Purportedly acting in the interest of people who want to drive with active THC in their bloodstreams, No On I-502 filed a campaign this week to oppose a sweeping pot legalization and regulation measure that will appear on Washington State's fall ballot.
The campaign has donation pledges from attorneys and doctors, says treasurer Anthony Martinelli, and he speculates that medical marijuana cooperatives may also fund their campaign of television commercials and newspaper advertisements. "It's a very good possibility [medical marijuana dispensary operators] will donate if they think passing it will negatively harm their patients, because a lot of patients have to drive to get to their location," he says.
The medical marijuana industry—threatened by the prospect of legalization harming their business model—was a leading opposition to the 2010 legalization initiative in California. Similarly, medical marijuana activists in Washington have been opposing I-502.
The anti-I-502 campaign was filed by Martinelli and Gil Mobley, a doctor who operates a clinic in federal Way that writes medical marijuana authorizations, and the campaign has the backing of Patients Against I-502. That organization's advocacy has been led in part by Hempfest director and medical cannabis patient Vivian McPeak along with marijuana defense attorneys Jeffrey Steinborn and Douglas Hiatt. All except Mobley have direct ties to Sensible Washington, a campaign that twice failed to qualify their own legalization initiative that contained no DUI provision and zero regulations.http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/02/24/sorry-medical-marijuana-activists-your-study-doesnt-prove-that-i-502-will-nab-sober-drivers-for-duis
The group's primary gripe with I-502, as explained by Martinelli, is that drivers who are first stopped with probable cause, then are found to be impaired, and finally taken to a lab or hospital and found with 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood would have no further court defense. They say Initiative 502 goes too far in creating strict felony DUI penalties for people with 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood, and although it would require testing in laboratories or hospitals, they fear that the state could develop roadside tests to nab high drivers.
Martinelli says that stopping approximately 10,000 annual marijuana possession arrests is "not worth the exchange for the DUI provision that will take away driving for all cannabis users." Martinelli says that a scientific study has shown marijuana users can exceed the 5 nanogram cut-off of THC six or seven days after last using marijuana. However, he has not yet provided copies of that study.
UPDATE 2/24: Martinelli did get back to me with the study, but I argue that it disproves his claim.