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Cops and Judges Endorse Washington Marijuana Legalization Initiative I-502


yes on i502Law 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.”

David Nichols, a retired judge in Bellingham, added, “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. We don’t need the backs of our police cars, our courtrooms or our jails filled with people caught on marijuana charges.”

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. If I-502 is passed, there will be penalties in place to punish driving while impaired or use by persons under 21 years old.

James Doherty, a former prosecutor who lives in Seattle, added, “By regulating and controlling marijuana, we will make it less available to teenagers. 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.

More information about the initiative is online at http://www.newapproachwa.org

Coloradans will also vote on a statewide initiative to legalize and tax marijuana this November.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others who support legalization after fighting on the front lines of the “war on drugs” and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeMarijuana.com.


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  1. You can’t treat a health problem (addiction) with criminal penalties. That’s not how mental health is treated.If we are going to keep criminalizing health issues, I say we start by making wackness illegal.

  2. “No medical cannabis patient or supporter should even consider voting for ” I-502.

    For opponents of I-502 it is imperative that medical cannabis users not “consider” voting for I-502.

    Consideration is not a result. It is a process. It means careful thought, usually over a period of time. Voting without consideration is a mindless activity.

    It looks like New Approach Washington is making the same case to all the prohibitionists–consider, in the true sense of the word,  the initiative in light of the present reality, then make a decision. Given careful thought, I am confident that voters will say, “Yes,” to I-502.

  3. Should we not have ended slavery because it was replaced by the flawed and deeply immoral Jim Crow?  Jim Crow was then replaced by mass incarceration that imprisons more black men than there were black male slaves before the civil war.  Should we not have ended Jim Crow because of our flawed laws and prison system?  The struggle for social justice never ends, improvements are incremental and never perfect, but we make them nonetheless.

    Arguing that we shouldn’t pass i502 because it is flawed is contrary to centuries of civil rights struggles.  Tax and regulate cannabis.


  4. Commenting on the support for I-502 by former cops and judges, the
    Seattle PI reported on Jay Inslee’s announcement of his prohibitionist
    position. While Inslee could have taken a neutral, “let the people
    decide stance,” he has chosen to align himself against his party which
    endorsed I-502 and to join Rob McKenna in his opposition to I-502.

    Because safe and affordable access to cannabis used medicinally will not
    happen until prohibition ends, Inslee’s position is pure pandering, 
    “I’m in favor of making sure people have access to medical marijuana . .
    . I’m not comfortable with voting for that initiative.”

    Reporter Joel Connelly points out,  I-502 has “drawn opposition from
    medical marijuana providers and writes that, “The providers are using
    DUI provisions of the legislation [to oppose the initiative], but appear
    to be protecting a business over which they currently hold a monopoly.”

    Money and the politics of cowardice are powerful forces upholding marijuana prohibition.

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