Wednesday, August 1, 2012
On last Tuesday evening, community members gathered at Southside Commons in Seattle to hear leaders of faith discuss the problem of mass incarceration. The panel was comprised of SpearIt, an assistant law professor at St. Louis University, Pastor Carl Livingston, founder of Kingdom Christian Center, and Reverend Paul Benz, Co-Director of Faith Action Network. A recent forum in Seattle made some vital connections for people concerned about the enormous volume of people in our criminal justice system. Its topic: "Faith Communities and Mass Incarceration."
Monday, February 13, 2012
At Thursday’s joint Senate and House committee work session on the measure, four compelling witnesses testified in favor of this new approach. Substance abuse counselor and university professor, Roger Roffman. Retired public health director and former prison physician, Dr. Kim Thorburn. Former top U.S. prosecuting attorney for Western Washington John McKay. And retired high-ranking FBI official, Charles Mandigo.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Over a ten year-period, more than 100,000 arrests were made in Washington state for adult marijuana crimes. The vast majority of these arrests were for low-level possession.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Teen marijuana usage rates have risen slightly in recent years, while tobacco and alcohol usage rates have declined. Alarmingly, 12th-graders across the nation and in Washington state are now more likely to have used marijuana in the past 30 days than to have smoked a cigarette.
Friday, October 14, 2011
The nation’s catastrophic War on Drugs, and especially on marijuana, treats substance abuse as a criminal issue separate from public health. Not the first time the U.S. has taken this approach – remember Al Capone and “Bugs” Moran? An explosion of crime and violence rose up around the first American prohibition, not unlike the mess we have on our hands today. Following the Ken Burns' "Prohibition" feature on PBS last week, the Lewiston Tribune draws some interesting comparisons:
Friday, September 9, 2011
Washington remains the only medical marijuana state not to have a patient registry. Washington’s medical marijuana law also fails to provide patients any protection from arrest.  Law enforcement resistance to providing arrest protection has been based in part on the absence of a state-run registry. Lawmakers tried to remedy this situation in the 2011 legislative session by including a cutting edge, privacy protecting patient registry in SB 5073 (sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 36th District). 
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The Seattle Times cover story on marijuana grow operations on Native American land highlights the fact that lots of marijuana is being grown outdoors in Washington -- as this blog has pointed out previously. The problem of large outdoor marijuana grows is a prime example of why we should be taking a new approach to marijuana policy in our state.
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The Washington Supreme Court ruled against an authorized patient who was fired for using medical marijuana, even though there was no evidence that its use interfered with her job performance. In a disappointing 8-1 opinion, the Court found that the Washington Medical Use of Marijuana Act does not protect employees who are discharged for exercising their right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Friday, July 8, 2011
As Connecticut becomes the fourteenth state in the U.S. to decriminalize adult possession of marijuana, it’s clear that many states want to take a different approach towards marijuana; despite the federal government’s continued blustering on state medical marijuana laws.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Although President Nixon gets credit for declaring the "war on drugs," it is really state officials who have been waging the war. In 2009, there were nearly 1.7 million arrests for drug crimes in the U.S., the vast majority of which were made by state law enforcement officers. And these arrests came under laws passed by state lawmakers. So the number of individuals in state prisons and jails for drug crimes far outnumbers those in federal prison, despite the fact that more than half of all federal prisoners are there for drug crimes. Because state officials are serving as the front-line troops in the "war on drugs," efforts to reform drug laws should focus on the states.