Washington House Committee Votes Down Marijuana Bills

Efforts to reform Washington state’s marijuana laws were voted down by a House committee Wednesday.

The Public Safety Committee rejected a measure to legalize marijuana for those 21 and older, and another that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot for adults.

Chairman Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, voted against both, saying he couldn’t vote for something that conflicted with federal law.

He said that while there were powerful arguments for why marijuana regulation should be left to the states and not the federal government, “I took an oath of office to uphold the state constitution and the federal constitution.”

“I cannot, in good conscious, pass a law or vote for a law that in my opinion, is against federal law,” Hurst said.

Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Federal Way, said that the fact that marijuana is illegal doesn’t make its use any less prevalent.

“I want to regulate a product that potentially has hazardous consequences,” he said. “A ‘no’ vote on this bill is a vote for prohibition and the illegal markets that it spawns.”

The legalization bill failed on a 6-2 vote, with two other Democrats crossing over and voting with Hurst and Republicans: Reps. Al O’Brien of Mountlake Terrace and Steve Kirby of Tacoma.

Under the legalization bill, marijuana would be sold in Washington state’s 160 state-run liquor stores, and customers who are 21 and older, would pay a tax of 15 percent per gram. The measure would have dedicated most of the money raised for substance abuse prevention and treatment, which is facing potential cuts in the state budget as lawmakers seek to patch a $2.6 billion hole.

“The amount of money that we could realize over legalizing it and regulating it is close to $300 million a year,” said Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, who voted for both measures. “My feeling is that this is the time to challenge the federal government and we should be doing that.”

The decriminalization bill would reclassify adult possession of marijuana from a crime with jail time to a civil infraction with a $100 penalty.

It failed on a 5-3 vote, with Rep. O’Brien crossing back over and voting with Appleton and Goodman to pass it. A decriminalization measure is still alive in the Senate, although a public hearing hasn’t been scheduled for it.

Last week, activists in Washington state filed a ballot initiative that would legalize all adult marijuana possession, manufacturing and sales.

If the initiative qualifies for the ballot, it will ask voters to remove all state criminal penalties for adults who possess, grow and distribute pot – no matter how much. Criminal penalties for juveniles who possess marijuana and for those who provide the drug to minors would remain in place. Driving under the influence of the drug also would still be illegal.

Supporters must gather more than 240,000 signatures by July 2 to qualify for the November ballot.

The marijuana legalization measure is House Bill 2401. The decriminalization bill is House Bill 1177. The Senate decriminalization measure is Senate Bill 5615.

On the Net:

Washington state Legislature: http://www.leg.wa.gov

– Article from The Seattle Times.

Comments

21 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    ever since pot was banned along with alcohol America has been slowly turning into a Hitler philosophy only our Hitler changes every 4 to 8 years!!!

  2. Anonymous on

    totally agree this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about the constitution was wrote a long time before pot was illegal furthermore it scares me to know that someone who can say i cant vote for that because its against my oath to uphold the blah blah blah bottom line there are way to many old ex military guys that are in office and dont understand that if you look at Holland it has one of the lowest crime rates in the world why do you think that is because all of their drugs are legal people can get jobs no matter what they do so they don’t have to go out and steal stuff to support the habit as well as a pretty good economy why is that because all of the drugs are legal and the people that sell them pay a tax to the government!!! these politicians need to get there heads out of there asses and realize that you are too old step down and let some younger people make the decisions that are going to effect the younger generation why spend 6 billion dollars a year on arresting people for something that you could tax and make close to 8 billion dollars a year!!!! oh well lets just keep spending and spending untill we end up a third world country!!

  3. Anonymous on

    The more liberally minded Democrats in the US will likely get stomped in the next election cycle…with the exception of the pres but even that is questionable(it depends on what happens in the near future). I’d hate to be an incumbent in the next election, they’ll get a front row, first hand view of unemployment office. What that means to cannabis reform is that we need urgency. 3 years from now a more conservative govt. is very likely and we all know how conservatives view cannabis.

  4. Anonymous on

    Actually, he is stating that fed law outweighs state law. And we had a war sometime back over that very issue…the states lost if you recall. If the People want legal cannabis they need to petition in all 50 states to get it on the Novenber ballot and then vote for it. That’s how our republic works.

  5. Anonymous on

    chris hurst supports washington’s cash crop growers, keep that money comin baby

  6. Atlanta Toker on

    Prove it to them.. Shove it right up their asses. Get the Names. 240,000 people is a lot of people but you got a great tool you are using right now to get it together with. Do a Facebook page and have the voters send in their signature to the governemnt and overwhelm them with responses and maybe they’ll start to understand, Its not just the federal government were tired of dealing with, its the local pinheads as well. Present it to them like this, “You do as we say and right now.” “We’ll deal with the federal government as a state united.”

    Now go get those Names…

  7. Anonymous on

    The American CIA is a terrorist organization. BAD for the people. An elite evil controlling the government must be stopped now.

  8. Anonymous on

    Big Surprise.

  9. Anonymous on

    holly crap , pick up the phone WAshington, bombard them with your thoughts and put them in their place to do your will, and not do heir misconstrued ideas of upholding constitutions .

  10. Anonymous on

    Law enforcement groups are fighting to maintain Marijuana Prohibition and their industry of arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana. SAFER is fighting back and we need your help.

    According to a recent report in The Denver Post, state and federal law enforcement officials have been meddling in Colorado’s legislative process in hopes of rolling back the state’s progress toward safer, more rational marijuana laws. As a result, bills are being introduced on their behalf, which threaten to shut down every medical marijuana dispensary in the state and allow these officials to continue harassing medical marijuana patients.

    We wish this weren’t the case, but these law enforcement officials are not motivated by maintaining public safety or developing a workable system of medical marijuana regulation. They are motivated by one thing — job security. Perhaps even more unsettling is the source of the financial support behind the arrest and prosecution industry’s war on marijuana.

    In particular, the Colorado Drug Investigators Association (CDIA), the group spearheading anti-marijuana lobbying efforts, is sponsored by several local and national businesses including Starbucks Coffee, Glock handguns, and — you guessed it — members of the alcohol industry! This might seem a bit odd, but when you consider the fact that their Web site and merchandise features the grim reaper and military helicopters, a skull motif, and the slogan, “Death on Drugs,” it all makes a little more sense. These guys are not out to protect people; they’re out to fight a literal war on marijuana, ensuring alcohol — the substance that contributes most to the crime and violence that keeps them busy — is the only legal recreational drug available.

    It’s no surprise that the Arrest and Prosecution Industry is determined to maintain the war on marijuana. But Starbucks and other companies’ funding of this war should strike any marijuana consumer or reform supporter as truly appalling. It’s time to stand up and send them all a message.

    Please Take Action Today!

    1. Boycott Starbucks and other sponsors of the CDIA (see below), and CLICK HERE to send Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz an e-mail letting him know you will not be buying Starbucks products until it ends its sponsorship. (Or visit http://tinyurl.com/yelzaux)

    2. CLICK HERE to send a message to the heads of the organizations below, urging them to end their lobbying and stop harassing people for using a substance far safer than alcohol. (Or visit http://tinyurl.com/y9v8u5a)

    Regardless of which action you complete first, you will be given the option of completing the other action, as well. We’ve provided pre-written messages you can edit or send as they are, then we hope you will spread the word about these actions to as many people as possible.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Meet the Arrest and Prosecution Industry

    Colorado Drug Investigators Association (CDIA) — A non-profit trade group for members of law enforcement whose bread and butter is the enforcement of marijuana laws. Their sponsors include not only major businesses like Starbucks Coffee, but also liquor retailers and manufacturers of handguns and body armor. Paired with a Web site and merchandise reminiscent of the Gestapo (see right), these guys are clearly interested in one thing only: maintaining the war on marijuana. Board President and Denver Police Lt. Ernie Martinez is an outspoken opponent of reform who sits on the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel as the police department’s roadblock to enacting SAFER’s successful ballot measures.

    Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) — The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — or Drug Czar’s office — funnels money to this regional organization for the stated purpose of coordinating interdiction and other enforcement efforts. Yet it seems like the group spends far more of its time fighting the movement to reform local, state, and federal marijuana laws. Director Tom Gorman spent countless hours campaigning against SAFER’s statewide legalization initiative in 2006, and he is now working hard to abolish medical marijuana dispensaries.

    U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — The federal government’s primary drug enforcement body, it has a major stake in maintaining the prohibition of the world’s most popular illegal drug — marijuana. Jeffrey Sweetin, the special agent in charge of the Denver field office, has worked to defeat several reform efforts in Colorado, and it was under his watch that agents got caught campaigning against the 2006 statewide initiative.

    These organizations point to the proliferation of drug cartels as their reason for opposing medical marijuana and broader reform, but if the drug cartels continue to operate in Colorado, so do they. In fact, the worst thing for these organizations would be a system of state-licensed medical marijuana producers and dispensaries; not because it would cause harm to anyone, but because it would diminish the illegal production and distribution of marijuana.

    Make no mistake about it, this is a battle over jobs. Supporters of medical marijuana want to create new legitimate, state-licensed businesses with hundred of new taxpaying employees. CDIA wants to ban these new businesses so that they can continue spending taxpayer money to arrest and prosecute people involved with medical marijuana.

    Click here to unsubscribe

    Law enforcement groups are fighting to maintain Marijuana Prohibition and their industry of arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana. SAFER is fighting back and we need your help.

    According to a recent report in The Denver Post, state and federal law enforcement officials have been meddling in Colorado’s legislative process in hopes of rolling back the state’s progress toward safer, more rational marijuana laws. As a result, bills are being introduced on their behalf, which threaten to shut down every medical marijuana dispensary in the state and allow these officials to continue harassing medical marijuana patients.

    We wish this weren’t the case, but these law enforcement officials are not motivated by maintaining public safety or developing a workable system of medical marijuana regulation. They are motivated by one thing — job security. Perhaps even more unsettling is the source of the financial support behind the arrest and prosecution industry’s war on marijuana.

    In particular, the Colorado Drug Investigators Association (CDIA), the group spearheading anti-marijuana lobbying efforts, is sponsored by several local and national businesses including Starbucks Coffee, Glock handguns, and — you guessed it — members of the alcohol industry! This might seem a bit odd, but when you consider the fact that their Web site and merchandise features the grim reaper and military helicopters, a skull motif, and the slogan, “Death on Drugs,” it all makes a little more sense. These guys are not out to protect people; they’re out to fight a literal war on marijuana, ensuring alcohol — the substance that contributes most to the crime and violence that keeps them busy — is the only legal recreational drug available.

    It’s no surprise that the Arrest and Prosecution Industry is determined to maintain the war on marijuana. But Starbucks and other companies’ funding of this war should strike any marijuana consumer or reform supporter as truly appalling. It’s time to stand up and send them all a message.

    Please Take Action Today!

    1. Boycott Starbucks and other sponsors of the CDIA (see below), and CLICK HERE to send Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz an e-mail letting him know you will not be buying Starbucks products until it ends its sponsorship. (Or visit http://tinyurl.com/yelzaux)

    2. CLICK HERE to send a message to the heads of the organizations below, urging them to end their lobbying and stop harassing people for using a substance far safer than alcohol. (Or visit http://tinyurl.com/y9v8u5a)

    Regardless of which action you complete first, you will be given the option of completing the other action, as well. We’ve provided pre-written messages you can edit or send as they are, then we hope you will spread the word about these actions to as many people as possible.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Meet the Arrest and Prosecution Industry

    Colorado Drug Investigators Association (CDIA) — A non-profit trade group for members of law enforcement whose bread and butter is the enforcement of marijuana laws. Their sponsors include not only major businesses like Starbucks Coffee, but also liquor retailers and manufacturers of handguns and body armor. Paired with a Web site and merchandise reminiscent of the Gestapo (see right), these guys are clearly interested in one thing only: maintaining the war on marijuana. Board President and Denver Police Lt. Ernie Martinez is an outspoken opponent of reform who sits on the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel as the police department’s roadblock to enacting SAFER’s successful ballot measures.

    Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) — The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — or Drug Czar’s office — funnels money to this regional organization for the stated purpose of coordinating interdiction and other enforcement efforts. Yet it seems like the group spends far more of its time fighting the movement to reform local, state, and federal marijuana laws. Director Tom Gorman spent countless hours campaigning against SAFER’s statewide legalization initiative in 2006, and he is now working hard to abolish medical marijuana dispensaries.

    U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — The federal government’s primary drug enforcement body, it has a major stake in maintaining the prohibition of the world’s most popular illegal drug — marijuana. Jeffrey Sweetin, the special agent in charge of the Denver field office, has worked to defeat several reform efforts in Colorado, and it was under his watch that agents got caught campaigning against the 2006 statewide initiative.

    These organizations point to the proliferation of drug cartels as their reason for opposing medical marijuana and broader reform, but if the drug cartels continue to operate in Colorado, so do they. In fact, the worst thing for these organizations would be a system of state-licensed medical marijuana producers and dispensaries; not because it would cause harm to anyone, but because it would diminish the illegal production and distribution of marijuana.

    Make no mistake about it, this is a battle over jobs. Supporters of medical marijuana want to create new legitimate, state-licensed businesses with hundred of new taxpaying employees. CDIA wants to ban these new businesses so that they can continue spending taxpayer money to arrest and prosecute people involved with medical marijuana.

    Click here to unsubscribe
    Here ya go! some real information that matters SAFER as called for a BOYCOTT! Heres how you change things limeys!!

  11. Anonymous on

    What kills me is on interviews, all of these politicians and cops say “it’s against the law, if you don’t like the laws change them.” But every time we try they throw these road blocks in front of us. Just like medical marijuana, they say “we need more testing”, but they aren’t allowing any researchers to do any testing with good quality MJ. Just a handful of studies with federally grown bunk weed, and if you have any favorable findings, they pull your license to do studies. INSANITY!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Freethehumans on

    The only way to put an end to these fools is to stop being who they told you you were, which you arent. YOU ARE NOT A PERSON, thats how they get you. They make you believe that you are the entity on your ‘birth certificate’, but you aren’t. They fooled you in school when they said “knowledge is power”, when even that is quite false. Not knowing and enjoying ourselves is what we are supposed to be doing. Why do we think we can even comprehend what is going on in the world when we only process 15 bits of the 11billion bits that come into your head every second. Seems quite rediculous that we should even try to comprehend knowledge. We should allow a higher power to handle those matters, we already know everything, its inside us, you just have to find it again. Stop operating on such low vibrations.

    “You just ain’t a-gonna find it on yer ticket stub, No, and it ain’t in the rumors people’re tellin’ you, And it ain’t in the pimple-lotion people are sellin’ you, And it ain’t in no cardboard-box house, Or down any movie star’s blouse
    And you can’t find it on the golf course, And Uncle Remus can’t tell you and neither can Santa Claus, And it ain’t in the cream puff hair-do or cotton candy clothes, And it ain’t in the dime store dummies or bubblegum goons, And it ain’t in the marshmallow noises of the chocolate cake voices, That come knockin’ and tappin’ in Christmas wrappin’, Sayin’ ain’t I pretty and ain’t I cute and look at my skin, Look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow
    Look at my skin laugh, look at my skin cry, When you can’t even sense if they got any insides, These people so pretty in their ribbons and bows, No you’ll not now or no other day
    Find it on the doorsteps made out-a paper mache¥, And inside it the people made of molasses, That every other day buy a new pair of sunglasses, And it ain’t in the fifty-star generals and flipped-out phonies, Who’d turn yuh in for a tenth of a penny, Who breathe and burp and bend and crack, And before you can count from one to ten, Do it all over again but this time behind yer back, My friend.”
    -Bob Dylan

  13. Anonymous on

    it looks like it will be up to the people to vote on the Cannabis issue, Mr Hurst is not fit to represent the will of the citizens if he is afraid of what the feds think.
    I am not sure how Mr Hurst got this position but as a Public Safety Committee he is not qualified, how can he and the people who voted with him not realize that Cannabis is a medicine and not a toxic plant, we will have to pass the laws to legalize Cannabis and remove the politicians who have lost touch with reality and common sense, you don’t have to be that smart to realize that the sale of Cannabis is a huge market with huge profits and it’s not being taxed and regulated, Mr Goodman has it right on the money, if you vote for prohibition Mr Hurst you are voting for the illegal and violent black market.
    you are voting against the people.
    I would like to know how those public safety committee are elected we must know how we can elect the right people to implement the will of the voters.

  14. Ziegler on

    It’s not a setback, we need to be pushing for decriminalization. Why let the government get its hands on a system that works. They can’t seem to keep the things they have control over now running smooth. would legalization be any different?

  15. Anonymous on

    Agreed. Him and the other members of the “committee” are just doing the bidding of their corporate masters. Also, why in the hell does a small “committee” get to decide what bills are fit to vote on in the legislatures? Shouldn’t such a decision be made by the entire House? I may not understand everything about how the system works, but it seems very un-American and anti-democratic that a minority should get to decide what the majority can vote on.

  16. Anonymous on

    “I cannot, in good conscious”

    ARE YOU concious IDIOT?

  17. Anonymous on

    Sometimes I wonder if these idiots took US Government in high school.

  18. Anonymous on

    SOBs!

  19. Anonymous on

    I don’t understand his reasoning. Apparently, he doesn’t either. There’s nothing in the WA state constitution or in the federal constitution banning pot. He took an oath to uphold those constitutions, not federal law. Idiocy!