Reader Alison Holcomb responds to With Pete Holmes in Office, Decriminalizing Pot Could Actually Be a Drag for Seattle Smokers. The Drug Policy Director of the ACLU of Washington says that while Seattle may yell the loudest about pot arrests, the rest of the state gets busted a lot more.
Warning: Spliffs best enjoyed outside city limits.
"Pete Holmes is to be applauded for taking a public stance that treating adult marijuana use as a crime is bad policy. But this is a statewide issue. Of the 11,733 marijuana possession arrests reported to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs for 2008, only 80 - or less than 1 percent - were made by Seattle police officers. Senate Bill 5615 addresses what's happening with the other 99+ percent.Statewide, Washingtonians of African American decent were 3 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as whites, despite the fact that marijuana use rates are consistent across races. That's a problem Seattleites should find troubling.
Finally, the annual savings of $16 million in public resources reported in the fiscal note for Senate Bill 5615 - and generation of new revenue for our underfunded treatment and prevention services - are additional statewide benefits we can't afford to ignore."
Alison Holcomb, Drug Policy Director
ACLU of Washington Foundation