Alison Holcomb
Lower Wallingford
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Sep 9, 2012 Alison Holcomb commented on Retired DEA Heads Tell Obama to Stop Pot-Legalization Initiatives.
@73, it is much more plausible that differences in tobacco and heroin use are attributable to people being more willing to smoke a substance than stick a needle in their arm, as well as (and probably more relevantly) the cultural norms surrounding smoking vs. heroin use. Compare, e.g., the portrayal of heroin use in "The Man with the Golden Arm" with the images of cigarette use in just about any other movie from Hollywood's Golden Age. Heroin use has never been glamorized the way tobacco (and alcohol) use has.

That the DEA, criminalization of marijuana use, and concurring price increases are ineffective tools in impacting use rates is underscored by the fact that, according to this year's Center for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System results, more high school students have smoked marijuana in the past 30 days than have smoked tobacco. This speaks to your argument @80 -- price manipulation is clearly an incomplete strategy since marijuana remains more expensive than tobacco by a factor of ten.

We've cut youth initiation of tobacco use in half in this state in the past decade not by criminalizing cigarette smoking (or conditioning young people's ability to attend college on successfully passing nicotine drug tests), but by investing in multimedia public health education strategies that help and encourage people to make better decisions.

@71 has it right: parents, schools, community groups and public health departments are the right tools. Pushing kids out of school due to a failed drug test only increases their risk of developing a substance use disorder.
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Sep 9, 2012 Alison Holcomb commented on Retired DEA Heads Tell Obama to Stop Pot-Legalization Initiatives.
@77, read Sec. 10 of Initiative 502. "The state liquor control board, subject to the provisions of this act, must adopt rules by December 1, 2013, that establish the procedures and criteria necessary to implement the following: ..." http://www.newapproachwa.org/sites/newap…
Aug 14, 2012 Alison Holcomb commented on New PAC Fighting Pot Legalization Initiative.
@2, "buying" marijuana is not a crime under Washington state law. "Manufacture" (growing), "delivery" (selling or giving), and possession are (see RCW 69.50.401 and 69.40.4013). I-502 makes it no longer a crime for an adult 21 or over to possess marijuana (see Sec. 20). There is no requirement that the person be able to prove where he or she obtained it.

Alison Holcomb
Campaign Director
New Approach Washington
Yes on I-502
Feb 28, 2012 Alison Holcomb commented on Sorry, Medical Marijuana Activists, Your Study Doesn't Prove that I-502 Will Nab Sober Drivers for DUIs.
@67: "As a bleeding heart libertarian, why would you advocate for government intrusion into our bodies? Do you know that I-502's unethical DUI clause comes with implied consent? You give police consent for a blood draw, simply by 'agreeing' to have a drivers license."

Patients Against I-502, you're not really trying to imply that I-502 introduces implied consent for blood draws, are you? I hope not, because the lawyers you claim as members know better. Implied consent for a blood draw has been codified in Washington law since 1968, passed by voters as Initiative 242.

Trying to suggest that I-502 advocates "government intrusion into our bodies" would be not only scare mongering but a flat out lie.

Alison Holcomb
Campaign Director
New Approach Washington
Feb 28, 2012 Alison Holcomb commented on You Can't Legalize Pot Without Setting Realistic DUI Penalties for Stoned Drivers.
@11 - "Instead, we are only just now talking about it, after the introduction of I-502"?

That's simply not true.

A per se DUI threshold for THC was introduced in the Washington State Legislature in January 2011 as HB 1648 -- five months before I-502 was filed. Colorado's first per se THC DUI bill was introduced in February 2011.

Fourteen other states have marijuana per se DUI statutes, the earliest of which was passed in 1983, the most recent of which was passed in 2007. Eleven of those statutes are zero tolerance, and half of those include inactive metabolites in addition to the active THC to which I-502 is limited.

The National Drug Control Strategy released in July 2011 by the Office of National Drug Control Policy identifies "encouraging states to adopt per se drug impairment laws" one of its top policy priorities.

This issue was not raised by I-502, and it is not going away for the foreseeable future.

@15, @18, @24 -- the science is in the "DUI Factsheet" that continues to be available here: http://www.newapproachwa.org/content/faq. If you examine the graph on Page 2, you'll see that the available science indicates that risk of accident does, in fact, go down in correspondence to active THC levels between 0 and 5 ng/mL in whole blood (this is the initial dip in the line). However, at 5 ng/mL, the risk surpasses that of sober drivers.

New Approach Washington wants to end marijuana prohibition. We want Washington voters to take a decisive step in that direction in 2012. To accomplish that goal, we know we must deal with the political landscape as it exists now. The 5 ng/mL active THC DUI threshold in I-502 is reasonable and supported by the available science. Moreover, I-502 dedicates funding for additional research on this issue.

Alison Holcomb
Campaign Director
New Approach Washington
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Oct 30, 2011 Alison Holcomb commented on High-pocrisy.
@61, Island Bound:

If the THC per se DUI standards in I-502 were likely to lead to an increase in unreasonable arrests and blood tests of unimpaired drivers, we should already have empirical evidence available to us from the following states:

Arizona (zero tolerance since 1990, including metabolites like carboxy-THC (THC-COOH) -- the medical marijuana exception requiring actual proof of impairment wasn't adopted until November 2010);

Delaware (zero tolerance since 2007, excluding inactive metabolites);

Illinois (zero tolerance since 1997, including metabolites);

Indiana (zero tolerance since 2001, including metabolites);

Michigan (zero tolerance since 2003, excluding inactive metabolites);

North Carolina (zero tolerance for drivers under 21 since 1983, excluding metabolites);

Pennsylvania (zero tolerance since 2004, including metabolites, with 1 ng/mL active THC as the administratively-established minimum level that may be admitted as evidence in a DUI case);

Rhode Island (zero tolerance since 2006, excluding metabolites, actual impairment must be proved for medical marijuana patients);

South Dakota (zero tolerance for drivers under 21 since 1998, including metabolites);

Utah (zero tolerance since 1994, including metabolites); and

Wisconsin (zero tolerance since 2003, excluding metabolites).

We can also consider the experiences of Nevada and Ohio, which have 2 ng/mL of active THC, and higher levels of metabolites, as their per se standards; and Iowa, which adopted a standard of 50 ng/mL of any metabolite in urine.

Fortunately, we haven't seen a spike in unreasonable arrests and blood draws in those jurisdictions. There is no reason to expect Washington will be the anomaly.

Best,
Alison
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Oct 30, 2011 Alison Holcomb commented on High-pocrisy.
@53, Island Bound:

#1: I-502 makes it no longer a crime for an adult 21 and over to possess any combination of the following: 1 oz. of useable marijuana, 16 oz. of marijuana-infused products in solid form, and/or 72 oz. of marijuana-infused products in liquid form. There is no requirement that the end user keep any of these items in any specific packaging. See Sec. 20(3).

#2: I-502 makes it legal for licensed producers, licensed processors, licensed retailers, and their employees to transfer marijuana to others. Please see Sec. 4, pp. 9-10; Sec. 15(3), p. 23; Sec. 16(3), pp. 23-24; and Sec. 17(2), p. 24.

#3: Signs of marijuana impairment include, but are not necessarily limited to, compromise of reaction time, attention, decision making, time and distance perception, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, and concentration. Additional information is available on a new marijuana-specific page hosted by the University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute: http://adai.washington.edu/marijuana/.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to write to Campaign@NewApproachWA.org or call the campaign office at (206) 633-2012. I'm happy to answer questions, but I'm a little busy these days and don't have time to camp out in online comments sections.

Best,
Alison
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Oct 27, 2011 Alison Holcomb commented on High-pocrisy.
@15, Anthony:

I look forward to PANAW identifying its organizers and spokespeople. I know you value transparency, too.

Regarding Washington's drug forfeiture law: under current law, real property (homes, buildings) cannot be forfeited for growing a single plant or for simple possession without intent to deliver. RCW 69.50.505(1)(h). Cars and trucks can't be forfeited unless used in the receipt of more than 40 grams of marijuana. RCW 69.50.505(1)(d)(iii). I-502 will expand these protections, under state law, to licensed commercial operations. The bottom line is that I-502 improves our state's forfeiture law as it relates to marijuana.

Your issue with the fact that possessing more than 40 grams of marijuana will still be a class C felony is simply an argument that I-502 doesn't go far enough. I-502 makes possession of up to a ounce no longer a crime and doesn't make the penalties for possessing more worse. It's progress.
Oct 26, 2011 Alison Holcomb commented on High-pocrisy.
@12, "PANAW": The language you reference is the current law, not something added by I-502. In reading legislation, you need to understand that in any section that proposes to amend an existing statute -- like Sec. 24 proposes to amend the currently existing RCW 69.50.500 -- language that is underlined is new language to be added, language that is stricken through and surrounded by double parentheses is language to be deleted, and language that is neither underlined nor stricken through is the currently existing law.

Cheers,
Alison
Oct 26, 2011 Alison Holcomb commented on High-pocrisy.
@7, Troy:

Dominic was hired by the ACLU of Washington before I was, stopped working there two years after I started, and hasn't worked there in over three years. It's time to retire the "Dominic is Alison's puppet" argument.

I take issue with your claim that Patients Against I-502's motives (or methods) are "purely ethical." Eddie Agazarm contacted me right after New Approach Washington held its launch press conference in June, wanting the campaign to hire Citizens Solutions to gather signatures. When I told him we had already contracted with PCI Consultants, Inc., he insulted them and hung up on me. Now, Eddie's spamming people with emails equating I-502 to rape, and the Patients Against I-502 website is run by William Agazarm, one of your Facebook friends.

Cheers,
Alison