Newsbrief: Seattle Marijuana Enforcement Initiative Signatures Submitted 8/2/02

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Members of the Sensible Seattle Coalition have filed some 19,600 signatures with King County election officials for an initiative that would direct Seattle police to make marijuana possession arrests their lowest priority. The proposed measure calls for no changes in the law, only in police practices.

The petition drive needed 17,200 valid signatures. The King County Elections Office is now screening the signatures to ensure that they are from registered voters. If the Elections Office finds there are sufficient valid signatures, the initiative would then have to win approval from the City Council before appearing on the November ballot.

According to the Seattle Times, there is support for the initiative on the council. At least two council members are in favor of the proposal, the Times reported.

If enacted into law, Initiative 75, as the measure is known, may have effects more symbolic than practical if recent arrest figures are any guide. According to the Seattle City Attorney's Office, fewer than one percent of its misdemeanor criminal cases (150 out of 17,000) were for marijuana possession. A similar measure passed by the Oakland, CA, City Council in 1996 had "virtually no effect on law enforcement," Oakland police told the Times.

Still, Seattle City Council member Nick Licata told the Times the measure would reinforce the idea that marijuana possession should be a low priority. "I think it's better to have our limited funds for public safety being directed toward car prowlers and home burglaries, rather than arresting adults for marijuana."

(Visit to learn more about what's going on in Washington state activism and to read about Robert Lunday, an activists' activist who died too young.)

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Issue #248, 8/2/02 Editorial: Getting from Here to There | Despite Supreme Court Ruling, No Wave of High School Drug Testing Foreseen | US Prison Population Leveling Off, Feds Drive Small Increase | Needle Exchange 2002:00:00 A Long Way Traveled, A Long Way to Go | Baltimore Killings Continue as Politicians Continue to Ignore Role of Prohibition | Stossel Special Spurs War of Letters to ABC | Newsbrief: Cooking Speed Equals Child Abuse Under New Tennessee Law | Massachusetts Governor Vetoes Decriminalization Provisions | Newsbrief: Afghan Crop Report Says Opium Eradication a Joke | Newsbrief: Leading British Comedian Says Legalize It All | Newsbrief: Alabama Rape Victim Ordered to Provide Urine Sample for Drug Test | Newsbrief: Tennessee School Board Ordered to Back Off on Zero Tolerance -- Right to Public Education at Issue | Newsbrief: Seattle Marijuana Enforcement Initiative Signatures Submitted | Web Scan:, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Harry Levine, Ethan Nadelmann, Medical Marijuana Research, School Daily | Legislative Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar

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