Facing the Facts: The New Voices Not Afraid to Say “Legalize”

Monday, February 13, 2012

Consider this next time you’re on the interstate. Every year, on the same highway that carries our esteemed legislators in and out of the capitol, millions of dollars worth of marijuana move at the bidding of gangs, drug cartels, and a thriving black market.

Initiative I-502 aims to undercut that market by doing something that counters the cartels’ violence: legalizing marijuana for adults in Washington State.

At Thursday’s joint Senate and House committee work session on the measure, four compelling witnesses testified in favor of this new approach. Substance abuse counselor and university professor, Roger Roffman. Retired public health director and former prison physician, Dr. Kim Thorburn. Former top U.S. prosecuting attorney for Western Washington John McKay. And retired high-ranking FBI official, Charles Mandigo.

There could be no doubt as to their credibility. Chairman Sam Hunt, after calling the work session into order, complimented the “distinguished panel” of I-502 supporters.

They represent the changing face of drug policy reform. Prominent people who publicly recognize the incredible and unnecessary burdens the drug war has placed on Washington, and who would rather see our resources go to education and prevention.

Each who testified presented a different aspect of the need for reform.

Charles Mandigo hopes to stem violent turf wars between drug gangs.

Dr. Thorburn wants to see prison populations decrease, and for fewer young people to have their liberties stripped away, sometimes for life.

By treating drug-addicted patients, Professor Roffman came to see marijuana as a public health issue, not a criminal matter. Tax from regulated sales would help fund much-needed research and education.

John McKay focused on one clear point: Marijuana prohibition simply doesn’t work.

Now, we have the chance to implement a policy that does. Support the I-502 campaign today.