Pot's slippery slope
While many politicos keep their views on pot close to their chest, there’s one who’s voicing an opinion.
After all, the next five months are going to be a whirlwind time for the Washington State Liquor Control Board, as it works to codify a set of rules guiding the production and distribution of marijuana. First there will be a series of public hearings in April followed by the adoption of rules later in the month before they become effective on May 13, 2013.
That’s a pretty fast about-face following more than 80 years of weed prohibition. And what, precisely, will happen once the state rolls out its rules is about as clear as bongwater. That’s to be expected because there’s no clarity on what the federal government will do in response to the state’s rules.
That’s all been established. Ad nauseum. And while many local officials have withheld any strong opinions they may harbor about the passage of the law, others have opened up on the topic like an airport paperback.
For one, Battle Ground Mayor Lisa Walters says she cast a vote against I-502. For her, the no-vote was a no-brainer. Her son battled heroin addiction and, Walters said, started by smoking pot. She’s worried that legalizing pot for people who are over the age of 21 will only increase accessibility for young people.
“I personally know the effect of what just smoking a little weed can lead to,” Walters wrote in an email. It’s not such a slippery slope for her.
Because no one knows how—or even whether—the state will make any money off the new law (the feds could sue) Walters said legalizing marijuana could have unintended consequences.
“Another big concern for me is that pot is an addictive substance and I wonder where the money for treatment will come from.” she said. “I say this knowing that currently in Clark County we don’t have a lot of options for treatment for any addiction.”
Not everyone is quite as strongly opposed to the new law as Walters, though.
Take for example Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow, who has a more wait-and-see approach to everything. He says there are more questions than answers right now.
He says he doesn’t have any personal experience with marijuana (a very political response, even more so than Clinton’s “I didn’t like it—and didn’t inhale and never tried inhaling again” answer from 1992). But he does voice some optimism about the potential tax revenue that could come into the city.