Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, is touting his bill to use money collected from the sales tax of marijuana in Washington to fund additional law enforcement officers in cities and counties statewide as the most logical use of those funds. Senate Bill 6393, proposed today, is expected to be referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
“I want to make Washington the safest state in the nation by providing the necessary resources to hire more police and sheriffs deputies,” said Baumgartner, who represents the 6th Legislative District. “Under my bill, $25 million of what the state is projected to take in from recreational pot sales would go to local cities and counties for more cops. That amount would pay for roughly 250 new law enforcement officers statewide help to keep our streets safe.”
Baumgartner added that criminals and others seeking to take advantage of the state’s new recreational marijuana program are already finding ways to outsmart police officers, saying the state needs more police to deal with this criminal element and provide the safety expected by Washington citizens.
“I have a history of supporting marijuana-related legislation in the state,” said Baumgartner, “and in past years, I’ve voted in favor of expanding access to medical marijuana and I support the reasonable use and regulation of it. However I absolutely believe that it must be done in a thoughtful, legal manner and any violation of state law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”
Baumgartner noted that during his time working on behalf of the United States in Afghanistan, he was assigned to a counternarcotic group. His role was to work with local tribesmen to help convince them to plow under their poppy fields – the potent ingredient in heroin – and replace their illicit crops with wheat.
SB 6393 could be considered in the coming weeks.