I have to ask what are the chances that weed was involved in the riot? This state is supposed to lead the way for other states to decriminalize the weed. Yet we hear about crazy riots going on that haven’t been known to happen before. It has only been a year since Washington legalized the ganja and already they have to increase their police presence.
I’m just pontificating here about the circumstances. There are many questions to ask about what led up to these disturbances. For example, what if the marijuana laws attracted an influx of young people? Has Washington become a Mecca for people to pilgrimage and smoke their doobies? Probably, yes. I mean, the law may be state level, but it had a high impact on the attitudes of the Nation as a whole.
What if these criminals, who would normally be locked up in jail with possession, be given a further reason to perform mayhem? There is a large subset of criminals who don’t know how to stop (their deviance). If you are familiar with the broken windows theory ( regarding Bernie Goetz) the police would have a higher chance to toss the criminals in jail for a minor drug offenses. By solving small infractions and putting away people who are out of their minds early on can prevent a war from breaking out later.
This rioting doesn’t sound like something that would have happened if people were sober and responsible. Have we not learned about the riot that occurred on the San Diego beach in 2008? It was clear that alcohol was definitely involved, not to mention other drugs. The aftermath involved debates for months about allowing alcohol on the beach. They agreed to remove alcohol from the beach for a year, and the City Council hasn’t changed their mind about alcohol since then.
It doesn’t matter what exactly was said, the actions still remain the same. Our ambassador state for legalizing weed is failing us. It really forces the Nation to have to ask what is more important in life, legalized weed and a larger police force, or responsible citizens and a smaller police force? We can’t have both.
Weed just gives the criminals an excuse to act out in violent ways. “I was high, man”, translates into don’t blame me for twerking on your car. The weed makes you throw beer bottles at cops. The weed makes everything ok. The weed brightens up the cop lights and enhances the sirens to make the experience even more surreal. This doesn’t look like it will be the last time this kind of incident will happen in a pot smoking state.
400 student rioters in a city of about 50,000 people. Bellingham is about an hour north of Seattle and almost the gateway into Canada. People could travel to Canada to smoke the reefer if they wanted, but that takes a little more ambition. Now with marijuana legal for almost a year, we see this social experiment showing cracks. How many people are going to doubt the impact of legalized Mary Jane now?
UPDATE Jan 1 2014: A new law goes into effect which broadens the meaning of the term “riot” to a more generic “criminal mischief”. The change is designed to make it easier to charge people who participate in civil disruptions. Bellingham Police had to break up a riot of as many as 500 people in October near Western Washington University campus, but they’ve only charge 5 people so far. -Cascadia Weekly