Talk about being sprung from the joint. The Washington Department of Corrections believes that prison life is hard enough without forcing them to live a sober existence once they are released. It is for this reason that, starting next week, the DOC plans to implement some policy changes that will allow parolees to smoke weed, if they are so inclined.
While life after prison can be difficult, there is some reprieve coming soon for the state’s 14,000 parolees, which will make the transition back into the civilized world a little easier: the ability to get stoned like other citizens with no threat of a parole violation.
The Department of Corrections currently forces parolees to undergo random urinalysis to test for six different types of drugs, one of which is Washington’s newly legal friend -- marijuana. However, prison officials say that as of June 1, they will no longer test for THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that produces the stoned effect.
"We don't want them held to that level when, as a citizen, you wouldn't be held to that level either," said Annmarie Aylward, the DOC’s assistant secretary, who adds the changes are not a reflection of the DOC’s support. "There's no way the department of corrections is endorsing the use of marijuana. We are simply aligning with state law," she said.
Meanwhile, in Colorado, the state continues to prohibit parolees from using marijuana, with no immediate plans to amend that. This apprehensiveness is likely due in part to similar “mixed feelings” being expressed by members of Washington State’s corrections officers union, who worry that allowing parolees to use marijuana will “lead to behavior changes and other problems.”
It is worth mentioning that Washington judges will still have the right to prohibit marijuana use depending on the nature of the case, which will prevent some parolees from enjoying the luxury of the leaf. Nevertheless, Washington State has just become the first state where a positive drug test for marijuana will not land a parolee back behind bars.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.