Seattle Times Editorial Board calls for legalization of marijuana

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Marijuana plants. PhotoMorgue
The Seattle Times editorial board calls for the Washington state Legislature to legalize marijuana in its Sunday editorial. The time has come, the editorial argues, for the states to lead the push against federal prohibition.

The Times endorses state House Bill 1550, which would legalize marijuana and sell it through the state liquor stores to customers over 21 who consume it in private. The Times editorial will be published in The Times Sunday print edition but will be available at 3 p.m. online.

The prohibition of marijuana has not worked – it continues to be widely available -- and it imposes huge costs in wasted resources of the police, the courts and the jails. Better to legalize it, regulate it and tax it, The Times editorial board argues. Such a move would greatly undermine the criminal element that thrives on an industry kept in legal shadows.

"Some drugs have such horrible effects on the human body that the costs of prohibition may be worth it," the editorial reads. "Not marijuana. This state’s experience with medical marijuana and Seattle’s tolerance policy suggest that with cannabis, legalization will work — and surprisingly well."

“Our ed board understands a good number of citizens may disagree with our call on this,” said Ryan Blethen, Times Editorial Page Editor and Associate Publisher. “And we understand if Washington state legalized marijuana, the law would be in conflict with federal laws. But it is a fight whose time has come. The states must lead it, and Washington should be first.”

Sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, HB 1550 was the subject of hearing Feb. 8 in the state House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. It has not yet been voted out of committee.

The Seattle Times is a 114-year-old locally owned journalism and community service company. Founded in 1896 by Alden J. Blethen, The Seattle Times is a fourth and fifth generation family business. The family's flagship newspaper, The Seattle Times, is the largest daily newspaper in Washington state and the largest Sunday newspaper in the Northwest. The flagship Web site,, is the largest local news information web site in the Northwest. Other Blethen-owned newspapers in Washington are the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the Yakima Herald-Republic, The Issaquah Press and its affiliated community newspapers: the Newcastle News, the Sammamish Review and the SnoValley Star. More company information, including links to the newspaper Web sites, is available here


Anonymous,  February 19, 2011 at 10:38 AM  

I appreciate the Times' stance on this, and I hope people can see past their irrational prejudices and show the rest of the country that Seattle is ahead of the curve. It's just a matter of time, and it's been proven around the world: prohibition does not work.

Anonymous,  February 19, 2011 at 5:39 PM  

The unethical drug war only serves to benefit criminal gangs, the prison lobby, et al. By legalizing and taxing marijuana, precious law enforcement resources can be applied where they need to be. Perhaps if cops weren't distracted by grow ops they could actually enforce anti-stalking laws and prosecute vigilante stalkers who are in violation of state laws by stalking innocent Americans at the behest of federal thugs.

Unknown March 9, 2011 at 9:11 AM  

At the very least legalize the dispensaries that are already operating and providing medical marijuana to many needy people. Tax, regulate them and see where things go. Less crime, no need for back alley deals, new revenue for the state that's drowning in red ink plus new revenue for the individual cities who licsense the dispensaries. Also the millions saved in law enforcement. Just do it already!

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