|Norm Stamper, LEAP: “Everyone knows that marijuana prohibition has failed”|
Law Enforcers Say Ending Prohibition Will Improve Public Safety
A group of police officers, prosecutors, judges and other criminal justice professionals – including Seattle’s former chief of police – is endorsing I-502, the Washington initiative to regulate and tax marijuana that voters will decide on this November.
Norm Stamper, the former Seattle chief and a spokesman for the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), said, “Everyone knows that marijuana prohibition has failed. When even those who once worked to enforce these laws are saying this, the only logical next step is to enact a system that legalizes, regulates and controls marijuana.
“Doing so will not only take money away from the gangs and cartels that sell marijuana now, but will generate new, much-needed revenue that can be used to pay the salaries of police officers and teachers and for substance abuse prevention and education,” Stamper said.
“Replacing the criminalization of the marijuana trade with a public health approach grounded in science will allow our criminal justice system to fully focus on stopping and solving violent crimes and crimes against property,” added David Nichols, a retired judge in Bellingham. “We don’t need the backs of our police cars, our courtrooms or our jails filled with people caught on marijuana charges.”
(I hope that goes for marijuana DUI charges as well, since I-502 also creates a new per se five nanogram per milliliter [5 ng/ml] blood THC limit, superseding Washington’s current law, which is based on actual impairment.)
If I-502 is passed, there will be penalties in place to punish driving with a blood THC level more than 5 ng/ml, or use by persons under 21 years old (for whom a zero tolerance DUI rule would apply).
I-502 would strictly regulate the sale of marijuana to adults over 21. The initiative would not change laws regarding medical marijuana or impairment in the workplace.
“By regulating and controlling marijuana, we will make it less available to teenagers,” said James Doherty, a former prosecutor who lives in Seattle. “Ask any high school student whether it is easier to get marijuana or alcohol. Most will say marijuana, because alcohol is regulated and controlled under the law, and marijuana is controlled by illegal dealers who don’t ask for I.D.”
Recent statewide polling shows a double-digit margin of support for the initiative.
Other high-profile criminal justice professionals who have endorsed I-502 include former FBI special agent in charge Charles Mandigo and former US Attorneys John McKay and Katrina C. Pflaumer.
Coloradans will also vote on a statewide initiative to legalize and tax marijuana this November.