(Please see TV link in text.)
PROSECUTION SHIELDS AND A 40 GRAM FREE RIDE...
Drug abuse has cost us all a great deal. It affects everyone. You change your behavior because of it. You lock your house more certainly for fear of burglary. (Druggies hunt for things to hock). You move your mail to a P.O. box or a neighborhood lock box. (Druggies want your ID). You guard your kids more closely. More of your health care and tax dollars are diverted to cover the costs of others who abuse drugs at the expense of covering eyeglasses or teaching important languages in schools. (So, you pay even more for what you need.)
We can argue whether or not the "war on drugs" has worked. If the goal is to rid our country and state of drug abuse then it has failed. The question is...would we be better off if we had no drug prevention policies? I believe we need tough laws and enforcement. I also believe we need treatment. I believe in helping people both by treatment, punishment, and by prevention.
Drug overdose callers may get legal immunity (This is a link to TV coverage. Please click.)
This session Democrats again want to weaken the enforcement arm of our efforts to stem advances in illegal drug use. They want to cause prosecution problems. Immunity issues, as this bill is written, would favor the lawbreakers under the guise of saving lives. The Franklin proposal is not the law passed by New Mexico. Washington lawmakers want to expand on New Mexico's recently passed law that was aimed only at reducing deaths from illegal drug overdoses. Washington State Democrats would open huge holes in the prosecution of drug crimes by setting new rules regarding immunity.
The New Mexico law is MUCH tighter. It's goal is to save lives only. And, there is no evidence that it has helped! Our legislature is happy to use it as an example of what "states" have done elsewhere when, in fact, they would expand upon the New Mexico enactment. The WA proposal is a wide open immunity plan for drug users! Prosecutors testified against the bill.
And, there is yet another bad druggie bill. The "No Slammer for Forty Grammer."
The Democrats, with the help of Spokane Republican Senator Bob McCaslin, have also passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee a bill to reduce from felony to misdemeanor the possession of up to 40 grams of marijuana. Possession of a one quart clump would never get court time. (Now, that's is a nice message to send our young people! Have all you want. Just a clump at a time.) The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jeannie Kohl-Wells, and three other downtown Seattle liberals. Committee vote: "NO": Roach (R)and Carroll (R); Hargrove (D) abstained; Voting "Yes," Chair Klein (D), McDermott (D), Kohl-Wells (D), Omig (D), and McCaslin (R).
If McCaslin had voted "No" the vote would not have received the majority needed to leave the committee. Four votes does not get you there! Seth Dawson, former Snohomish County prosecutor, drug counseling advocate, and Democrat, testified against this bill.
Governor's Council On Substance Abuse
Sentencing Guidelines Commission
Co-author Juvenile Justice Reform Act
Former Chair, Senate Law and Justice Committee