Seattle City Council names pot panel

Seattle City Council President Peter Steinbrueck has approved 11 members of a Marijuana Policy Review Panel

The panel - which includes elected officials, health workers, legal officials and citizen activists - is mandated in the voter-passed Initiative 75, which calls upon city law enforcement and courts to regard adult personal use of marijuana as its lowest law enforcement priority.

The law requires the council president to appoint the panel "to assess and report on the effects of this ordinance." Specifically, the law says the panel will establish reporting criteria for the Seattle Police Department and city attorney's office to report marijuana arrests and prosecutions, and will submit to the council by January 2006 a comprehensive report with recommendations that will include information concerning the public safety, public administration, public health and fiscal impacts of the law.

The panel must consist of two council members, two citizen members, two criminal defense attorneys, one drug abuse prevention counselor, one harm reduction advocate, one representative of the SPD, one representative of the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and one representative of the Seattle City Attorney's Office.

The panel will receive semi-annual reports from SPD and the city attorney on marijuana arrests and prosecutions, including those undertaken in Seattle by the King County Prosecutor. Steinbrueck will introduce a resolution on Dec. 15 codifying the panel. Panel members (in alphabetical order) are:

Tom Carr (Seattle City Attorney's Office) was elected as Seattle's city attorney in 2001. He began his career as an assistant U.S. attorney in New York City and has been a partner in the Seattle law firm of Barrett, Gilman and Ziker.

D'Adre Beth Cunningham (defense attorney) is a public defender with the Defender Association in Seattle. She has a law degree from University of Washington and has served on the King County Bar Association's Drug Policy Task Force.

Alison Chinn Holcomb (defense attorney) is a criminal defense attorney in private practice. She has represented many clients in marijuana prosecutions. Holcomb obtained her law degree from the University of Washington.

Holcomb is a board member of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Dominic Holden (community representative) helped form the Sensible Seattle Coalition in 2000 and served as chairman of its steering committee during the I-75 campaign.

Theryn Kigvamusud-Vashti (community representative) is a former staff member of the Seattle Neighborhood Group. She is currently community organizer for the Black People's Project of Communities Against Rape and Abuse and a board member of People of Color Against AIDS Network.

Nick Licata (Seattle City councilmember) was first elected to the council in 1997.

Captain Ronald Mochizuki (Seattle Police Department) is commander of the Seattle Police Department's Narcotics Section and is a 24-year veteran of the force.

Mochizuki is also a member of the King County Meth Action Committee.

Kris Nyrop (Harm Reduction) is executive director of Street Outreach Services in Seattle. He is a nationally recognized leader in harm reduction and is a member of the Washington State HIV Prevention Planning Group.

Tom Rasmussen (Seattle City councilmember-elect) was elected to Position 5 of the city council in November 2003. A former director of the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, Rasmussen will chair the council's Housing, Human Services & Health Committee.

Dan Satterberg (county prosecutor's office) has been chief of staff to King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng for the past 13 years, managing an office of more than 500 employees.

Kenneth D. Stark (drug abuse prevention counselor) is director of the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse within the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

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