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Drug Policy

Courts Should Review Harsh Sentences from Ill-Conceived Drug Laws

The War on Drugs has left thousands of people locked up under sentencing laws now widely viewed as discriminatory and not based in fact. An ACLU-WA brief is taking aim at the effects of an egregious Drug War policy: the lengthy sentences being served because of the government’s wrongheaded distinction between crack and powder cocaine, resulting in a 100:1 crack-powder disparity in sentences. Read More »
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Alison Holcomb Speaks at Hempfest

Date: August 14, 2015 - 5:50pm - August 15, 2015 - 5:10pm
Location: Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle
Hear Alison Holcomb, Director of the ACLU's Campaign for Smart Justice, speak at Seattle Hempfest. Read More »

A Guide to Washington's Medical Marijuana Law

Jul 17, 2015
Washington State voters passed the Medical Use of Marijuana Act in 1998 as a ballot initiative (I-692).  The information here provides a general explanation of the law. Read More »
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Washington Marijuana Legalization: One Year later

It has now been one year since I-502 retail stores opened. Although it is too early to tell whether the law is accomplishing all of its goals, we already have some important results. First and foremost, we know that law enforcement resources are no longer being wasted on the arrest and prosecution of adults for the possession and use of marijuana. We are also taking away profits from the black market and investing badly needed tax revenue into public health and prevention programs. Read More »
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Public Health Experts Urge Legislature Not to Raid Marijuana Tax Revenue Earmarked for Prevention, Treatment, Evaluation

Apr 21, 2015
Several dozen leading substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals and public health experts, along with the Initiative 502 sponsors, wrote to the Washington Legislature urging that earmarked tax revenue under I-502 not be raided for other purposes. Read More »
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Innovative LEAD Program Is Showing Success

Apr 8, 2015
An evaluation of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program has found that it is reducing recidivism rates for participants. Under LEAD, instead of prosecuting low-level drug and prostitution suspects, law enforcement officers divert them to treatment and other social services.  Read More »

Business Owners Intervene in Lawsuit Challenging Fife’s Ban on Legal Marijuana Businesses

Aug 7, 2014
Represented by the ACLU of Washington, three state-licensed marijuana business owners have intervened in a lawsuit challenging the City of Fife’s ban on marijuana operations. The plaintiff-intervenors say the City of Fife’s ban on legal marijuana operations within the city is unconstitutional and is preempted by state law.  Update: On Aug. 29, the court upheld Fife’s ban, saying that I-502 does not require cities to allow marijuana businesses. Read More »