Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, ‘Legalize marijuana’

We recently sat down with 36th District Representative Mary Lou Dickerson to talk about what she’s working on for the upcoming legislative session, which convenes on January 11, 2010. One bill she’s looking to sponsor is one which would legalize marijuana. Below are her words:

“We have spent a fortune investigating and incarcerating people for using marijuana. We have not only spent huge sums in this failed effort, we have required individuals and families to spend huge sums on lawyers and other expenses in order to avoid drug-abuse violations on their records. Those who couldn’t afford an effective legal defense have often seen their jobs and lives seriously harmed by the record of the legal violation.

And what have we accomplished with these societal, personal, and family costs? I don’t see the positive benefits. The expensive emphasis on prosecution and fines or other punishment has not deterred marijuana smoking, nor has it had any noticeable impact on accessibility to marijuana. The fact that other countries which have legalized marijuana have not seen consumption rates rise sharply is further evidence that our present policy is a monumentally expensive failure.

The people I represent have made clear how they feel by their votes on medical marijuana and their votes on the local ordinance that made marijuana investigations the lowest police priority.

As Chair of the Human Services Committee, which oversees corrections and juvenile justice issues, it’s long been clear to me that we need to make smarter investments in criminal justice, drug and mental health treatment and other efforts that DO work to reduce criminal and unhealthy behavior. We simply can’t afford to waste more time, money or human resources on efforts that don’t work and that can actually backfire to harm people we want to help.

Treating marijuana more like liquor will turn a drain on our scarce resources into a net benefit that can help us fund drug treatment and other strategies that really do make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Representative Dickerson hosts a coffee hour each Tuesday at the Phinney Ridge Starbucks (316 N 67th St) from 9:30 a.m. to 10: 30 a.m. (Representative Dickerson is a sponsor of MyBallard.)

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annah2
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annah2

A woman with a good head on her shoulders. Now if we can just get a majority of politicians to think so clearly on this subject, we'd actually make some positive changes in this world.

Vote for politicians who support ending prohibition!

Silver
Member

Good for you, Ms. Dickerson!

I haven't consumed any illegal substances in the last 30 years, and I *strongly* support legalization, regulation and taxation!

NWCitizen
Member
NWCitizen

Yes! I've thought for a long time that making criminals of people who smoke pot was wrong and a waste of our taxpayer dollars.

The prohibition of alcohol resulted in increased crime and violence just as it has with marijuana. It is time to repeal this prohibition as well and to redirect our tax dollars to more productive things such as Rep. Dickerson suggests.

NoraBell
Guest
NoraBell

Yeah, what they're doing now isn't working.
Plus the fact legalization would keep those using it medically from being persecuted, as well. Hooray, Rep Dickerson!!!!!!

ballardrocksnow
Guest
ballardrocksnow

*facepalm* “de-criminalize” is the better term. Not even alcohol is fully legal. Anyway, yes.

Lube
Guest
Lube

Sounds good. Does it take a recession to knock sense into people?

59thandBlake
Guest
59thandBlake

Well as long as the D.O.J. stands true to their order then this looks good on paper. But as long as it remains on the federal books as illegal then it doesn't matter if Washington, Oregon or any other state legalizes marijuana. It is a states rights vs. federal rule.

taree
Guest
taree

Yea for common sense!!!!

cdpenne
Member
cdpenne

As far as I understand it, Obama has said that the Fed will no longer prosecute or intervene, effectively leaving it open to the states to decide. The Fed laws will soon change to, I reckon.

ballardcrab
Guest
ballardcrab

I'm called the crab for a reason! Do you want more impaired people driving on the streets you travel? Aren't we paying a price with alcohol impairment? Also what about the safety of your person and property? A 'user' has to be able to afford to purchase the stuff! Maybe you will be 'high' and won't even notice! Good luck………

cathy
Guest
cathy

In society today adults have to make millions of important decisions, a lot of which can have a drastic effect on their lives, even death. We are responsible for our choices, and we suffer and prosper from our choices, it’s what makes each individual who they ultimately become. This is called freedom of choice, ownership of ones self. We are legally allowed to make these choices everyday, including many that can be instantly fatal such as riding recreational dirt bikes for the thrill of it, even though it could cost us our lives, its our choice to make. By trying to force people into not consuming a natural plant we are effectively causing more harm than if we were to let each adult make their own choices and except the consequences for those choices. The harm prohibition has brought to not just our own country, but the vast majority of the world is on a remarkably large scale, and threatens our national security. By choosing to prohibit this substance, we have chosen to ignore it and to let it be controlled by the black market. This in turn has enriched criminal enterprises to the point they have the financial power… Read more »

ballardMike
Member
ballardMike

Hooray for Rep. Dickerson!

Matt
Guest
Matt

Great job. I'm 100% behind you.

lovetheparkingchange
Guest
lovetheparkingchange

please go crawl back under your rock where you hide your head in the sand!

SPG
Guest
SPG

not to nitpick, but wasn't that just for medical marijuana usage?

SPG
Guest
SPG

The impaired driving is a legitimate concern, but somewhat overblown in regards to marijuana. I would assume that if the use and possession of small amounts was decriminalized that the DUI laws would still apply as impaired driving is impaired driving whether it's alcohol, pot, meth, or prescription pills.
Pot smokers are hardly the ones who steal to pay for marijuana. The more addictive drugs like meth and heroin do take over people's lives and bring them to that position of stealing to support the addiction, but marijuana is at most habit forming and hardly the addictive substance that the other drugs mentioned are.

BallardBob
Guest
BallardBob

Great post, Cathy!

It seems obvious to me that marijuana will eventually be decriminalized, I just hope it's sooner rather than later. Every day we wait is more money and lives down the drain, and more money in criminal's pockets.

It seems to me from the comments here and from friends and family in Seattle that I've discussed this with that there would be overwhelming support for decriminalization if it were on the ballot.

Todd
Guest
Todd

We need more politicians with this much common sense.

Bimmer
Guest
Bimmer

Legal pot shops and bike lanes, now there's another thing to add to be more Dutch-like..
..no, I'm not talking about the canals..

dannyoos
Guest
dannyoos

What a smart woman! Finally someone who uses rationale thinking to make decisions! I which she was my representative here in Virginia!

NoraBell
Guest
NoraBell

Yeah, but their prosecuting for medical usage. They shouldn't be. Whatever happens from his will be a step forward.

NoraBell
Guest
NoraBell

Exactly. If they regulate it like they do alcohol that wont be any more of a problem than it is now. It'll just be a 'lesser crime.'

dcm
Guest
dcm

I am apalled…legalizing marijuana is not he answer to saving money…Mary Lou also wants homeless camps all over Ballard, but won't take any in her own home…I think shge wamts to legalize it so she can continue pickling her own brain.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

As they say in Holland, you can either tolerate things that you don't like (assuming no one gets hurt), or you can build more prisons. In the US we've chosen to build more prisons. This choice costs us billions of dollars a year in enforcement, judiciary, not to mention private legal expenses. It is insane how much of our resources we devote to criminalization of marijuana.

The fact is that people will use marijuana whether it's legal or not. Our current policies have been nothing short of a failure. We pay through the nose for these policies in terms of monetary costs, not to mention the cost to our freedom as informed adults not being able to make informed decisions.

Even if the federal law would trump state law in this case, I applaud Rep. Dickerson for approaching what is a rather controversial issue. Getting the conversation going is the first step, and if states begin to decriminalize marijuana en masse, the federal government will eventually have to relent.

RFWoodstock
Guest
RFWoodstock

Valid medicinal value, it’s a victimless crime, the War on Drugs WAY too costly, too many arrests for simple possession, tax it and use the money to pay for health insurance and to reduce the deficit…Need I say more?

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