Values

- State Democrats endorsed I-1068, but not without some consternation:

There was a small political skirmish here in Vancouver this afternoon—delegates made motions to consider 1068 separately, to extend debate, and to officially endorse the initiative. [State Vice Chair Sharon] Smith said that, “we expected this to come to a floor discussion. There are some things that are clearly Democratic party values, and then there are things like this that aren’t so clear.”

I’m not really sure what the heck Smith is referring to with that comment, so I went to the Washington State Democrats homepage to see if my previous notions of what Democrats stood for have changed radically in the past week. Here’s what they have listed on their “What We Stand For” page:

– Maintaining safety and security while seeking peace and cooperation

This is pretty obvious. I-1068 will greatly reduce crime by taking the production, sales, and massive profits out of the hands of criminal organizations. Crime decreased significantly after the end of alcohol prohibition, and it will do the same after the end of marijuana prohibition for exactly the same reason.

– Sustainable stewardship of our environment

The establishment of above-ground marijuana production and distribution will allow for environmentally responsible growing, rather than the environmentally destructive ways that it’s grown today.

– Fairness and economic opportunity, access to quality education and health care for all

I-1068 will finally allow for doctors and patients to openly discuss the benefits and risks of marijuana without fear of arrest or retribution. It will also provide for a large number of new above-ground jobs, just as what occurred when alcohol prohibition ended and legal beer distribution started up again.

– Equal treatment of all before the law

Drug law enforcement is arguably the single biggest problem with respect to ensuring that all people get treated equally within our criminal justice system.

– Fiscal responsibility, integrity, openness and accountability in government

One estimate from UW put the amount of money saved by the state after marijuana legalization and regulation at $105 million per year.

– Personal freedom, security, and privacy

The Democratic party simply can’t claim that they stand for personal freedom if they also believe that marijuana needs to be kept illegal. The two beliefs are directly incompatible. You either believe in personal freedom or you believe that government exists to impose morality over private adult decisions.

I understand that for years this was a topic that voters couldn’t have rational conversations about, but those days are clearly over now. Even Fox News has been running a number of pro-legalization pieces recently. Coming out in support of ending marijuana prohibition doesn’t carry the risks that it once did, and it might even help win elections. It was good to see the delegates at the state Democratic convention take this stand. Hopefully, Sharon Smith and the other holdouts will notice that it’s not 1988 any more.

Comments

  1. 1

    proud leftist spews:

    Hey, Lee,
    An endorsement, after all, was made, and made by a pretty strong margin. Credit where credit is due, and all of that . . .

  2. 2

    proud leftist spews:

    Hey Lee,
    The Ds did after all endorse the initiative, and by a pretty good margin. I think some credit is due.

  3. 3

    Michael spews:

    There’s only one plausible explanation for the gaps in Sharon Smith’s reasoning: she’s on drugs!

  4. 4

    Mike Jones spews:

    The Democratic party simply can’t claim that they stand for personal freedom if they also believe that marijuana needs to be kept illegal. The two beliefs are directly incompatible. You either believe in personal freedom or you believe that government exists to impose morality over private adult decisions.

    Lee I would have to disagree, there it is not black and white, there are gray areas. I am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-health care reform, and yet can’t support making marijuana legal. Decriminalize it sure, but not legalization.

  5. 5

    Bluecollar Libertarian spews:

    Care to explain what the difference is between decriminalize and legalize? I ask because I have heard lawyers contradict one another when describing the point.

  6. 7

    spews:

    @3
    Lee I would have to disagree, there it is not black and white, there are gray areas. I am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-health care reform, and yet can’t support making marijuana legal. Decriminalize it sure, but not legalization.

    I agree that there are some gray areas when it comes to the idea of “personal freedom”. But I don’t understand why marijuana would be put into that category.

    Let’s use alcohol as the comparison here. Do you think that we should write people tickets for possessing or selling alcohol? If not, why should marijuana be any different?

    With traffic infractions, you could make the argument that being reckless behind the wheel has a direct negative impact on others (even if you don’t actually cause an accident). I don’t think you can make the same argument for marijuana, whether we’re talking about growing it, selling it, or using it.

  7. 8

    mikek spews:

    Giving a ticket/fine for marijuana possession would keep in place some of the worst aspects of prohibition, since the production, transport, and sale of marijuana will still be treated as a criminal enterprise, and incur the wrath of the drug war, and its warriors.

  8. 10

    sarge spews:

    I was there.

    The motion to consider 1068 separately from the other WSDCC endorsement committee initiative recommendations was expected. Intended might be a better word.

    For every other initiative, the committee either recommended to “endorse” or “not endorse”. In the case of 1068 they offered “no recommendation”. The body voted to accept the committee recommendations in each of the initiatives for which the endorsement committee made a recommendation.

    There was no “skirmish”, or anything of the sort. As expected, someone moved to consider the issue, we had a civil debate, and, to nobody’s surprise, the body voted to endorse.

    Still, roughly 1/3 of the Democratic delegates opposed endorsing the initiative. Hence the appropriate claim that “things like this that aren’t so clear.”

  9. 11

    Bluecollar Libertarian spews:

    Re # 5 how would you go about doing that? Decriminalize what?

    Part of the reason behind this is the need for a medical product for some and for others of us it is the need to stop filling our justice system, if you can call it that, with young males and all the problems associated with hooking them into the system.

    Need I also mention that I can buy hemp seeds from Amazon that are grown in Canada but I can’t buy ones grown in the U.S. Nor can we do scientific studies on the plant in the U.S.

    How does on decriminalize cannabis and still allow for scientific research, the commercial growing of hemp, stop filling our jails and help medical patients?

  10. 12

    Mike Jones spews:

    Well I am for allowing there to make medicinal marijuana legal since it can reduce the amount of ain.

    And by decriminalize I mean change the laws so the penalty for marijuana is a ticket, not jail.

  11. 13

    spews:

    @11
    And by decriminalize I mean change the laws so the penalty for marijuana is a ticket, not jail.

    Again, why is this necessary? Are you advocating that the penalty for alcohol be a ticket as well? If not, explain the reason for why there should be a difference between alcohol and marijuana in this regard?

    I think it’s fair to say that someone who advocates fining people for being in possession of a beer is not someone who values “personal freedom”. The argument is no different for marijuana. The point I made in the original post is still very valid. Either you believe in personal freedom or you believe that government can punish people for certain private adult moral choices.

  12. 14

    Kirk Prindle spews:

    Bravo Lee. No one should be commenting after reading your article – they should just sit still and let it all sink in.
    Great points; great thinking; great writing.
    Thank you.

    Get your I-1068 signed petitions in by Thursday!
    Kirk Prindle
    I-1068 West Seattle Coordinator

  13. 16

    spews:

    @14
    Why would that make a difference?

    Alcohol was once illegal in this country too. If it had only been decriminalized, and we still had police officers coming into bars and issuing tickets to those who were drinking beer, would that really represent a victory for personal freedom?

    If you believe that police officers should be able to write people a ticket for being in possession of marijuana, then you can’t turn around and claim that you “value personal freedom”. You’re valuing the ability of government to impose morality more than you value personal freedom. You’re making a value judgment that alcohol use is acceptable, but marijuana use is not, and you’re expecting law enforcement to punish those who don’t agree. That’s completely incompatible with the notion of personal freedom.