(The Center Square) – Alex Cooley, a substitute teacher and co-founder of the Seattle-based cannabis producer, Solstice, is running for Seattle City Council with the goal of legalizing drugs as a way to battle the drug epidemic in the city.
Cooley said on his campaign website that he will work to create and implement the nation’s first municipal program to “legalize, regulate and tax all drugs.”
“I am going to push to have a program that is a siloed supply chain within the city that provides safe testing, while also a space to use, and on-demand treatment options,” Cooley said on his campaign website. “I will take the revenue from taxing regulated drug sales to fund housing, homelessness services, parks, transit and harm reduction/treatment.”
According to Cooley, the estimated revenue from legal drug sales would be around $300 million annually.
As part of this plan, one of Cooley’s first tasks would be working with city lobbyists and legislators to write a bill that ends the state-level ban on cannabis consumption lounges. If that is successful, the city council candidate would then work to pass an ordinance ensuring that all consumption club licenses in the city limits go to social equity applicants.
Cooley wants to propose a modest increase to the city’s current Title VI cannabis license fee for non-social equity license holders. This is in order to fund zero-interest startup loans and grants for the new social equity licensees.
As of July 6, there have been 623 confirmed deaths from drug overdose within King County. Cooley pointed to Canada’s supervised consumption sites. These sites and accompanying services provide a safe, clean space for people to bring their own drugs to use, in the presence of trained staff.
“This prevents accidental overdoses and reduces the spread of infectious diseases, such as HIV,” the Government of Canada states on its website.
Statistics from the Government of Canada revealed that between 2017 and March 2023, there were about 47,000 overdoses and drug-related medical emergencies in supervised consumption sites. However, there were no reported fatalities on-site, according to the Government of Canada.
“Safe supply is a truly great lifesaving program, but in Canada it is typically a prescription requiring a diagnosis of substance use disorder,” Cooley said in an opinion piece in The Stranger. “I want to facilitate a drug supply chain that is safe from its base ingredients to its end users.”
Cooley is running for the open Seattle City Council District 3 seat. The district seat is currently filled by Kshama Sawant who previously announced she will not be seeking re-election in the 2023 election season.
Cooley joins seven other primary candidates in the district 3 race. This includes Shobhit Agarwal, Andrew Ashiofu, Ry Armstrong, Bobby Goodwin, Joy Hollingsworth, Efrain Hudnell and Alex Hudson.