A rare moment of reason in the failed war on drugs

I would call the war on drugs silly if it hadn’t needlessly ruined so many lives. Instead the word I would use is tragic, or maybe disastrous. Far and away the criminalization of marijuana is the least defensible battle in that war. But at least in the state of Washington there’s been a moment of clarity on that:

ABC News— Marijuana smokers breathed a puff of relief today as they lit up legally for the first time in Washington state and were not cited, ticketed, or arrested for what is still a federal offense.

“There are no federal agents out there busting people,” Seattle police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said today, hours after a new state law legalizing pot went into effect. Seattle police spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee wrote on the department’s blog, “The police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a Lord of the Rings marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to.”

Not sure why this didn’t dawn on me before, but I guess there’s no reason why state and local police officers can’t get legally, openly stoned on their own time like any one else, right?

I guess this is a problem that’s going to need to solved state by state. More like business community by business community, as the marijuana growing industry grows in influence, amid no sudden outbreaks of the drug-fueled home invasion massacres or wild rape-orgies at the hands crazed reefer-addicts confidently predicted by hysterical law enforcement agencies for the last four decades. State by state, at least until Republicans embrace their small government rhetoric and Democrats stop being afraid of being called hippies, when they’re white, or called a lot worse when they’re not.


  1. Francisco Bacopa says

    I’ve seen people smoking weed in Jones Plaza in Houston and all the cops did was say to put that out.

    Official policy the last four years under DA Pat Lycos was to pass on pot possession and use unless cops were trying to bust on harder charges. Sadly, Lycos, a chill Republican of the old school of H-town, turned out to be totally corrupt, so we couldn’t vote her back in. The Dems put up a terrible candidate and a new and unknown republican won. I fear HPD and HCSO will become as oppressive as the Austin cops.

    Seriously, y’all got bad cops there. My bro lives in Travis Heights and he’s been lit up by those choppers while walking his dogs. I do a gig in Austin every six weeks and I am always careful there.

  2. coragyps says

    The problem that will remain, in Colorado and Washington as well as here in Texas, is people losing their jobs as a result of not-quite-random drug tests. I fail to see why testing positive for yesterday’s joint is any different than coming to work with a hangover, but many, many employers seem to view the former about like they do shooting up heroin in the breakroom.

  3. says

    @coragyps #2 – There has been a lot of discussion on drug testing in Washington since Ref. 502 passed. The growing consensus is that if drug tests for pot were to go to a state court, it would very likely get struck down as unconstitutional.

    If it were heard in a federal court, the matter is more iffy: while federal law prohibits marijuana use, state law and precedent (which is stricter and thus typically would have precedent) says that employers cannot punish employers for legal activities done off the clock. That is to say, employees can be punished for coming in to work drunk, but not for drinking away from work as long as they are sober when they clock in.

    It will be a while before the case law gets settled, unfortunately.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    So you’re still up shit creek in a wire mesh canoe if they catch you doing a Cheech & Chong marathon, right?

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