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King County Sheriff Endorses Marijuana Legalization

King County Sheriff Steve Strachan: I think the current situation is bad for the rule of law, bad for the criminal justice system and and it sends a bad message to our kids.

The movement to legalize marijuana gained more momentum this week with a nod from the King County Sheriff and another $1 million in donations, the Seattle Times is reporting.

Steve Strachan, who is running for election, told the Times Monday he would vote for Initiative 502, which would “bring clarity” to the conflicting state and federal laws regarding marijuana. “I think the current situation is bad for the rule of law, bad for the criminal justice system and and it sends a bad message to our kids.”

Strachan also said as a former school resource officer, he knows that marijuana is easier for kids to get than alcohol.

“With alcohol being highly regulated, we’re able to have a more reasonable discussion about it, in societies and in our families. If we treat marijuana like people are already informally treating it, you can make choices based on boundaries set by parents… (Currently) people are sort of winking at it. It lives it this kind of limbo –- its illegal, but also not. I think discussions will lead to better outcomes than the really ambiguous, confusing messages we’re sending to our kids.”

Strachan’s opponent, longtime Sheriff’s spokesman John Urquhart, has also endorsed I-502.

According to the Secretary of State office’s website, I-502 would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over 21; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues.

The effort to legalize marijuana also received an influx of money last week. With his $670,000 donation, Peter Lewis, the Progressive Insurance founder and marijuana-legalization advocate, has given $1.55 million to the cause, which has raised a total of nearly $4 million, the Times said.

The only organized opposition to I-502 is by a group of medical marijuana patients and retailers. No on 502 has raised $5,760.

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Now that both candidates for King County Sheriff have endorsed I-502, are you more or less likely to support the measure? Which way will you vote? Tell us in comments.

Kelly Busey October 04, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Exactly, Becky. Don't fall for the propaganda put out there by the pro-marijuana groups. They are not telling the whole story.
Kelly Busey October 04, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I agree with decriminalization, Larry. (Don't confuse "decriminalization" with "legalization.") Making possession of small amounts of marijuana akin to a traffic ticket (which would go to collections if not paid) would save the criminal justice system a lot of time and money. (Although your milk analogy is funny, it clearly is satire.)
John Snow October 04, 2012 at 06:59 PM
@Kelly Busey. "There are NO marijuana misdemeanants in prison - and VERY rarely in jail, for that matter." According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2009 about 18% of the state prisoners were there for drug offenses, and about 40% in federal prisons. Marijuana is a Federal Schedule I drug (because of THC content), the same as heroin, but I doubt you would find one informed person in ten that would agree that THC is as bad as opiates. Why, then, are we locking up so many pot smokers? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Schedule_I_drugs_%28US%29
John W. October 04, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Active Citizen + comment = liberal tree hugger with no clue.
John W. October 04, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Those who chose to smoke it will pay for their own medical costs, not us. Medical costs are already through the roof thanks to our wonderful president, and it was only to increase revenue for this country. Pot smokers are responsible for their own medical expenses just as the rest of us are unless you feel like paying for my next doctor visit.
Deborah Morgan October 05, 2012 at 01:17 AM
I am the VOCAL CITIZEN, known by that name far and wide on the internet and especially due to my Examiner.com column. I am a journalist who fights hours every day for the re-legalization of cannabis and its derivatives. I can tell you unabashedly that cannabis does NOT have the effects you've described. By voting against legalization (unless you have a specific problem with a particular aspect of the legalization initiative's language), you are essentially telling the children of your state that you'd rather leave the multi-billion dollar a year marijuana industry in the hands of people who will not ask them for I.D. Whether you approve of marijuana use for yourself or your children personally is irrelevant to the cause of overall freedom in our society for adults. People are legally allowed to abort unborn children, gamble away their children's college funds, smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, view pornography, and let themselves or their children become obese. Don't talk about responsibility or moderation. And THAT is from the Vocal Citizen. @VocalCitizen
Deborah Morgan October 05, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Another gem of information: one does not have to burn marijuana to gain benefit. Smoking marijuana is only one of four delivery methods of the substance. There are already vaporizers for marijuana. No smoke, only vapor which dissipates quickly after it is exhaled. And it's safe for the body. One can cook marijuana flowers into their food, by way of making marijuana-infused oils and butters. Or a tincture can be made to be rubbed on like lotion to relieve pain. Another point: Testing for THC within 28 days of using marijuana will come up positive. The human body has cannabinoid receptors, to which marijuana compounds adhere. Our bodies were designed (by nature or God, take your pick) to ingest and process this substance. Alcohol, prescription pills, cocaine, heroin, meth... these are poisons to the human body and are, therefore, flushed quickly from the system. There is a mountain of scientific and medical evidence which supports legalization and adult use of marijuana, both for recreational and medicinal use. I encourage you to educate yourselves.
Your Neighbor October 05, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Please answer these questions for me: 1. I thought "medical marijuana" was for terminally ill cancer patients. By looking at the crowd attendance from Hemp Day in Seattle, we must have an overabundance of terminally ill people in our state. Can someone tell me what are the typical medical conditions a person has to have in order to get a prescription? 2. If we lowered the THC level in the legalized marijuana, would this lower the demand? If the regulated THC level is lowered and it comes in a pill form (not a social/party drug - think of if you made fondue into a pill, it takes the fun away), I would think a demand would be created for bootleg mj that is laced with "better" stuff than what the government regulates. How would regulating mj solve this problem?
Tony Dondero October 05, 2012 at 04:20 AM
I don't think anyone in the medical field or law enforcement would argue that any more than a limited amount of marijuana (or alcohol for that matter) is any good for you (meaning adults) the question here is whether it should be a crime. Prohibition of alcohol was tried and it failed miserably, the marijuana laws haven't been very effective either.
Active Citizen October 05, 2012 at 06:09 AM
John, do you realize what you're saying? Let's take the money and profits out of the black market...to where?? into the hands of government? It sure sounds to me like you just want to shift who makes the money. Your goal is to give the government their share of income in the drug trade?
Active Citizen October 05, 2012 at 06:12 AM
This Michael Baumgartner sounds greedy to get his hands, and the other government workers hands, on the money from drug trade. It sounds disgusting. Just because something can make money for you doesn't mean you should legalize it, regulate it and tax it. Where are people's morals and conscience these days?
Active Citizen October 05, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Tere, good points. I was once in a car accident and hit by this guy who was so obviously stoned. His eyes were not focusing properly, his reaction time was slowed, and he demonstrated very poor judgement when driving through the intersection. That's the kind of drivers we'll have a lot more of if marijuana is legalized. Look out everyone on the road!
Active Citizen October 05, 2012 at 06:34 AM
John, why are you so hostile? Of course I don't know everything about it. who does? I have however worked with numerous clients who were trying to get off of marijuana. I've also worked with people who were having a lot of problems because of their marijuana use and didn't want to get off of it because they were emotionally and physically dependent upon it. It causes serious problems for people, and for the people whom they live with or work for. I'm all for making things easier and better for our police officers. But legalizing pot will not reach that goal. It will make things worse for police and society.
John Snow October 05, 2012 at 02:21 PM
@Active Citizen. I was almost hit in the Hollywood roundabout Wednesday by a man who was so obviously old: inattentive, reacting slowly, and exhibiting very poor judgement. Maybe we should outlaw old? Don't assume that marijuana use will jump just because it becomes legal. It is so easy to get now that anyone who wants it can get it. Also don't assume that keeping it illegal will protect you from people who are stoned on legal prescription medications, alcohol, lack of sleep, or simple unawareness. The whole point of legalizing marijuana is not to allow hordes of newly-intoxicated people, but to decrease the societal harm that the drug war and hyper-expensive drugs inflict.
Greg Johnston (Editor) October 05, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Interesting developments: http://news.yahoo.com/prominent-republicans-washington-state-colorado-endorse-legal-pot-042940398.html
T. Schriever October 05, 2012 at 04:56 PM
The "Active Citizen" and "Your Neighbor" and others hiding behind fictitious names are most likely hiding more than their name. I agree that MJ is a gateway drug, but not to crack and heroin. Because of the government laws, it has become a gateway to criminal behavior and associations with organized criminals. Legalization would end that relationship.
Joe S October 05, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Part one: If you want to know what medical conditions qualify, check the state website. I have seizure disorder. I used to take depakote (divalproex sodium). It made me physically, emotionally and mentally (cognition, wit, vocabulary, personality) ill. I am off the depakote, smoke pot, and all faculties have returned. I no longer suffer tremors or seizures as I did with the 'medicine'. MJ is not addictive, though some with dependency prone personalities will find and hold on to any available 'crutch'. Coffee is worse, as are cigs and alcohol. The addiction to those substances is real, both physically and mentally. Pot is not. Those drugs can kill you. Pot can heal you, and you can't overdose, per se. Studies show drivers under moderate influence are actually safer than most. They stay off the cell and drive more defensively, making up the statistical difference. Such studies are limited in # and more are is needed.
Joe S October 05, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Part two: MJ does impaire short-term memory somewhat, and if used all the time may thus impair long-term memory. However, when used in moderation, it can improve powers of association. That, of course, leads to new insights we may not otherwise achieve. Music, art, all creative thinking is improved with a smaller amount. Take too much and you might just end up stoned and fat... but at least you had fun. Given the criminal element and the economics that result from our federal government's decision to place MJ as a category 1 (drug), we should be either laughing or crying. I just not sure which; maybe both. Does anybody remember 'Reefer Madness'? We have been smoking pot in America as medicine, ritual, religion, and recreation since time immemorial. This 'wayward stray' will not, and should not, last the test of time.
Jeff Coe October 06, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Ok people lets be upfront with a lot of stuff. The war on drugs has not worked. The Mexican cartel is causing havoc in Mexico (50,000 plus deaths) cause of us in the US. And now they are bringing people into northern California to grow for them. Marijuana is a gateway drug due to the illegal nature of it. Take the illegal nature away and it becomes much like alcohol. Some will use some will not. Plus you begin to slowly take the money and power from the Mexican cartel and begin to put it back into the hands of the states where income is needed. Let's get law enforcement onto serious matters and lets make marijuana legal and take the power out of the Mexican cartel.
Dr. Phil October 07, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Darling Christie, sending the wrong message to your kids is letting them believe alcohol is a softer, less harmful drug the marijuana. There was a 14yr old girl who suffocated on her own vomit as a result of drinking alcohol last week. NO minors, I repeat, NO minors should be doing drugs at all, prescription/over-the counter etc., but being lazy, lethargic and having the munchies is not as bad as an alcohol induced coma or even worse suffocating on your own vomit. Stop with the Anheuser-Busch/ Phillip Morris/war-on-drugs propaganda already and do some real research. Prohibition breeds real gangsters and criminals. Alcohol and tobacco are the filthiest, low life drugs and belong in the same category as meth and heroin. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/07/14275505-report-florida-mother-was-drunk-when-she-shot-and-killed-4-kids-self?lite
angel October 07, 2012 at 07:04 PM
When I was a child more like teenager I came from a very religious family upstanding . Yes I had friends who smoked MJ and yet some of did not. Why because not all teens and children follow in the foot steps of their friends. When I grew up in my 20s my roommate in collage gave me a smoke and it had MJ in it. Least to say the next day we had to go shopping. However for the first time in my life I did not feel stressed overwhelmed as I have several medical condtions . I was in control of what I did I knew good from bad knew not to drive . However when one is drunk you seem to loose right from wrong . I never forgot that experience . Later on I went on to get married. I had teens and in the years I taught them right from wrong . I also taught them about drugs alcohol and sex. I also know they knew the choices they made made an impact on their future. I also told them I expected honesty. If they had an urge to drink a beer it better be at our home same as if they had an urge to do anything else including trying a cigarette . One of my son Evan tried one once let's say he is not a smoker now. If you hide or make them hide these urges then to them it gives them a high on defiance .there is nothing they can not tell me for parents play a vital role. If a par rent says no the child hides it and defiance takes over. My role on MJ I support it for medical casual use with age limits and taxing. To ones own discretion.
Christie Anderson October 07, 2012 at 10:44 PM
If it becomes legal I'll have to not only endure the rank odor of regular cigarette smoke that permeates anything it comes in contact with, I'll also have to endure the rank smell of "skunk weed". .... EEEwwwww!
Ron Olson October 08, 2012 at 12:55 AM
A .22 caliber gun is less lethal than a 9mm, and pot is not as dangerous as heroin. The plan should be to legalize pot and allow everybody to carry a .22 caliber weapon. Sounds logical to me.
joe blow October 10, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Would he be part of the same DuPont chemical family that had a HUGE influence on getting cannibus made illegal in the first place? You know, the company that makes products from petroleum that could be made more cost effectively and more enviromentally friendly with hemp?
joe blow October 10, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Where do you people get that cannibus is "laced" with anything? Higher THC isn't "Lacing" it's better growing technique and better strains of the plant. It's also much better for you, especially if you smoke, since you smoke much less to get the same effect. Cut the potency in half and someone smokes twice as much. "Lacing" refers to adding other substances (Drugs, poisons) to it. No dealer is going to lace pot with more expensive drugs unknown to the buyer, it costs the dealer money to add that stuff. And they certainly aren't going to poison their customers, that's just business 101, don't kill your customers.... Cigarettes from the store are a great example of something being "laced". They contain arsnic for Christ sake, that is not a natural part of the tobacco plant. 90+% of cigarettes are "Laced", leaving a few like American Spirit out since they are natural. However, if you bought and tested 10,000lbs of marijuana from various dealers in various locations around the country I can say with a high level of certainty you wouldn't find a single ounce "Laced" with anything.
John C October 11, 2012 at 12:18 AM
I already observe that typre of driving. Why should any more of it occur? Obviously the people driving that way are very likely high on something......the numbers could remain somewhat constant. If marijuana is legalized perhaps someone with an actual problem wouldn't be fearful of asking for help. The way things work now the system feeds off of these people's addictions.
Jordan October 21, 2012 at 12:37 AM
I used to grow marijuana in the early 1970's, and I can say for a fact that what I grew then was stronger (it was tested following an arrest) than what I can find now. It is arrogant to suggest that although humans have been using as well as manipulating for strength this plant for thousands of years, it has only been in the past 30 years that they figured out how to make it higher quality. In fact, a few years back a shamans marijuana stash was found in Northwestern China that dated to over 2,700 years old and had a higher THC content than the average medical marijuana available currently. The rest of your post is so ill-informed about marijuana that I seriously hope that as a "mental health professional" you are not working with narcotics or narcotics abuse.
Jordan October 21, 2012 at 12:50 AM
You should read the law, or just your voters' pamphlet, and then you would learn that with legalizing marijuana there will be increased penalties and enforcement of driving while high. If you did the smallest amount of research you would also learn that not only is marijuana as addictive as ice cream and no more, but that money gained from taxing marijuana sales would go to helping recovering addicts of actually drugs. The main cause of drug use is not the drug nor the availability of the drug (alcohol and tobacco are legal, that does not necessarily imply that every one is an alcoholic or smokes tobacco), but rather drug use is contributed to a host of socioeconomic and cultural issues the most common of which is poverty. Portugal decriminalized all drugs from marijuana to meth and they found that, rather than focusing on arresting and punishing people for drug use, but instead rehabilitation and fighting the reason for drug use, drug use in fact went down.
dorimonsonfan October 21, 2012 at 12:58 AM
i'd be all for the measure if it expanded personal freedom by allowing people to grow their own. but this sounds like just another way for government to become larger. frankly, i'd rather see hard working drug dealers make the money vs. just handing more over to politicians to be blown. after tax it probably will cost about the same as it does now, so people really shouldn't get too excited about the measure.
ski_fast October 24, 2012 at 02:58 AM
You people that work in the mental health profession amaze me. You state facts about marijuana that are not true and you ignore study after study showing its safety. It is almost painful to read all your lies. Laced with additives? What might those be? 70% stronger? High quality Hawaiian, Thai stick, and hash has always been available. Everything you said is right out of the reefer madness playbook.

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