Washington: Lawmakers Vote For "Continued Chaos"

They say that the will of politicians often lags behind the sentiment of the public. Nowhere is this adage more clear than when it comes to marijuana law reform.
It was business as usual today in Olympia, as lawmakers on the House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness voted down a pair of bills aimed at reforming the state’s failed criminal marijuana laws.
House Bill 2401 sought to regulate the adult production, use, and distribution of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. Here was the roll call vote:
Hurst (D) Chair — N
O’Brien (D) Vice Chair — N
Pearson (R) — N
Klippert (R) — N
Appleton (D) — Y
Goodman (D) — Y

Kirby (D) — N
Ross (R) — N
House Bill 1177 was much more limited in scope, seeking simply to reclassify minor marijuana possession offenses from a criminal misdemeanor to a fine-only civil infraction. (Note, its Senate companion bill, SB 5615, awaits floor action in the Senate.) This change, known as decriminalization, is already the law in over a dozen states.
Here was the roll call vote:
Hurst (D) Chair — N
O’Brien (D) Vice Chair — Y
Pearson (R) — N
Klippert (R) — N
Appleton (D) — Y
Goodman (D) — Y

Kirby (D) — N
The legislative defeats came despite nearly two hours of public testimony, nearly all of which was in support of one or both reform proposals.
So what reasons did lawmakers give for voting ‘no’ on these reforms? Here’s just a few excuses.
Committee Chair, democrat Christopher Hurst alleged that as a state lawmakers he is sworn to uphold both state and federal law, and claimed that both proposals would be in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. (For the record, neighboring Oregon first decriminalized marijuana possession offenses in 1973 and has never run afoul of federal law. Likewise, New Mexico’s government has licensed the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes without incident.)
Republican Brad Klippert stated, “As a law enforcement officer … on countless occasions I’ve seen the negative effects of marijuana on people’s lives.” (By that logic I suppose that the Representative would also vote to criminally prohibit alcohol, tobacco, and fatty foods.)
Fellow Republican Kirk Pearson claimed that just by lawmakers talking about the bills they were encouraging teens to try marijuana. (“I don’t want to do anything today that would make drug use seem safer to teenagers,” he said, even though by his own logic he was better off keeping his mouth shut.)
Finally, Democrat Rep. Steve Kirby alleged that he supported the reforms, in theory, but then inexplicably said that such changes in policy “require a vote of the public,” not action by the legislature. (Um, was marijuana prohibition enacted by a vote of the public?) Ultimately, however, Rep. Kirby may get his wish, as NORML Legal Committee member Douglas Hiatt has filed a petition to put the marijuana legalization issue on the November 2010 state ballot, and a recent statewide poll shows that if the election was held today it would win.
In the end, however, Democrat Rep. Roger Goodman stood as the minority voice of reason when he told his colleagues: “A ‘no’ vote … is a vote for prohibition and the illegal markets that it spawns. A ‘yes’ vote is a vote for control. … A ‘no’ is a vote for continued chaos.”
It’s a lesson that the public has already learned — even if a majority of their elected officials have not. Perhaps now is the time to teach them.

0 thoughts

  1. Not that surprised, just disappointed by the ignorance and moral arrogence of the “civil servents”

  2. This is sad and wrong, the answers are all but slapping the governments faces and no one will go for it. Its becoming more and more apparent to me that almost any of our state and federal political officals care little to not at all towards the feelings of the american public. Personally im losing any hope that we can pull our heads out of our rears as a country.

  3. What a shame … had high hopes for Washington. Such disgusting lies that continue to belch forth from the prohibitionists mouths.
    Kinda wish I lived in Washington now just so I could join in the marijuana legalization issue on the November 2010 state ballot.
    You’ve heard the NO’s arguing points Washington state people – it’ll be easy to prove them wrong. And anticipate another LEO approach, cover your bases and slam these prohibitionists into the ground (not literally).

  4. good, I’m not 21 yet and drug dealers don’t ID. I don’t want weed legalized until I’m 21 anyway. Sad but true.

  5. No surprise that the cop voted no. He and his colleagues would actually have to go after real criminals if it was passed. Also this same argument that it will “tell teens to smoke marijuana” is bullshit and i’m sick of it. I cant watch a single sporting event on tv without being forced to watch a ton of alcohol commercials. Give me a fucking break and just legalize it and regulate it already.

  6. Could’nt you use the same ballot initative process that has been successful in Massachusetts or California here?
    [Paul Armentano responds: Yes, and there is an effort, led by the NORML Legal Committee’s Douglas Hiatt to place this issue on the 2010 WA state ballot.]

  7. In Cali. you don’t need a Doctor’s recommendation to purchase prescription drugs , Alcohol or Tobacco that may kill you or cause numerous irreversible health problems
    you need a Doctor’s recommendation to purchase Marijuana that will not kill you or cause any irreversible health problems .

  8. …and the ignorant remain ignorant. Well this isn’t going to stop me from getting marijuana still. I can’t believe they’re actually too ignorant to see how badly prohibition has failed, and too stubborn to change it.

  9. Rep. Hurst did say he did not want to drag things on for 6 weeks and unfairly impede the initiative that was filed last Monday. A wise political move?
    Rep. Kirby- Said that he could support a bill of this nature, but this one is lacking in clarity on manufacturing and distribution.
    HB 1177
    Representative Goodman proposed an amendment to the bill in section 5, wanting prevention as well as treatment listed. The vote was against it.
    Rep Appleton stated that it re-inserts police into the bill, making it something that could be on a persons record, keeping people from being able to obtain funding for college, job clearance, and housing. She sated that 56% of WA State citizens believe marijuana should be legal or decriminalized and that if they don’t pass a HB that it will be taken out of their hands and taken over by the people. She couldn’t vote for it the way it was worded
    Rep. Hurst said he rarely disagrees with Rep. O’brian but he does on this HB. He stated there’s no provision to NOT be charged a crime if found on a boat, crossing the border, etc.. that would lead to a “life time of despair” because people wouldn’t be able to obtain high security jobs, rent a place, go to college, and voted no.
    The two house bills were flawed to say the least. Sensible WA is our BIG HOPE!Can’t wait for the petition!
    [Paul Armentano responds: To clarify, Rep. Appelton did vote for the bill after the caucus. It was clarified that the substitute bill would still treat offenses as a civil infraction.]

  10. Disgusts me that elected leaders do not do the will of the public. They do not care for the well being of patients, and the bullshit propaganda they still spread is ridiculous. The war on drugs has accomplished NOTHING but the deaths of thousands of mexicans. Fuck all of those that said no in that vote.

  11. You have to wonder why these elected officials would choose to continue with a system of a black market and no control and no monetary gain for the state. Who exactly do they represent? Could it be that they get most of their financial support from those that profit from prohibition? How long will it take for them to understand that the only substances they actually control are the ones that are allowed to be traded on the open market.

  12. Think of it this way – just a short number of years ago, this bill would have never made it even this far, and if it did, there would surely not be any “Yes” votes. It would have been, at least in their minds, career suicide.

  13. This really pisses me off. After Seattle recently decided to no longer pursue marijuana offenses, with studies showing no increase in crime and abuse, after several states already have successful legislature concerning decriminalization, the politicians can no longer be called ignorant. This is beyond stupidity.

  14. Well, at least we did get a yes. They said it has to be done by a ballet vote – that was the noose in WA state. Maybe the one who said this was voting no to save her career, but knows that the public will all vote yes. A cowardly act, I suppose. But maybe there is some underlying plan there. I dunno.

  15. I watched roll call for both bills and it just made me sick. They are only looking out for there own interest. Hopefully voters will remember this.

  16. First NEVER vote x law enforcement into elected office. Second vote OUT ALL elected officials who oppose Marijuana Reform.
    All of you in Washington are responcable to be registered to vote before november election as long as it makes the ballet.
    Vote NO to professional politicians who seek only to push there views on the public. Time to stand up and be counted and take control back.
    Also, if it is voted on, make it so the State CANNOT tax Marijuana what so ever. State does not want to deal with NOW, therefor there shall NOT gain from it later.
    Fair deal to me..

  17. I just want to say thx you to the elected officials that keep the black market going tax free !!! it help’s keep the the drugs on the street free of the nagging control that Republican Brad Klippert and his ilk could have imposed thou tax and quality control now dealers can keep selling to kids worry free !!! Thanks Brad

  18. What do these (No) voters have to gain from this prohibition? I have pondered this question for the past hour and got nothing.
    Surely there is no way myself (a 21 year old anti social high school dropout) can out weigh the value of this bill over politicians so whats there deciding factor?

  19. I think deep down inside, It will NEVER be Legal…Look at the fines they would loss..My friend got busted with a 8th he had to pay a $5000 FINE,that went directly to the local court..And its worth more money illegal..A 8th on the streets run for $50-$100.That will all come to an end if legalized..

  20. Wow, Washington really fuckin’ this up. I thought you guys were liberal in the Pac NW??? What’s wrong with the Washington state government? embarrassing man, that’s all we can say.

  21. I watched last weeks hearings for the bills, though it was (in my opinon) about 90% of the people who came and spoke were fully for one or both bills. This being said, I think this is a clear example of our elected officials not caring about what the people want. Though in every poll, and every debate people will always say the prohibition is madness and must end, If our elected officials are willing to take hearings from over 75% of the public who want these bills passed, then by OUR American form of Government, they should, in all good conscience pass a bill that the American people want and have continually asked for.
    The only way to Show them we mean business is not settling for officials who will not listen to the people. Do not vote for anyone who supports prohabition and do not settle for less than what YOU want to see in this “free” country of ours. YOU have the power!

  22. americans aways fucked-up cannabis culture, brainless moneymakers.
    Watch this documentary http://www.megaupload.com/?d=TRKRAEVH tells about the drug trafficking in rio de janeiro, brazil.. sadly this is a real history… all the norml members should been watchin this movie!!! for introduce some questions in speechs. In south america, all the problems of prohibition is 1000 times worst

  23. This bill would have been much better if it included the right to grow your own, tax-free, under a legal system. Similar to the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act. This proposal had no such provision, which in turn did not allow for the public the right to grow their own. I heard many people speak out against this, and I hope in the future, that bills include the right for adults to grow their own cannabis.
    Overall, I think that cannabis should be legalized, similar to what the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act is trying to do, but that I did not much like the bill that was took under consideration. I would have liked it more if it allowed the people to grow tax-free cannabis on their own land, if they didn’t sell it at all. In order to sell it, they should have to get a license. But, if they don’t plan to sell it, people should be allowed to grow their own, and as much as they would like to, at that.

  24. this royalaly sucks and those peopel who wanted the no’s to keep the black market open dont you see if the goverment could control it the price would go down those of you who sell different substances to keep a roof over your head this of all the other stuff out their you should vote a yes marijuana is cheap in comparison why not just sell somethign liek coke that sells for a shitload a gram ? or find a real job that always works too.

  25. Good thing they voted this down now. I know it doesn’t look that way now, but don’t worry, soon we will be too broke to prosecute low level drug offenses and everything will be just fine. It’s a shame that we have to wait until the country is virtually collapsing around us. With state and federal funds drying up like a puddle in the desert, before long the investigation, seizure, prosecution, and incarceration of marijuana users will simply be too expensive to continue. The subsequent legalization will generate too much money to be ignored (even at less than $10 an eighth) and before long would be viewed as too valuable to be thrown under the bus of prohibition ever again. If it were legalized a moment before that time however, the up-tick in “apparent use” would raise too many concerns for the pussys running the country, and we’d fall back into prohibition as soon as we could afford to.

  26. When is this country going to wake up!! We are still living under the lies and propoganda of Harry J Anslinger and William Randolph Hearst. This isnt the 1930s wake up America. LEGALIZE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Remember these names at voting time. It’s our state and we will overcome this corruption. These conspirators are slowly being weeded out.

  28. I have printed off a copy of the roll call votes. I will send this to 10 of my friends and advise them to vote out those not in favor of the 2 bills! In turn I will ask them to do the same with 10 of their friends. If all of us that read these post will do this, these lame representatives that will not exercise our WANTS, will then be gone from our Gov’t.I’ve had about an Assfull of these so called representatives who do nothing but take, take, take, to further their own career & needs!
    signed:Pissed Off In Seattle

  29. I am so irritated I ended up calling a couple of these people. I live in CA but it’s time America as a whole starts speaking up more.

  30. I just don’t understand why people can’t wrap their heads around the fact that something can sound good but not actually be good. Like saying no one can have marijuana so we can put out a firm drug-free message to kids. That sounds fine and dandy until you realize that now the only way to know if someone is selling to kids is to catch them red handed, which is often impossible as many deals happen indoors on private property!
    The main opponents are always people who believe that their souls will be saved for all of eternity by a celestial bipolar god, or people who make money busting people for something so close to harmless.
    Its ridiculous.

  31. Its not the politicians driving prohibition. I cannot stress this enough and this war will NEVER end until people wake up. Marijuana prohibition is controlled by the secret society known as the illumanati. Im just gonna throw that out there guys, and before we dismiss this as another conspiracy theory. Ive been researching this for years now and now im finally getting somewhere. I encourage everyone to do their own research because i sincerely believe we are fighting prohibition the wrong way. Most people don’t even know who the real shot callers are. This cult has got us chasing our tails and writing the wrong people. Marijuana law reform is in the hands of a few greedy men not the states! We can change this. Find out which politicians the Freemason’s are backing and get rid of them. The illumanati do not yet have complete control over the states yet but once their man wins the race they will have power for that term. We can change this by voting these bastards out of office before they even get in. Don’t even let these guys get their right foot on the political stage. Vote good trustworthy people into office, people who care about the human race and don’t seek to control it. Love doesn’t make us weaker, in the end it makes us right. Research secret societies and world history, learn the truth, FIGHT THE POWER. God save us all from Tyranny.

  32. I’m confused because I watched the public testimony and NORML (I’m not sure if it was just the Washington chapter or what), was against the bills and for good reason. The decriminalization bill upped the punishment to eventually be a felony after getting caught a couple times, thus not truly decriminalizing it. I forget the reasons against the legalization bill though.
    [Paul Armentano responds: HB 1177 does not increase penalties on multiple offenses. National NORML testified in favor of both measures. A local individual that represented a non-functioning NORML state affiliate testified against the bills, but he did not represent NORML’s position, and the NORML state affiliate has been temporarily de-certified.]

  33. the movement has reached some kind of positive momentum vibe not FELT since the sixties.
    in the sixties you could toke with your friends in a circle almost anywhere there was some space and simply enjoy.
    legalize yesterday
    flowa powa

  34. “As a law enforcement officer … on countless occasions I’ve seen the negative effects of marijuana on people’s lives.”
    lel me fix this.
    As a citizen – on countless occasions I’ve seen the negative effects of government on people’s lives.

  35. I am all for the initiative that will be coming out soon, probably will even send some $$ their way, and will help gather signatures.
    As a MedMJ person I am glad that HB2401 got shot down, it would have removed the legal protections that I now have,to grow my medicine.

  36. There is no logic, it’s just a police state full of hate, crime, and corruption. There is a big demand on busting pot smokers and taking away their property, their family, and their future. There is no logic, no sympathy, no freedom, just blame it on marijuana.

  37. the ballot initiative process is the only answer. by petition, the populace will have their vote count for what the majority has said loud and clear. it is clearly evident that legislatures will continue to vote for big oil, big pharmacy, big tobacco, and big government. that’s why i ask the question…in which states can the people gather signatures and have the issue placed on the ballot, and how many signatures would be required for said state. until then, minnesotans will suffer under the vote of one man, new jerseans will live with we control and you cannot grow, and in michigan…the legislature has taken upon itself the task of circumventing the majority vote and will change the policy with what’s best for big business, under the guise of we know what’s best for you. i vote for complete legalization and i want a petition that says exactly that. so does the majority. if the truths of marijuana were known, the american people would know they could grow their own medicine, have a tobacco that doesn’t contain a ton of man made additives, make their own clothes, process their own fuels, make the finest paper, and clean the air quality up as an extra bonus, all in one God made plant that contains a plethura of medicines that the big pharmacy is doing its best to synthicize without alerting the general public, so they won’t grow their own. this is where paul revere says the british are coming, i say they’ve been running the government since 1911, so did woodrow wilson…”there is an element that has invaded our government” a small group of contemptible men have made us a contemptible nation”. where is the life,liberty, and pursuit of happiness? wall street and big oil have put us all in debt for the next 30 years. they proudly proclaim that the united states has the most productive workforce in the world…we are indeed the most productive slaves in the world. i vote for complete legalization, so does the majority of the american people. when does that vote count?

  38. Whatever, Not gonna keep me from Smoking. Way to go Party of Hate”aka republicans” you still have the ability to hold society back and control the masses for your own benefit. Be sure and pat yourselves on the back at church Sunday and congratulate all your fellow hateful sheep on another job poorly done.
    Ban organized religion and let freedom ring. Puff Puff Pass…..

  39. Well washinton, I guess its time for you to teach these kuckle darggers a lesson.
    1) Vote yes on the november ballot and show them how easy it is
    2) When it comes to election time , vote the ‘NO’ voters out , this will send a message to future ‘Civil sevants’.
    Just a matter of time before WE THE PEOPLE take back our country…one state at a time if nessesary.

  40. I cant believe neither of the bills were even altered to suit just medicinal reasons. You can do alot with the plant itself besides for the bangin buds, HEMP hellloooo clothing. How much money will that save importing from hong kong or somewhere! they need to do their research, not just think oh ‘weed,crime,war’ not the case.

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