– This weekend is Seattle Hempfest. During the festivities today, Sensible Washington is expected to announce their plans to try again in 2011 to get a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot.
– Proposition 19 in California picked up another great endorsement this week, the National Black Police Association. At their conference in Sacramento, they pointed to the racial disparity in drug arrests and the overall negative impact on black communities in supporting the effort. However, not all police groups are supporting Proposition 19. Susan E. Manheimer, the president of the California Police Chiefs Association, throws down this whopper in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Prop. 19 allows a state and a workplace where any driver over the age of 21 can get on the road with marijuana in their system.
Proposition 19 does absolutely nothing to change the laws with respect to driving while intoxicated. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana will still be illegal in California. Manheimer was very clever in how she constructed this sentence, talking about “marijuana in their system”, rather than being under the influence. If someone smokes pot today, they’ll still have marijuana in their system three days from now. At that point, to insist that they’re still incapable of driving is foolish, but Manheimer seems to indicate that she may actually believe that.
– Dominic Holden notes that the number of marijuana arrests in Seattle has shot up sharply this year. And this is despite the fact that City Attorney Pete Holmes refuses to prosecute any of those arrested. Every person who gets arrested solely for marijuana possession in this city is being arrested for no reason. It’s not clear whether the increase in arrests is the result of SPD being more aggressive towards marijuana enforcement, or if Seattle residents are less afraid of using marijuana openly in the city, but this is another good piece of evidence demonstrating that Mayor McGinn was absolutely correct for opposing additional hires for SPD. If they have time to do this (and enforce jaywalking), it’s really hard to argue that we should be hiring additional officers in the budget crisis we’re in.
– Also in The Stranger this week, Brendan Kiley has an interesting piece on how much of the cocaine making its way into this country is cut with levamisole, a drug that can do a lot of damage to your immune system. What’s odd about this is that illegal drugs generally aren’t cut with anything until they make it into the United States, but this appears to be an instance where the levamisole is being added closer to the source of production. One data point that Kiley neglected to collect was whether or not the same trend was being seen in Europe, where large amounts of South American cocaine are also consumed.