Friday, March 30, 2012

Sensible Spokane pushing measure to make marijuana a lower legal priority

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 3:15 PM

The Sensible Spokane Alliance is collecting signatures in an effort to make marijuana the lowest police priority and bar local officials from cooperating with federal agents to investigate and prosecute adult marijuana offenses.

“It would lower the priority of law enforcement towards marijuana to the very bottom of all crimes,” says Sensible Spokane Alliance chair Ian Moody. “If this were to become a law, it would make it so that local law enforcement could not assist federal officers in investigations towards local marijuana use.”

The alliance has been collecting signatures for the last three weeks from Spokane County. Petitions for registered voters in Spokane Valley and Cheney will begin circulating on Monday, April 2. If enough signatures are gathered from Spokane, Spokane Valley and Cheney, the issue will be put on official ballots.

“Our petition is related to directly legalizing marijuana, but as of now medical marijuana is the only marijuana legal, so this law would help people who need that resource,” says Moody.

According to Sensible Spokane Alliance, lowering police priority on marijuana will stop wasting law enforcement resources, free up jail space for violent criminals, protect the Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy, and end racial, cultural, and economic disparities.

They argue that marijuana is safer than alcohol and tobacco and that adults should have legal access to safer recreation. According to Moody, the goal is for marijuana to be taxed, thus spurring economic growth.

“If marijuana is legalized in Washington, our goal is to protect the community and the rights for the people if discrimination persists or if the federal government doesn’t respect the state’s laws,” says Moody. “We think that adults could make intelligent decisions, and with regulations, marijuana can be used responsibly by legal adults.”

Cheney must turn out 840 signatures by June 23 to place a measure on the November 2012 general election ballot. Spokane must gather 4,070 signatures by March 6, 2013, to place a measure on the November 2013 general election ballot, and Spokane Valley requires 10,000 signatures by October 2, 2012, to place a measure on a 2013 special election ballot.

"It’s all a piece of a big messy puzzle and we are just trying to do our part as locals to push for the next steps on a state and then a federal level,” says Moody. “Marijuana should be brought off the black market and regulated.”

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