The Overcast, episode 13: Will the Trump administration crack down on legal weed? And how is Oklahoma ahead of Washington state on fighting mass incarceration for drug possession?
Will Donald Trump‘s administration crack down on legal marijuana in Washington state? And how did Oklahoma recently move ahead of Washington state on fighting mass incarceration due to drug possession?
We talk with the Seattle Times’ ace pot reporter Bob Young, who has written about the Obama administration’s “politically artful” approach to marijuana, allowing states to proceed as laboratories of legal weed, which remains illegal at the federal level.
Since Trump nominated anti-pot Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, fears are rampant that the feds could reverse that hands-off approach. (Sessions said last year “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”)
Trump’s local impactHere’s what Donald Trump’s presidency could mean for... could crack down on weed-tolerant states. But Trump himself has said the issue should be left to the states.
But Young says the future might not be so gloomy for legal weed. After all, Trump himself has said the issue should be left to the states.
Then we speak with the ACLU’s Alison Holcomb, who wrote Washington’s legal-pot initiative. She’s now pressing a related cause: reducing mass incarceration in the U.S.
Holcomb just advised a campaign in Oklahoma, where voters made simple drug possession a misdemeanor. In Washington, it’s still a felony (unless, of course, the drug in question is pot) — and a felony rap sheet can make it harder to get a job or even housing.
Oklahoma is traditionally a conservative state, but Holcomb says the Christian notion of redemption was a powerful argument for drug-sentencing reform there.
We could see a push next year in the Washington Legislature to allow individual cities to decriminalize drugs, Holcomb says. A task force recently recommended opening safe public sites in King County and Seattle where addicts can use hard drugs under medical supervision. They would be a first in the U.S., but possibly modeled after a similar site in nearby Vancouver.
Would decriminalization and supervised injection sites create a “moral hazard” and decline in quality of life? Data prove such concerns are overblown, Holcomb argues, but she adds that politicians and voters shouldn’t shy away from a full and honest debate on those issues.
Finally, as always, we name this week’s political winners and losers.
Winning: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who could get a cabinet post or other role in the emerging Trump administration.
Losing: Seattle voters who had enough last year of a Tim Burgess vs. Jon Grant City Council battle. Grant, a tenant activist, says he’s running for Burgess’s seat in 2017.
Send us feedback and nominations for next week’s winner and loser in local politics! Here’s how: