Kitsap County’s sheriff not ready to support marijuana legalization initiative

In his former life as a Washington state trooper, Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer recalls watching a motorist one day drive around a Walmart parking lot, encircling it several times at about three miles an hour. 

Round and round the car went, until Boyer’s hit his overhead lights and brought the car from its crawl to a halt.

The driver was stoned, Boyer recalled.

The sheriff used the story to explain to me his mixed feelings about Initiative 502, which would legalize the possession of marijuana for adults 21 and over. The driver was certainly not the worst he’d ever seen, having responded to too many alcohol-fueled fatality crashes. But he looks at the issue from a public health standpoint: would Washingtonians be better off if they could purchase weed at a store?

“Do you really want to add it to the mix” of our currently legalized libations? he asked.

For the record, Boyer will not be following suit of King County Sheriff Steve Strachan, who has come out in favor of the initiative. Boyer will be voting no on it.

But the issue’s merits are a conversation he wants to have.

“I think it deserves a dialogue and discussion,” he said. “Not just rhetoric.”

He believes that medical marijuana, whose patients in this state have long operated in a legal gray area, can help people. And he does not view pot as a scourge on society in the same way as, say, meth or heroin have been.

“Marijuana being an evil weed causing all the problems in this country? I don’t buy that,” he said.

But here’s why he’s voting no:

  • The plant remains a so-called Schedule 1 narcotic — meaning it has a high potential for abuse and has no value medically — in the eyes of the federal government.
  • Use of any substance not prescribed for medical use — legal or illegal — “do not usually make a person’s life better,” he said.
  • He doubts the criminal justice system will save money by not having to prosecute simple marijuana possession. “There are very few people in jail for recreational marijuana,” he said.

Boyer reiterated his willingness to continue the discuss and that he could change his mind about possible future initiatives. For now, he’s still weighing the issues, but isn’t ready to vote to end marijuana prohibition.


10 thoughts on “Kitsap County’s sheriff not ready to support marijuana legalization initiative

  1. With all due respect to KCSO and Mr Boyer (Who is paid by taxpayers).

    If Taxpayers desire it and vote it, you will have to support it.

    That person driving in circles – had it been alchohol where would he have been? – On the highway headed home. We kn ow what alcohol does to people on the road.
    I’m curious to know the related highway traffic incidents with MJ vs Alchol. This would be an awesome report to read.

    Lastly, how many domestic violence situations have you been involved in w here alcohol was NOT an issue but MJ was? (I honestly would like to know).

    I don’t do the stuff, but I see a MAJOR tax revenue capability for the state since t hose that want to use it are already doing so, may as well get some taxes out of it.

    OK carry on, keep doing a good job.

  2. Sorry I just re-read, I think I’m onboard with what you are saying.

    Disregard my post below. I see it for the medicinal people, not for the every day people.

    Although I’d rather see people smoke than drink, or NEITHER actually.

  3. Well you sure wont be getting my vote mr boyer. And did this man on MJ hurt anyone by driving around walmart in circles? we need the tax money, people who smoke should be allowed to not fear passing drug tests as well so they can get jobs and support there familys and PAY TAXES as well. ALKI is the problem. I have never seen a bad driver when stoned if anything there more safe and concerned!!!This pointless battle against mj makes me sick. I right now have a medical license, so i can have and do it all i want. I do believe we shouldnt be giving these CLINICS and the people who run them all the money. who knows what they do with it. so i support paying high prices for mj to help this state. give me a break boyer.

  4. That is a really shocking story about the stoned driver doing 3mph around and around the parking lot. Too bad marijuana just doesn’t have that kind of effect. There are plenty of valid concerns regarding medical marijuana, without getting distracted by hysterical stories from an immature Sheriff. He should just admit that his reasons are personal. I could respect that.

  5. I call BS on Boyer. Since when do State Patrol officers cite drivers on private property? He is totally making this event up. I think the law as written will not bring in anywhere near the money the state thinks it, like liquor, you priced it too high. I have not smoked in years but after polling friends of mine who still partake you have priced it higher than street weed. Boyer just made up his little anecdote, what’s he smoking?

  6. Voting “NO” on 502 is the only sensible way to go right now. It is absurd that cannabis is categorized as a Schedule I substance; but it is (it should be Schedule III). It is the epitome of hypocrisy to go from Schedule I to recreationalization use without any Schedule classification.
    Cannabis is more of a naturally occurring medicine with sound benefits when unabused. It has been a blessing to many suffering patients. It should be converted to Schedule III classification first (nationally), then made legal for patients in those states that vote it so, into law. Currently, medical marijuana has mechanisms built in to deter abuse. Criminals who access marijuana through the medical dispensary route as a supply network to sell the drug to non-patients via drug trade should be prosecuted vigorously. Seattle has done this a few times and gotten rid of much of that element. It is a strict rule that patients not share/sell to non-patients and that needs to be strictly enforced.
    Let’s instead turn our law enforcement resources to methamphetamine use. That is the drug that has been and is dragging down Kitsap County and it does a huge amount of collateral damage.
    Vote “NO” on 502 and let’s figure out a better way.

  7. I believe the federal government should reclassify both tobacco and alcohol as controlled substances, Schedule III, and classify medical marijuana as the same. Require an authorization for each substance from a medical provider (as medical marijuana is now). I don’t think many medical providers will write authorizations for alcohol and tobacco (and those lobbies would fight tooth and nail against it).
    Smoking marijuana is just plain stupid, healthwise, as is smoking cigarettes. There are much safer ways to use marijuana. Those that do smoke pot are more likely to abuse it than those who would refuse to put combusted substances in their lungs.
    Medical marijuana authorized amounts for individual patients are excessive presently (i.e., allow way more than is prudent), that should be halfed.
    There needs to be a dosage standard.
    I think there should be a specific amnesty day for all registered voters to legally sample a bit of pot without penalty and share an informed argument after that day.
    Thank you erstwhile, memyselfI, zcarmomma, ArticLight, Willy, fivebyfive, and POnative for the sensible points well made.

  8. Now that the flood gates are opening, without any education program for people who will now sample marijuana, there is a responsibility that has to be taken to increase awareness of the effects,hazards,and differentiation between use and abuse. I think it is a very bad idea to encourage or authorize recreational use of mj. Instead, it should be kept within a medical model. But that didn’t happen, so now what?

    Parents have a responsibility to their over-21 year old kids to be informed about the specifics of use and abuse, side effects, and everyone over 21 needs to make a concerted effort to not tolerate underage use. 502 does not have to be a free-for-all. Adults can adapt sensibily.

    To obtain a medical authorization of mj, for those who meet the parameters for eligibility, there is a tutorial session with the medical provider that writes it. It emphasizes the hazards of inhaling smoke (combusted material) vs inhaling vapor from warming mj rather than igniting it, and how that is done. The importance of hydration to counter the dehydrating effects of mj metabolism is taught. Proper storage is important. Many medical mj patients consume very small quantities over time and should keep it frozen or risk mold formation and degredation over an extended period(2 mos or more). The character of different strains of mj vary widely with regard to strength, type of effects, and duration of effect. Some strains are good for pain relief while others can make you more aware of pain but have unique cerebral effects instead. Mj is not a panacea.

    Don’t imbibe and drive. Do it at home and stay there.
    Anyone over 21 who is now considering trying mj, including those who once tried it decades ago, needs to take the time to research it beforehand and make an informed decision. There is a far more refined approach and quality control now (at least in medical mj). It’s your body. If it’s available for use non-medically, I’d encourage trying it so you have an informed opinion to base a rant on.

    Unless you derive medical benefit from it and are just pursuing the side effect of intoxication, then you are on the road to abuse of it and likely other substances as well.

  9. The vote on referendum 502 is flawed. 502 affects those over 21. Mj has been shown to interfere with brain development in teenagers.

    The vote on 502 should be filtered such that 18-20 year-olds have no voice on this issue; only 21 year-old and over adults should decide this issue.

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