Evergreen: The Road to Legalization in Washington

Every U.S. President from Nixon up through Obama has stressed the importance of winning the war on drugs. Near the end of this 2013 Seattle International Film Festival documentary, one of the principal activists shouts, "Obama, tear down this wall!"

Directed by Riley Morton, this interesting and entertaining collection of news clips, interviews and speeches illustrate the determined forces that came into play during the 2012 campaign to legalize marijuana in the State of Washington. Surprisingly, part of their opposition came from a pro-legalization group who pointed out that this law is poorly written and should have followed the lead of Colorado, where an individual can have six plants without breaking the law. They maintain that the current law makes criminals of the users of medical marijuana.

We watch:
  • Rick Steves, the travel guru, who made it his personal mission to decriminalize pot. He maintains, and rightly so, that the current laws are racist. Because pot is both illegal and ubiquitous, the police use the law to arrest more black and brown youths than white. Seattle has a 60% arrest rate for people of color, while our population is only 5% colored.
  • Pete Holmes, Seattle City Attorney, vowed never to prosecute users of marijuana. He has kept his promise and furthermore, released prisoners being held on pot charges when the election was over.
  • Vivian McPeak has coordinated Seattle's Hempfest each year since 1991. He states that there has never been an accident or injury during the festivities.
  • Doug Hiatt is the profanely outspoken critic of the proposed law because it will make large growers rich and still not clearly address the issues. He feels the law, as passed, will require major rewrites in order to hold up under the long haul.
At one hearing, a gentleman set a single marijuana plant on the desk. He said, "This makes a criminal of me in Washington." A black minister sitting next to him said, "But you won't be arrested, because you are white!"
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The only preview I have is this U-Tube one from SIFF:
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