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Proposal To Defelonize Drug Possession Filed In Washington, Receives Public Hearing Date


washington state medical marijuana raidsHouse Bill 1024, filed by Representative Sherry Appleton on December 8th, would remove felony charges for the personal possession of illegal substances, reducing the charge to a simple (non-gross) misdemeanor. According to an official fiscal note for an identical bill, the proposal would save the state millions of dollars each year, would free up prison space and would prevent over 9,000 nonviolent, drug-related felonies from occurring each year. Charges involving distribution or manufacturing drugs, and any charge involving minors, would remain unaltered.

Defelonizing personal drug possession in Washington State is officially supported by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a coalition of thousands of current and former law enforcement professionals, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Washington CURE and the ACLU of Washington.

Legislative supporters include Rep. June Robinson (Assistant Majority Whip), Rep. Luis Moscoso, Rep. Chris Reykdal, Rep. Jim Moeller (Speaker Pro Tempore), Rep. Jessyn Farrell, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (Deputy Majority Whip), King County Councilor Dave Upthegrove and Senator Jeannie Kohl-Welles.

House Bill 1024 has been placed in the House Public Safety Committee, and has been scheduled for a public hearing on January 16th at 10AM. Identical legislation from the 2014 session – House Bill 2161 – received a public hearing in the same committee, with not a single individual or organization speaking in opposition to the measure.

During the 2014 general election, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 47, a similar proposal to Washington’s bill, which removed felony charges for many drug-related offenses.


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Johnny Green


  1. The only way out is no regulation, no tax, and anyone can open a store. Once the government controls the rich will buy the business and no one else will be allowed entry.

    Legal cartels and crony capitalism is what we are asking for when we say “tax and regulate”.

    No more regulated than tomatoes. No more taxed than tomatoes.

  2. My biggest issue, the one thing that I advocate the most for, is that truly ill medical patients continue having safe, affordable access to their medicine. Here’s a quote Monday from Pete Holmes, Seattle’s City attorney, in his 20 page recommendation to the state legislature in session Jan 12.

    ” Mr. Holmes’ policy statement called for medical-grade cannabis standards, medical cannabis consultants licensed by the state, and an exemption from the marijuana excise tax for pot with low psychoactive levels”

    Did you get that last part? A plan to dismantle 17 years of WA. State medical marijuana law. Turning it into just another Red state style high CBD only BS medical cannabis law? When we heard the federal government passed the budget bill which included stronger protections for states already having medical marijuana laws. I thought we’d turned a corner finally. Then I read this, going to the legislature. Honestly, wouldn’t you be a little steamed too?

  3. David, I don’t mean to rain on your parade because I kind of agree with what you’re saying. However, your definition of black market is a bit off. Example: High grade from Calif., Colo., Wash St., etc. is also black market product according to law (ask some law enforcement people in say Alabama, Okla., Texas, Idaho, etc.)

  4. You know what $10 an lb (hot house tomatoes) is? Less than two and a half cents a g. Let us say you have to mark it up, pay for bagging etc. A quarter seems fair. More than fair.

    At the very least any legal state that doesn’t allow for grow your own is guilty of a crime. Or maybe we ought to call it crony capitalism so it is clear in your mind.

  5. Yeah. And not everyone is poor either.

    I live in Illinois.

    I’m a firm believer in letting the market decide what people can get. Let the stores sell everything. You want to buy tested grade AAA? Fine. You want to buy something less or much less? Fine.

    And you know why I hate taxes more than usual? Eric Garner.

    Why isn’t government satisfied with getting the taxes tomatoes provide? Why do the poor need to be raped by government? Why should there be support for a black market? What about cancer patients who can require a pound or two for a cure? Why does that have to cost so much?

    Why should government treat us like the Mafia would? “Buy from our stores or some very bad things will happen to you. You could lose a lot of money. You could go to jail. And if you complain we might kill you.”

    $10 a g is $4,530 an lb. $25 a g is $11,325 an lb. It sure looks like robbery to me when hot house tomatoes are under $10 an lb including distribution.

  6. The store lines are out the doors. Surveys show people are willing to pay more for quality lab-tested, and labeled cannabis. State lab test’s recently showed that Washington growers are providing non-medical stores the best quality, highest THC % cannabis, grown anywhere in America. Washington is set to become a cannabis destination due to it’s quality offering not found elsewhere.. Sorry, the Black-market can’t match that. Besides, who really wants to support people that put de-decapitated heads on highways? Not me! Cheap is cheap as my old man used to say. There’s a valid reason why consumers are offered so many different retail purchasing options. It’s either Nieman Marcus, or Walmart. Cost-cutter or PCC Markets. I know which ones I prefer.

  7. Yes. But they want huge taxes. Which supports the Black Market. And they want to keep the war going with fewer incarcerations.

    No more regulated than tomatoes. No more taxed than tomatoes.

  8. it sounds like Washington wants to keep more citizen’s from booking a room at the Many Bar Motel.

  9. Step in right direction ….. Huge step, we don’t need those people in jail if not supporting criminal activity….. Many are working folk caught with personal stash in a traffic stop and then they end up with felony rap and loose their job and resort to a life of crime to support their habit ……

    What should happen is the misdemeanor ticket and appearance with a counselor not a judge …..

    You could expand and say after X times you do weekends in rehab center and community service or something to help educate against drugs and make them have a sense of accomplishment on the community service side …..

    Just some silly thoughts!

  10. The California effort included heroin and was supported by Newt Gingrich.

    It is a holding tactic. Supplies will still be illegal. Users will not be punished. Just like Alcohol Prohibition.

    The idea is to keep the cartels in business.

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