Rantz: Democrats legalizing drugs will destroy Seattle, kill scores more
Apr 24, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Apr 25, 2023, 9:26 am
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Washington Democrats were unwilling to endorse jail time for repeat drug offenders who refuse treatment but keep breaking the law. So, they legalized drugs statewide, giving cities and counties power to craft their own laws. But giving the responsibility to criminalize drugs to far-left Seattle lawmakers means the end of the city as we know it. It’ll be death by a thousand fentanyl pills.
With total control of the House and Senate, Democrats needed to provide a permanent fix to the Blake decision. In 2021, the left-wing state Supreme Court invalidated our felony drug possession law. They argued it’s not constitutional to assume someone in possession of an illicit substance knew they were in possession. It was a laughably transparent way to decriminalize drugs. Rather than add the word “knowingly” to the law, Democrats opted to “decriminalize” for two years as it came up with a permanent fix.
But decriminalizing was effectively legalizing. Police couldn’t arrest for possession, and drug dealers aren’t easy to bust post-Blake when they’d carry personal possession amounts to escape arrest. The result of this experiment has been an abject failure, resulting in unprecedented fatal overdose deaths, driven primarily by fentanyl. King County and Seattle are already on pace to exceed last year’s record high with over 100 fatal ODs a month so far this year.
Stubborn progressive lawmakers want drugs legalized in Seattle
Republicans hoping for reasonable debate about drug addiction were fooling themselves this legislative session. The current makeup of the Democrat party is so far left it would make the Squad envious. They already banned guns that aren’t even being used in crimes, adopted abortion tourism statewide, and gave the thumbs up to getting runaway teens transgender surgeries without parental consent or even notification as to their whereabouts. Why wouldn’t they pursue drug legalization?
Republicans essentially wanted a combination of drug diversion programs and gross misdemeanor charges for addicts. Without the threat of jail time, an addict has little incentive to go into treatment. Most Democrats wanted this, too, but the large progressive faction of the party didn’t want any criminalizing at all.
“Harsh penalties don’t dissuade drug usage, but they do have unintended consequences like barring people from housing and services,” Rep. Chipalo Street (D-Seattle) falsely claimed. “Please don’t double down on the mistakes of the past and the war on drugs.” Street would rather an addict die on the streets than sober up in jail. This Democrat party is full of lawmakers actively seeking to liberate as many prisoners as possible. They believe the criminal justice system is racist and that everyone in it is a victim of white supremacy.
This news is likely good for most cities
In the end, Democrats refused to offer jail time for repeat offenders who refuse treatment. They sandbagged negotiations and a compromise bill, which had the votes but included gross misdemeanor as punishment for drug crimes. That bill would have passed, but it wasn’t extreme enough.
Republicans, along with a handful of reasonable Democrats, would rather the issue be decided by cities and counties. So that’s what will happen on July 1st unless there’s a special session to provide a fix. As of now, there’s no reason to believe a special session will change anything: Democrats are hellbent on dismantling the criminal justice system, no matter how many lives they take.
This is all good news for conservative and moderate Washington cities in the long-term. They will undoubtedly adopt some version of what Republicans compromised on. These cities will likely create drug possession laws punishable by gross misdemeanor, but favor drug diversion programs. Where they get funding for such programs in the short term is questionable, and will likely lead to short-term pain if these cities aren’t willing to put criminal addicts in jail.
Further legalizing drugs will not be good for Seattle. It will destroy the city.
Seattle won’t be able to survive drug legalization
If you think things are bad now, just wait for a Seattle where its own far-left leaders craft drug policy.
Seattle always tries to be the most extreme, especially about drugs. They rushed to establish heroin injection sites, despite them being illegal. They fully embrace a “harm reduction” model that merely hands out drug paraphernalia for addicts to use to kill themselves. Without anyone to reign them in, what do you think they’ll allow next?
The city is already dealing with a pronounced and deadly drug crisis. Walk around downtown Seattle or near any of the homeless encampments, you’ll see what their permissive policies have created. This reality is they still have some leash courtesy of the state Legislature. Without that leash, and with the makeup of the current Council, they could bring the city to a drug crisis no one has ever seen before — or could imagine.
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