As Canada's Conservative government ramps up its war on drugs with mandatory jail sentences for marijuana growers, there's yet another sign that things are going in the opposite direction south of the border.
A Seattle-based group called Sensible Washington has announced that it's filing initiatives in six cities to reduce or eliminate local enforcement of marijuana laws.
The proposal aims to turn busting people for the nonviolent personal use of pot into the lowest enforcement priority in Spokane, Olympia, Bellingham, Everett, Kent, and Bremerton.
"In addition, these initiatives will prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities in the implementation of federal cannabis policies," the group stated in a news release.
So far, nobody in British Columbia has proposed using the Recall and Initiative Act to advance harm-reduction measures with regard to marijuana use in this province.
Below, you'll see the language used in the Spokane initiative proposed by Sensible Washington. It's being used as the template for other cities in the state.
WHEREAS, our city’s taxpayers are needlessly burdened by the substantial cost of investigating, arresting, prosecuting, and jailing people for charges involving marijuana;
WHEREAS, the federal government has violated the will of Washington State voters by obstructing patient access to medical marijuana;
WHEREAS, our city understands the need to refocus limited police resources to violent and more serious crimes—to benefit public safety—rather than the prosecution of non-violent individuals for charges involving marijuana;
Be it ordained by the voters in the City of Spokane that:
A new ordinance is adopted, and a new section added, to chapter 10.15 of the Spokane Municipal Code.
Subject: This act deals with the implementation of policy relating to law enforcement. This act is to be known as The Marijuana Reform Act of 2012.
Text: The Spokane police department and the City Attorney’s office shall make the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of non-violent marijuana offenses, where the marijuana was intended for adult personal use, the lowest law enforcement priority. Consistent with this policy, the City of Spokane, and its Police Department, and City Attorney, shall not cooperate with the Federal Government in the enforcement of its laws concerning marijuana; and no funds shall be expended in any manner, for cooperation in enforcement of federal marijuana laws by local authorities.
Severability: If any provision of this ordinance or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance, or the application of the terms and provisions to other persons, or circumstances, shall not be affected.
Interpretation: This act is to be liberally construed to effectuate the defined intent of the voters.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.