This week we take a look at the noticeable weed news that has happened in Washington. Stories include Jeff Sessions, a risky billboard, and a crazy marijuana DUI. Be sure to check out this week’s edition of Washington Weed News.
In light of the potential that Attorney General Jeff Sessions “could crack down” on state marijuana policies, The News Tribune examined the rate of violent crime after legalization. The July 26 weed news feature combats Sessions’ assertion, first reported by Politico, that experts back the notion that “there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.”
FBI crime statistics demonstrate that fewer incidents of violent crime since Initiative 502 passed in 2012.
According to the FBI data, in 2011 there were 295.6 violent offenses reported per 100,000 Washington residents. In 2015, the most recent full year of data available, that rate had fallen to 284.4 violent offenses per 100,000 people.
Other data compiled by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs showed some fluctuations in violent crime rates but still found no statistically significant increase. According to those reports, in 2012 there were 3.6 violent offenses per 1,000 state residents. In 2016, the state’s violent crime rate was 3.3 offenses per 1,000 people.
The statistics reflect trends in reductions in violent crimes. A recent Pew Research Center study found that the rate of reported violent crimes was roughly cut in half from 1993 to 2015. Representative David Sawyer, a Tacoma representative and chairman of the House committee that deals with marijuana, theorized that the drop reflected that more people are realizing violent crime is linked to keeping marijuana illegal. Sawyer shared with The News Tribune that the state system could be at risk and that lawmakers await the administration’s next moves. However, Sessions’ future in the Trump administration may be in jeopardy, according to the Washington Post.
Multiple sources relayed The Associated Press report on recent community backlash in response to the Department of Health’s questionable anti-cannabis messaging. The billboard, aimed at Yakima-area Hispanic youth, read “We don’t need pot to have fun,” and “We’re Hispanics. We’re cool by default.” The state department agreed to take the advertisement and apologized for causing offense via Twitter.
Weed news was made when the story broke of a driver that tested with 54 times the legal limit of marijuana in his system. In May, the state patrol pulled over a 53-year old Lynnwood resident that allegedly fled the scene of a hit-and-run collision. After demonstrating signs of intoxication and donning a local medical marijuana company on his shirt, the man declined to take a field-sobriety test. His blood was tested by the State Patrol’s toxicology lab and demonstrated THC levels of 270 nanograms. The amount of THC allowed in a driver’s system is five nanograms. The results are the highest the lab has seen since 2009. Prosecutors are considering what charges to press against the driver.
Looking for more weed news about Washington state? Visit our news section and learn more about Hemp Fest’s struggle for its future, legalization and car searches, and popular products from local pot shops. Stay up to date with developments in national legalization policies and marijuana industry advancements.