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Is It Time To End Felony Charges For Simple Drug Possession?


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UA WA: OPED: It's Time to End Felony Charges for Simple Drug

 

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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n477/a07.html

Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Fri, 20 Sep 2013

Source: Seattle Times (WA)

Copyright: 2013 The Seattle Times Company

Contact: opinion@seattletimes.com

Website: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/409

Author: Anthony Martinelli

Note: Anthony Martinelli is communications director for Sensible Washington.

 

IT'S TIME TO END FELONY CHARGES FOR SIMPLE DRUG POSSESSION

 

IN Washington the possession of any controlled substance, or over 40 grams of marijuana, is an automatic felony charge with a potential prison sentence of five years.  As a result, our prisons are filled with nonviolent individuals at taxpayer expense.  This is unjust and not in line with public opinion.

 

Sensible Washington, the nonprofit organization that promoted cannabis-legalization initiatives in 2010 and 2011 that didn't reach the ballot but helped pave the way for the measure that did, recently announced a legislative proposal to defelonize the simple possession of all drugs.

 

Under the law of Washington, adult possession of a controlled substance, when not intended for distribution, would be reduced from a felony charge to a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 90 days.

 

State Rep.  Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, will be the primary sponsor of this proposal in the House of Representatives.  Reps.  Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, and Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, have all signed on as official co-sponsors, with more to be announced soon.  Sensible Washington hopes to have a companion bill filed simultaneously in the Senate.

 

This proposal would neither legalize nor decriminalize the possession of illegal drugs.  It would simply reduce the penalty for the possession of any controlled substance, including cannabis, cocaine and opiates, to a misdemeanor.

 

It is a way of reducing the harms associated with the felonization of low-level drug possession, which is a regressive policy that fosters perpetual criminals.  Once labeled a felon, a person loses important opportunities for housing, work and education.  Such a loss benefits neither the offender nor society.

 

A recent report released by the U.S.  Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics states that there are more than 330,000 inmates in state and federal prison for nonviolent drug-related offenses.  A disproportionate majority of them are minorities, who are drastically more likely to be harassed, arrested and prosecuted for drugrelated crimes.

 

We must take a more humane, sensible approach to our drug policies, rather than simply throwing people in prison.

 

This proposal also corrects the massive disparity in our state's cannabis law.  In Washington, the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis is no longer a crime, due to the passage of Initiative 502 last November.

 

However, possession of an ounce and a half ( anything over 40 grams ), is a felony with a potential five-year prison sentence.  In addition, certain situations could lead to two people who each have an ounce of cannabis both being charged with felonies thanks to "constructive-possession" laws.  This proposal will remove the felony conviction for all adult cannabis-possession charges, unless intent to distribute is proven.

 

Defelonizing simple drug possession will also reduce the financial burden associated with the war on drugs.  Currently taxpayers fund the incarceration of numerous nonviolent individuals who are in prison solely because they, at some point, were found in possession of an illegal substance.

 

Reducing personal drug-possession charges to a misdemeanor with a maximum of 90 days retains the illegality of hard drugs while reducing the penalty to something more appropriate.

 

Harsh criminal penalties for low-level drug offenses have done nothing to reduce drug addiction.  It's past time for us to take a more reasonable, modern approach.  Defelonizing simple drug possession is a significant step in the right direction. 

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

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2nd offense is a felony, unfortunatly I had the pleasure of finding that out!  but I also had the pleasure of having a pt card which made it go away as soon as I talked to the prosecutor, before court, before prelim,

 

If you get convicted of simple possesion in mi, your second one is still a simple possession but than it is a fellony instead of a misd

 

Peace

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Not only that they need to end all drug prohibition and make drugs a social issue and not a criminal one end the multi trillion dollar toilet that is the war on drugs and use the savings to educate people about the dangers of hard drugs and for drug treatment for those already stuck in the  grips of addiction  .

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Darn I do not want to find the paper work from when I got popped in roscomon county for possession, lol When I went to the police station the next business day to get my rifle and ammo back, I also recieved my charges, disorderly person, and simple possesion 2nd offense fellony, also they found a few lil glass viles of bho on the very bottom(i was saving them to refill) they called that black tar heroin lol.  I never showed the twp police my card, I figured what good would it do they are charging me for having heroin any how. when all the tests came back and all was thc, I made an appt to see the prosecutor and it got dropped, so now he only had me for disturbing the peace,

 

a quick note, I was on state land, no other campers were around, the lil local twp po po security guards were just trail riding and came up on me and my ole lady, we had our stereo on, it all went to heck in a handbasket after that lmao!

 

Peace

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also they found a few lil glass viles of bho on the very bottom(i was saving them to refill) they called that black tar heroin lol.

 

Sounds familiar. When they arrested my son he had a gram of powdered cannabis and they tried to say it was cocaine!

 

(I think they were a little miffed. They sent in a SWAT team and only found 1 gram) :lolu:

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Sounds familiar. When they arrested my son he had a gram of powdered cannabis and they tried to say it was cocaine!

 

(I think they were a little miffed. They sent in a SWAT team and only found 1 gram) :lolu:

Thats funny, I think what happened to me was pretty funny also!

 

At first all they said was put out your fire, turn off your music and call it a nite, if we come back some one is going to jail!?!?!  we did as they said, we went in the camper, I put my pj's on, we were talking inside for about a 1/2 hr, than my lady says hey go turn on the generator so we can watch t.v,,,,I go out I walk about 15 ft and I was lit up like a christmas tree! lmao, I had about 5 cops kneeling on my back, they had at least 5 cop cars with all of their lites on and pointing at me, all cops had the weapons out and were ready to use them, I didnt have time to move lol, and after seeing all the guns, I didnt want to move!  my ole lady starts raising hell telling them to let me be,,next thing she is in cuffs, im in cuffs and in the back of a cop car, they totaly searched my whole trailer, found my lil stash, I only had a few grams, we were heading home the next morning. well we did get to head home the next morning, but not untlill my pops came and bailed us out lol!  it was a freaking freak show, im actualy smiling while im writing this, im sure a bunch already heard this story lol!

 

oh well live and learn NOT, (jk)

 

Peace

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Thats funny, I think what happened to me was pretty funny also!

 

At first all they said was put out your fire, turn off your music and call it a nite, if we come back some one is going to jail!?!?!  we did as they said, we went in the camper, I put my pj's on, we were talking inside for about a 1/2 hr, than my lady says hey go turn on the generator so we can watch t.v,,,,I go out I walk about 15 ft and I was lit up like a christmas tree! lmao, I had about 5 cops kneeling on my back, they had at least 5 cop cars with all of their lites on and pointing at me, all cops had the weapons out and were ready to use them, I didnt have time to move lol, and after seeing all the guns, I didnt want to move!  my ole lady starts raising hell telling them to let me be,,next thing she is in cuffs, im in cuffs and in the back of a cop car, they totaly searched my whole trailer, found my lil stash, I only had a few grams, we were heading home the next morning. well we did get to head home the next morning, but not untlill my pops came and bailed us out lol!  it was a freaking freak show, im actualy smiling while im writing this, im sure a bunch already heard this story lol!

 

oh well live and learn NOT, (jk)

 

Peace

 

 

I would imagine that having the police throw you around could possibly be like receiving a cheap chiropractic adjustment. Is it anything like that?

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I would imagine that having the police throw you around could possibly be like receiving a cheap chiropractic adjustment. Is it anything like that?

Its a lil worse and usualy I dont go see a bunch of chiroprators at one time all having their guns drawn, they had no idea I had a weapon untill they searched my camper and found my .22 rifle with 18 bullets in it, in my closet and in a gun box, You are allowed to have a loaded weapon in your camper on state land, I was not at a camp ground, I was on state land with a permit, the law says when you are camping on state land with a free permit you have a certain amount of property that is yours while you are there (no longer than 15 days in one spot)

 

Id rather get my back cracked by on of them which dr's instead of local twp cops that make 10 bucks an hr lol!

 

Peace

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