Story of tax dollars from sales of marijuana going to good causes is incorrect.

Thanks to Derek in Washington who forwarded this important news story on a Washington sheriff who taped an ad for the pro-legalization campaign in neighbouring Oregon. The sheriff made what seemed to be grossly inaccurate or misleading claims about the state of legalization in Washington. King 5 News ran a fact check on the DUI portion of his statement.

Other claims made by the sheriff (along with the real facts).

1. “Month by month tax dollars are going to schools and police, not drug cartels.”

There is no money for schools (except 3/10 of 1% of second tier funding for the Building Bridges program at OSPI).

There is no funding for police, sheriffs, or state patrol. Enforcement funding exists for LCB enforcement officers–about 12 statewide.

2012 NW HIDTA report says cartels are staying in WA and modifying their business model accordingly. They are now positioned to compete in the only remaining marketplace where MJ is illegal–young people under age 21.

2.“Wasteful arrests are way down.”

Yes, marijuana is no longer illegal for adults over 21. Of note is that there was not, and is not, anyone in jail for simple possession. Of the 8 cases found in 2012 to be in jail for possession, all had plead down from more serious crimes.

Saying arrests are wasteful implies that enforcement is not appropriate. However the law is clear about it remaining illegal for youth and gifting MJ is a felony.  Also, law enforcement is now burdened with the additional, unfunded responsibility to police a new addictive commodity industry including DUI’s, gun violence when grows are burgled, and smoking in public. Of note is that in many jurisdictions, public smoking, and underage use for that matter, is not being enforced and sending a dangerous message to youth.

2. “DUI’s are down.”

Total DUI’s may be down thanks to Target Zero Task Forces and enforcement efforts, but, according to data adapted from the State Patrol/State Toxicologist, total driving cases testing positive for delta-9 THC increased by 33% the year after legalization, after decreasing by 7% the year prior.

3. “Drug prevention programs are getting funding.”

There has been no funding from I-502 to DSHS’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery which is responsible for community-based prevention efforts under 502. Nor has the Department of Health received any direct support from 502 proceeds. Funding has yet to “roll in” from marijuana sales and the amount that will is unknown.



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