The following is a full, unedited statement issued Wednesday by ACLU of Washington director Kathleen Taylor:
The ACLU of Washington hails the initiative campaign being launched by New Approach Washington. Our current marijuana laws are ineffective, unreasonable, and unfairly enforced. They have done much damage to civil liberties – eroding protections against unwarranted searches and seizures by government, putting large numbers of non-violent individuals behind bars, and being enforced disproportionately against communities of color.
It is time for Washington to address this reality and to take a new approach. The initiative is comprehensive and carefully drawn. The initiative calls for Washington to treat marijuana essentially the way we currently treat hard alcohol – with clear distribution and use restrictions – and to earmark a portion of the state’s revenues for drug education and prevention programs. Further, its passage can help lead to much-needed change at the federal level.
The ACLU-WA is providing strategic support to New Approach Washington, and, as an in-kind donation, our Drug Policy Director Alison Holcomb is serving as campaign director.