer madness idiot. correlative my ass

  4. Sir Les on

    It would seem hyocrisy is in motion by stating that they move to decriminalize the possesion of MARIJUANA/HEMP…Because to gain a fine of 100.00 one must be guilty of some form of infraction of the law…which is in effect a law…but if the law is found unsound…then what should be forthcoming is a total legalization….this is Just a muse to gain more money..by fining people…and to instill the IDOLic Ideal of Money over everything..even the holy…I don’t think it is righteous myself…God said all the plants are good…and yet here we are putting people behind bars, and fining them for doing something Good?
    If we follow our religions to the tee…all plants make up EDEN…aren’t we suppose to be making that?..sinlessly??? under the commandments and precepts ordained by God?…no money of ingraven images should be noted in our muse here today!

    And this fine is only another way to instill it over those who are holy with the plant.

    The plants do not sin..only humans sin…and one cannot fine God for making and growing Marijuana in his garden, nor his children!

    I think that says it all.

  5. Anonymous on

    Causal link? The association between cannabis and mental illness is correlative, not causal! Bad reporter…

  6. Anonymous on

    They did not say Ron Paul was the opponent, they said he was the one who introduced an earlier decrim bill.

  7. Anonymous on

    Ron Paul (R-TX) have pointed to marijuana’s causal link to mental illness as reasons why the drug should remain illegal.

    sorry ,ron paul supports decrim!!!!