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Marijuana: Washington State Decriminalization Bill Filed

Three Democratic legislators -- state Reps. Jim Moeller, Dave Upthegrove, and Brendan Williams -- Wednesday introduced a bill to decriminalize possession of less than 40 grams of marijuana in the state of Washington. By day's end, the bill had additional nine cosponsors.

Under current Washington law, possession of up to 40 grams is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. The penalty for pot possession also includes a mandatory minimum one-day jail sentence and $250 fine.

Although the city of Seattle pioneered the lowest law enforcement priority approach to adult marijuana possession offenses, the rest of the state has not followed suit. According to figures provided in a Seattle Stranger article by activist turned journalist Dominic Holden, there were some 11,553 people arrested on pot possession charges in 2007.

Holden quoted cosponsor Williams as saying he will make a budgetary argument for the bill. The state faces a $6 billion budget shortfall, and arresting, prosecuting, and jailing penny ante pot offenders costs the state nearly $7.5 million a year, he said, citing a study from the Washington Institute for Public Policy.

"We will frame it in terms of the tradeoff in the budget discussion and set a square alternative," Williams said. "Do you choose to provide health care for X number of children or fund criminalizing marijuana possession?"

If Washington were to pass a decriminalization bill, it would become the 13th state to do so. Most of the existing decrim states changed their laws in the 1970s, but Nevada voters chose decriminalization in 2002 and Massachusetts overwhelmingly supported it in November.

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having paraphernalia is still a criminal act with penalty of imprisonment so what good is it to be able to have pot but no way to smoke it? And a second arrest garner's double the jail time and double the fine of the original law. Why the hell don't they just burn the pages that this law takes up in the RCW, and forget it was ever written and passed? We'd all be better off, including those who don't use the herb. No laws banning, or even regulating, the possession, use, cultivation, or transfer of the herb or of the paraphernalia related to any of that, just as it was 110 years ago.

No shit

true legilize it.. Peace not greed

Re: Unfortunately

If you read the bill, it states that you would not be charged with paraphernalia, and when it comes to the second arrest, they're speaking of the old laws stating that the punishment is more severe. I know, I read it a couple times before I understood it so don't feel bad, but I do agree with ya about total legalization. That'd be the shit!

if the bill passed

if the bill passed and possesion of 40 or less grams of marijuana was only a small fine could u still lose your house for growing it

yes! because to put it

yes! because to put it simply, it is STILL federally illegal. The only way to get it federally legalized is to have 25 states in all decriminalize it, thats half our country by popular demand, then they have little to no choice, WE THE PEOPLE ARE THE GOVERNMENT! THATS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE!!!!


I think the herb should be legalized if doctors can hand out all the drugs that are harmful what is the big deal over a drug thats not harmful it would be better for you them any of the anti-depressants that doctors give out like candy

Marijuana still legal... throughout the united states...

Marijuana is still legal... throughout the united states... the rule of lawful laws is still the law of the land... problem is we've allowed the criminals in government to define the law... in direct conflict and gross violation with the constitution.... the legal law of the land!

Marijuana prohibition under the guise of regulation is illegal, as-is, proclaiming laws under the guise of 'promoting the general welfare'.

The 'promotion' of the general welfare is a supposed to be a coercive free, democratic, legal, honest, process of debate and education ... proclamations, mandates, and biased laws created by biased people are not!

Isn't it amazing how simple words like 'all men', 'self-evident truthes', and 'inalienable rights' are so confusing... to the confused... the criminal... the religious... the under educated... the ignorant, and the whorish?

Laws, like a contract, must be legal to be enforcible.... those that are not are considered fraudulent... and unenforcible.

Those that deliberately create illegal / fradulent contracts and laws are committing crimes... for which we have prisons.


some our good moms that just need something to do why the kids r at school and i dont agree

i thank our wold would be happy if we could smoke more pot

it would make my day if he would just let us smoke pot without thanking im doing something bad . but the day it happens i will respect our GOV but untill then im going to do what i do POST A COMMENT IF U AGREE

what the hell

How old are you? You write like you're ether 7 years old or illiterate. Please don't voice your opinion on marijuana, you make everyone who smokes it look bad.


RE: What the hell

Well you spelled either wrong. Your making us all look bad! That was pretty rude to say. Some people have different levels of writing and reading, why would you want to put them on display here as a idiot? He was stating his anger with a screwed system just like the rest of us. We hate being treated like kids to a government that is getting rich off of us.

RE: what the hell

yeah i agree they're not helping anyone proove a point if they can't even spell.


fasho mann i agree all the wayyy

Word up...

Word up.

double the crime

whats this about doubling the punishment for a subsequent offense?

does not sound like decriminalization to me.

legalization and taxation would generate revenue as opposed to merely saving a little bit of the budget.

Re: Double the Crime

That dude was an idiot. If they would had read the bill more correctly, it is refering to the old(or currentif you look at it that way) laws that are in effect. If you get caught once, $250.00 fine and some jail(community service)time, get caught a second time and they double it.
The new law is this strait up-
Get caught with 40g's or less of pot, pay a $100.00 fine. It's considered a class 2 civil infraction, not a misdemenor as it stands currently, so it's like getting a J walking ticket or something as compaired to shoplifting.

I agree with this

This is pretty awesome step that the United States is beginning to take as a whole. The government has so much control over our actions that we are almost like their puppets...except we are consumers that cost them money.

Now the authority is finally beginning to realize that there are far more important causes that money can go towards, like health care. The way the economy is going right now, it would only be sane to pass this bill to save us a handful of MILLIONS a year.

Plus, those who consume pot are not hurting anyone. The community that does, usually does it in the peace of their homes. God forbid stupid kids run around and think that it's legalized and ruin this for us.

Seattle area should've been the first to have this decriminalized, I mean hell, we have the best around!


Just remember that it's just our state gov. taking this action, federally, it's still a completely illegal drug that's as dirty as all the rest. Maybe someday the fed's will pull their heads out of their asses and we can all just hit a bong!


starting with obama and new attourney general if its ok in the states eyes its ok in the governments eyes

Med MJ

They Lied!!!!  Scummy Move!

Unfortunately a state cannot

Unfortunately a state cannot pass a bill that supercedes federal law. This bill is a great step towards legalization, do nothing but support this bill! Legalization and taxation would definitely generate more revenue, but would have to be passed federally. Go 1177!


Is that what are constitution states? Is it now common acceptance that federal government is superior to state government? Our constitution was written to stop abuse of power in government, not to support the decay of personal choice and just laws.

A state can to...

Uhh, ya a state can Oregon and Cali have already done it, but Fed Law still prohibits. So, if a state cop saw you tokin, he couldn't say anything, but if a fed saw you doin it, your fucked. It's a crazy mixed up world...


well i belive that if pot was legalized the world would be better because how many peolpe have been stoned and killed some one...not many i know but hell get as shit-faced as you want and take a cab home wtf is up with our government?????

Works for me

Of course paraphernalia is still illegal, however anyone with 2 shakes of the intelligence stick can find ways around this. Most of the smokers I know already do so what would be the difference there?

of course I have no idea how much 40 grams translates into more than I ever have on me I am certain.

Go Washington I hope this passes.


Listen, paraphernalia("bongs", etc.) is illegal, but "waterpipes" etc. are not, it just depends on how they're being sold, that's one reason why Tommmy Chong was arrested for his sales of glass, because he called them "chong bongs". And as for the resins in them, well, if you have 40g's of resin in your pipe, I'm smokin' with the wrong crew!

soon i hope

I would love to be able to smoke without being worried about a misdemeanor on my record, I personally would not be the person I am today without it, at age 20 I found out that I was loosing hair, couple months later I figured out that I was constantly depressed and needed help, went to the doctor, he prescribed anti-depressants, I have tried 4 different kind none helped which made me even more depressed and I had withdrawals from the medication, my life only got worse, couldn't stay committed to anything, school, work, relationship, family.... finally a friend who has smoked for 30 years said, "here try this", now I am 29, got my bachelors degree in computer science, and work at Microsoft. Never thought I would make it this far....

I think they should have legalized it years ago, in my opinion Alcohol is 10x worse and the state makes millions from selling it, why not make more millions selling something that's considered less harmful and less toxic for your body than Alcohol.

you might think my story is a little childish and I might be dependent on the so called drug, but what this drug did for me no "prescription drug" could have done.

for those who are wondering

40 grams is about 1.4 onces.


Or about one and a half to two regular-style sandwich baggies worth!

not all about saving money

People need to stop focusing on the cost associated with prosecuting and jailing people. Instead think of the truly innocent people that are being arrested and forced into jail for trying to make their lives a little easier to live. The most dangerous effect of this drug is the punishment associated with its possession. End this prohibition and legalize and regulate just like our precious and often deadly alcohol.

Here Here

Usually the government is all for things that sedate us and make us happy. You'd think the government would jump on this one.

save our econamy

if people realized we do not need to be in a receshen our econamy would come to a paek if nationwide decrimanalzation and a state or goverment tax as with tabacco and alcohol not to mention taking away the money we giv to r neighbers canada and mexico and putting it rite back in our ecnomy besides herb and i quote has never killed anyone drug dealers do and since laws are passed against weed people r dying by the thousands everyday from cigs and alcohol the whole efect would make our country stronger than ever than maybe peace no war down with the these redneck turn of the century laws its been almost 100 years and more people in the us smoke herb to relax daily than ever wer the laws r present so than will the crimes

You learn something new everyday...

Learn to spell ECONOMY

Check this out!

OK, you really want to get through to the man? Here's how you do it-

First off, visit This is a website specifically for we the peep's to write in and express our opinions. I feel that change(federal laws) is coming, but it's going to take a little while.

Next, contact your State Legislator. Did you know that one letter mailed in to you State GOV counts as 5000 of that states citizens, so with that said, it's like you are speaking out for 5000 people!

And last, don't be bashful! Get active and stand up for your rights! You can do as little as donating to your local(or state)MJ activist groups, to being a leader and holding rallys out front of our states capital building in Olympia! And believ it or not, it's alot easier to do it than you think.

Aren't you tired of being bullied around by you GOV? Instead of being REACTIVE, be PROACTIVE and help make a diference if not for our future, but for our childrens future.

Thank you, thank you very much... You've been great! Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week! Have a good night ladies and gentlemen!!!

so its about time that wa

its about time that wa state did this shit


dont be givin people who cant spell shit please

this isnt the place for bad vibes

plus there prob just reeally high

I think they should legilize

I think they should legilize it. Our economy is bad. The government would get a benifit if they taxed it. If they pass this bill. I can imagine it being like having medical marijuana. Able to grow and have a certian amout.
They should have legalized it before the legilized alcohol. Alcohol is more toxic then heroin in the short run.

What I'm mostly curious about is if the do pass this bill. If you have it at school Does this bill apply or does the school have there own separate rules?



NOT BAD! but not great!

Ok so in Seattle limits, up to 40 grams and a fine, not bad! An improvement for sure. I personally feel it should be legal, but at the same time wish for it to be regulated similar to tobacco. Say you cant tax it my ass! I mean less and fewer people would go through risky dealers if all you had to do is go down to Kwik-E-Mart, and buy a pack of "camel green" lol. Even if the pack was a whopping 20-30 dollars a pack. That, however wont happen until the federal gov't gets off their high horse and eases up on it, I suppose they make too much money on their own drug trafficking to want us to do ours. Cant fool us!!

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