Mike McGinn is the first to point out that his support for the legalization and regulation of cannabis is nothing new. The Seattle Mayor-Elect shares the same point of view as former Seattle Police Chief turned Law Enforcement Against Prohibition speaker, Norm Stamper. Then you’ve got Seattle Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson who just introduced a bill to legalize and tax in Washington state.
Under her bill, marijuana would be sold in Washington state’s 160 state-run liquor stores, and customers, 21 and older, would pay a tax of 15 percent per gram. The measure would dedicate most of the money raised for substance abuse prevention and treatment, which is facing potential cuts in the state budget. Dickerson said the measure could eventually bring in as much to state coffers as alcohol does, more than $300 million a year.
The 3 of them share the same common sense point of view as the majority of Americans; 53% according to this recent poll support ending marijuana prohibition. And we now have 4 states that have introduced taxation/legalization legislation. Obviously public opinion has changed rapidly on the subject (or more are just choosing to voice a longtime view) and lawmakers are kind of starting to step up to the plate.
Of course, you can count on your state narcotic officers association to come in and cause a hullabaloo by scaring the bejesus out of everyone with the same ol’ scare tactics. Since the economic argument for legalization has gained so much support, I’ve heard some law enforcement spokesmen come up with some creative ways to try and counter, but Ron Brooks, President of the National Narcotics Officers Association has a good one:
State lawmakers, he said, need to ask themselves “if they believe we really will make all that revenue, and even if we did, will it be worth the suffering, the loss of opportunities, the chronic illness or death that would occur?”
I think he may have confused marijuana use with the bubonic plague.