Seattle City Attorney Peter Holmes: “Legalize Marijuana”
Peter Holmes is the City Attorney for Seattle, Washington. In this op-ed for the Seattle Times, Holmes makes good on his campaign promises to not prosecute user-level marijuana crimes and joins the growing chorus of current (Rep. Jared Polis) and former elected officials (Gov. Gary Johnson) calling for an end to adult marijuana prohibition.
Marijuana is far more like alcohol than it is like hard drugs, and we should treat it as such. We address alcohol abuse primarily as a public-health issue, and we should do the same with marijuana abuse. Inebriation only becomes a crime for those who choose to get behind the wheel, whether the intoxicant is alcohol, prescription pain killers or cannabis.
I support tightening laws against driving while stoned, preventing the sale of marijuana to minors, and ensuring that anything other than small-scale noncommercial marijuana production takes place in regulated agricultural facilities — and not residential basements.
Ending marijuana prohibition and focusing on rational regulation and taxation is a pro-public safety, pro-public health, pro-limited government policy. I urge the state Legislature to move down this road.
Even if marijuana remains illegal under federal law, it is still time for Washington state to act. As with alcohol prohibition, collective action by the states will help us end the federal marijuana prohibition and transition to a rational and functional system for regulating and taxing marijuana.
Pete Holmes is serving his first term as Seattle city attorney. Click here to read the entire op-ed. February 18, 2011