The West Coast Shakes Up the Drug War…Again

“Our overall goal is to follow the lead of Oregon,” Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis.

For decades, the West Coast has proven to be a leader on reforming the War on Drugs, helping advance ideas that seem controversial to other parts of the nation. Over time, scientific advancements and actual real-world data demonstrate the truth of the matter, that the Drug War has failed and that it’s better to invest in people instead of prisons. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize cannabis, personal drug use, and legalize therapeutic psilocybin therapy; California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis; and Washington State joined Colorado in first legalizing adult-use cannabis. (Got to give props to Colorado for being a pioneer as well, of course.)

This week, the West Coast continued the momentum to reform the failed Drug War with Seattle becoming the largest city to date to vote to make psychedelics the lowest law enforcement priority and California ended mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Bloomberg reported on Seattle’s move:

“Seattle becomes at least the ninth U.S. city to take such action in recent years, joining Denver, Washington and Ann Arbor, Michigan, among others. In 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use. 

“Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis, who sponsored the effort, said it was the first step in the city’s move to change its drug policies. 

“’Our overall goal is to follow the lead of Oregon,’ he said, speaking in a phone interview before the vote.” 

California Globe on the Golden State ending harmful mandatory minimum sentences:

“Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that ends mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug crimes on Tuesday, giving judges more individual discretion on punishing criminals.

Senate Bill 73, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), ends the prohibition against probation and suspended sentencing for drug crimes, including possessing more than 14.25 grams of illegal drugs, agreeing to sell or transport opiates or opium derivatives, planting or cultivating peyote, some forging or altering prescription crimes, and other similar non-violent drug-related crimes.

“According to SB 73, the bill would not end the ability of judges to administer mandatory minimum length jail sentences. It would also not end laws that require jail time for many other drug offenses or remove probation ineligibility for those who had previously committed drug felonies.”

The West Coast and Colorado have the advantage of utilizing the citizen initiative, a vital tool for change that isn’t available everywhere, notably in the Northeast. But these two recent reforms demonstrate that change can occur through normal legislative means as well, although the political pressure the initiative power plays in the process cannot be ignored. The good news for other parts of the country, even those without the initiative process, is that change is a-comin’ to your neck of the woods in due time as the success of pioneering states becomes widely known across our great land.

Kind Leaf is proud to serve those with the pioneer spirit here in the Great Northwest. Please see our online menu via Leafly and venture into beautiful Pendleton to see the area’s premier craft cannabis boutique for yourself.

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