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Washington State Stops Testing Parolees For Cannabis


drug test testing welfareCannabis was legalized in Washington State during the 2012 Election. Since the law went into effect, possessing and consuming cannabis is legal (cultivation and sales are not legal at this time). Washington State Department of Corrections recently stopped testing parolees for cannabis considering the fact that it’s now legal to consume. This was an excellent move by the Washington State Department of Corrections.

Per King 5:

“We’re putting some changes into effect so that we won’t routinely test offenders in the community for THC,” said Annmarie Aylward, DOC’s assistant secretary.

THC is the compound in marijuana that produces the high sought by users. The Corrections Department currently tests parolees’ urine for traces of six types of drugs. But the test for THC stopped as of June 1.

“We don’t want them held to that level when, as a citizen, you wouldn’t be held to that level either,” Aylward said.”

Again, this is an excellent move by the Washington State Department of Corrections. I would speculate that this will lead to less parolees testing positive for other, more harmful drugs. Since cannabis stays in your system longer than most other drugs, many parolees use other drugs that only stay in the system for a few days as a substitute. Those substances are much more harmful, and often result in more criminal activity by the user who is then trying to do anything they can go get their fix.

I think this will also lead to less alcohol consumption by parolees who would rather use cannabis, which is a good thing. Whereas alcohol is associated with increased chances of violent behavior, the opposite is true for cannabis. Hopefully future legal states will follow suit. While industry regulations are a great side effect to legalizing cannabis, we must always keep in mind the number one benefit of ending prohibition is ending the incarceration of those who utilize cannabis. In this regard, the Washington law has been a tremendous success.

Source: International Cannabis Business Conference


About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.


  1. To the State of Washington I have one word for you BRAVO. If the rest of our great nations law makers, judges and our lawmen had your huge balls. Our country would be one step closer to being perfect. Great job Washington state. What about Colorado and other legal states?

  2. malcolmkyle on

    An ever-growing body of scientific research clearly demonstrates that Marijuana is less addictive than a cup of tea.

    Dr. Jack E. Henningfield of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz of the University of California at San Francisco ranked six psychoactive substances on five criteria.

    Withdrawal — The severity of withdrawal symptoms produced by stopping the use of the drug.

    Reinforcement — The drug’s tendency to induce users to take it again and again.

    Tolerance — The user’s need to have ever-increasing doses to get the same effect.

    Dependence — The difficulty in quitting, or staying off the drug, the number of users who eventually become dependent

    Intoxication — The degree of intoxication produced by the drug in typical use.

    The tables listed below show the rankings given for each of the drugs. Overall, their evaluations for the drugs are very consistent. It is notable that marijuana ranks below caffeine in most addictive criteria, while alcohol and tobacco are near the top of the scale in many areas.

    The rating scale is from 1 to 6 — 1 denotes the drug with the strongest addictive tendencies, while 6 denotes the drug with the least addictive tendencies.


    Withdrawal Reinforcement Tolerance Dependence Intoxication

    Nicotine 3 4 2 1 5

    Heroin 2 2 1 2 2

    Cocaine 4 1 4 3 3

    Alcohol 1 3 3 4 1

    Caffeine 5 6 5 5 6

    Marijuana 6 5 6 6 4


    Withdrawal Reinforcement Tolerance Dependence Intoxication

    Nicotine 3 4 4 1 6

    Heroin 2 2 2 2 2

    Cocaine 3 1 1 3 3

    Alcohol 1 3 4 4 1

    Caffeine 4 5 3 5 5

    Marijuana 5 6 5 6 4

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