Call to Arms: Decriminalization of Drug Dealing

Draft testimony is available here.

This post has been edited (for accuracy) since it was initially written.

SB2179 goes above and beyond any bill previously heard by the Legislature.  While decriminalization [1] of marijuana possession is an issue that liberal Democrats have pushed hard on, SB2179 broadens the scope of their ambitions by decriminalizing the distribution [2] of all drugs.

The bill is unabashedly simple and seeks to reduce both possession of drugs and the distribution of drugs from felonies to civil violations. Rather than being removed from the streets, SB2179 would ensure that crystal meth traffickers would have a quick return to the streets after being slapped on the wrist with a civil violation.

Under SB2179, drug traffickers would be treated as leniently as jaywalkers.  If drug users and drug traffickers are tired of being treated like criminals, perhaps they should stop breaking the law.

Advance notice indicates that the committees plan for a large turnout. It is certain that marijuana (and other) advocates of drug use will turn out as a large group to push the measure through.

Who: Senate Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs
Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor
What: Hearing on SB2179 (Decriminalization of drug possession and drug dealing)
When: February 10th, 2016 at 8:30AM
Where: State Capitol, Room 016
Why: Drug possession and drug dealing are severe offenses. While drug addicts deserve rehabilitation, the collective safety of our children and our communities are jeopardized when crystal methamphetamine dealers are treated the same as jaywalkers.
How: (a) In-person: In addition to your in-person testimony, be sure to submit written testimony. See the information below for information on parking.
(b) Written testimony: Written testimony can be submitted using the Capitol website. Written testimony must be received at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing to be ensure consideration by committee members. Late testimony will be accepted and entered into the record, but may not receive consideration due to time constraints.

Parking: Limited metered public parking is available in the basement garage of the State Capitol. On busy days (such as this), those stalls will likely be occupied. Do not park in reserved parking stalls! The parking structure in Ali’i Place (entrance on Alakea Street) is often more convenient. While the parking is not free, it is much more convenient than the congested parking garage underneath the Capitol. For those who are able to, the most convenient and reliable transportation option to the State Capitol is the bus.

[1] Remember that decriminalization is the same as legalization.  Marijuana advocates prefer “decriminalization of marijuana” because it does not provoke the same sharp negative response as “marijuana legalization”.

[2] Liberal Democrats do not like the term “drug trafficking” since it provokes a quick and negative response from most people.  They prefer “drug delivery”, hoping that ignorance might prevent the public from knowing that they are the same thing.

Edits: Please bear in mind that just like other things that we study in our lives, we gain a better understanding.  The best tools to equip people of faith in the legislative arena are grounded in knowledge.

February 4th, 2016, 8AM – Added footnote to clarify decriminalization and legalization.  Changed references from drug dealing to drug trafficking.  The law attempts to distinguish between individuals who sell drugs and individuals who transport them.  Drug dealers are well aware of this loophole and exploit it when they are caught.  SB2179 still does not distinguish between someone who is trafficking marijuana versus crystal methamphetamine.