Only 90 people out of 13,000 are arrested for simple possession?
@1) That's 90 percent.
The Campaign to Lock Up 13,000 Pot Smokers a Year

More shameless propaganda from the Stranger "News" department. Given how shitty journalism pays these days, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the dumb shit you guys write.

I-502 asks pot smokers to trade in a misdemeanor possession charge (that would be dropped in Seattle) for a bogus DUI felony. This is a horseshit deal for any pot smoker who drives.

Bottom line - this initiative won't pass without near-unanimous support from the pro-pot crowd, which means it won't pass. Any pot smokers who are locked up for possession can thank Dom Holden and Alison Holcombe for two huge fuck ups: 1) not getting behind Sensible Washington's initiative a couple of years ago, and 2) wasting time and money on this piece of shit.
Seandr - how many DUI charges will there be if this passes, do you recon?
Gah, I'm retarded or something. Also, the law on possession.
I wish this wasn't a case of the lesser-of-two evils. I'm torn and disappointed in the situation. Why didn't the individuals who crafted I-502 consider a reasonable limit for DUI for inclusion in the first place? If the science was admittedly "unclear" (I personally pulled all the articles I could find on pub med last week and it seems obvious from the research that this 5 nanograms is far too low).

And you just demonstrated why cannabis will not be legalized in our lifetime.
@3 said: "This is a horseshit deal for any pot smoker who drives."

Oh no! Not the pot smokers who *drive*! Here's a hint... how about you don't toke up and then go drive? How about you do like what you do when you're out drinking and call yourself a cab, catch a bus, walk, or get someone else to drive you?

There's no grander hobby in Seattle than bickering over the petty shit when we've got an enormous opportunity to make a huge forward step.
each state shall offer up one male and one female pot smoker as tribute to compete in the annual hunger games.
@8 This is nothing. You should have seen the bickering around California's prop 19. It could be argued that opened rifts that won't be healed until Santorum takes office(never).
And again, everyone overlooks that this is the first shot across the bow of nationally ending prohibition. If we wait for the Perfect Bill, we'll be bitching still about this when we're all 70.

Prohibition will end by death of 420 cuts, not a single perfect bill.
I'd like to point out that under current law you can get a DUI for pot, but since there is no test or limit for THC there is effectively a zero tolerance policy. Under the proposed I-502 it would actually be less likely to get a DUI for pot.
I don't want those druggies driving when I'm on I-5 coming back from 2 days driving to Seattle from Santa Barbara ....

Just sayin.
But ... if they don't toke up before they start driving, will this affect revenue at 7-11 and other places that sell junk food? Hmm, have to think of the economics angle of it.
I will never understand why progressives or left-wingers or whatever you want to call them are so disinterested in actually winning elections or getting their program into law.

They often seem a lot more interested in ideological purity.

But anyway, look at it this way. If this new initiative passes, it will start a giant round of lawsuits and legal problems that will probably mean that this particular set of laws will never actually be enforced. So you can vote I-502, imperfect as it is, and make a huge statement for legalization and against the drug war, while not having to worry about being pulled over for a pot DUI. It's a win-win.
there is no science to support the 'inactive' thc vs. 'active' thc claims. it is complete & total bullshit. people want there to be a measurable method for determining how high someone is on pot, but that method does not exist, so we get an initiative that will completely fuck innocent people. don't pass a shitty law because people can't except reality (there is no blood test to determine how high someone is). support decrim instead.
Has anyone started talking about how to fix the DUI provision after 502 passes? I think that a number of people who are on the fence about it (like @6) want to be reassured that there's a plan to tackle the issue in the near future. I don't blame 'em - while we shouldn't sacrifice the good at the altar of the perfect, it's never a good idea to shoehorn bad science into public policy.
Things to keep in mind:

--The 5 ng/ml threshold refers to THC (the "active" ingredient), NOT to metabolites. The piss tests with which many of us are familiar (pre-employment, etc.) test for metabolites, which are in the blood much, much longer than THC (which has a half-life in plasma on the order of a couple of hours).

Don't get those twisted, because it's a big difference. If the pro se provision included the presence of metabolites (as it currently does in some jurisdictions) I'd be howling against this initiative, too.

--The people who are likely to have 5 ng/ml (or more) in their blood at any given time are: 1) chronic, heavy smokers who likely have a very high behavioral tolerance to the impairing effects of THC, and thus are not likely to be visibly impaired, and 2) people who have smoked within the last couple of hours, AND ARE VERY LIKELY IMPAIRED.

--The science on the relationship of subjective impairment to the concentration of THC in the blood is not as solid as it is with alcohol. HOWEVER, there isno question that a certain level of impairment exists beyond a certain level of consumption (as anyone who has taken more than a few puffs surely knows.) The ambiguity is whether an objective, quantitative measurement (blood level of THC) can accurately predict a reasonable level above which a person is very likely subjectively impaired. It is NOT ambiguous whether such impairment occurs, or that its likelihood increases with increasing blood levels of THC.

--It is not reasonable to expect marijuana legalization without some accounting for DUI.
It is not reasonable to expect marijuana legalization without some accounting for DUI.

Exactly. Nearly all my conservative friends always say, "I'd be for legalization if the laws governing it were like alcohol."

Anyone who expects weed to have some magic free pass far more liberalized than booze is a raging idiot.
"I-502 asks pot smokers to trade in a misdemeanor possession charge (that would be dropped in Seattle) for a bogus DUI felony."

Hey, Seandr-- It may come as a shock to you, but not all pot-smokers live in Seattle. The myopia behind the opposition to I-502 is legion.
Sensible Washington had it right! We don't need blood test requirements to get a legalization measure passed! We can focus on how marijuana prohibition is destructive to our society. I don't need to go into detail on the talking points. If you need examples go to! I say NO to I-502 because it subjects unfair discrimination to those that smoke marijuana! The majority of marijuana arrests happen during a police vehicle stop. We don't need blood tests to allow people to use narcotic pain killers or ingest allergy medicine! Once we legalize marijuana the state patrol can run scientific studies on a effective field sobriety test for cannabis impairment. We should allow people to argue a defense in court. That defense would be striped away if there was an arbitrary limit of 5ng of THC in a persons system. Not having a blood limit for THC exposure will hold police more accountable and making our law enforcement officers prove each and every case know matter the cost to our courts! It's a silly argument to say that we have to pass any legalization measure no matter the negative consequences. I can demand better from the legalization movement!
im a medical marijuana patient and i want this passed. personally i dont know ANYONE whos gotten a dui for cannabis. no one. and theres zero tollerence now. sensible washington is never going to get it together and put even near a respectable campaign together so this is the best we're going to get. seattle needs the tax revenue...the state does. we could also use the tourism dollars.
@21 there is zero chance it gets legalized or decriminalized in the USA, anywhere, without a DUI component going live at the same time. Chicken or the egg.
I'll also add...

The main reason that there is not a great deal of solid science on marijuana impairment is because these are much more difficult studies to get approved and conduct in an environment where the drug is illegal (and especially Schedule 1). Not impossible, but very difficult.

Legalization will facilitate more and better science on the subjective effects of marijuana in humans, perhaps to a point that subsequent, science-based revisions to the law can be made.
This is a great article from!…
Hey Dom, you should make a footer template of all the accurate talking points here in the comments, and just auto-append it to the end of every single 502 post from now till November.
I strongly object to the portrayal of this protest as having an underlying profit motive. Dominic, you know as well as I do that the folks you mention by name in the Repeal-First crowd have legitimate concerns about preemption and the curtailment of the right to a fair trial. Instead you've just smeared them as collaborators in the War on Drugs. Shameful.

As for 13,000 arrests, by your logic Alison's got 26,000 under her belt for not supporting I-1068 or I-1149. This line of attack is not a good one to pursue.

These are the tactics of a campaign whose position is so weak it cannot withstand a debate. Your readers deserve better.
The only concern I have is that I don't want the cops to START taking my blood on traffic stops. There are never THC DUIs because it is not yet legal/court supported in WA to allow the police to test your blood "on the street". Instead, they have to take you in and have a person who is registered to take blood do so. In some other states, they changed this very important restriction, and the results have been...well, they LOOK and SOUND frightening, but maybe I'm just a paranoid wimp.

This law could make it permissible for officers to take your blood at a traffic stop, right there, any time there is "probable cause" that you've smoked pot. This is not the best result at all for citizens, but every police department has been slavering over a chance like this since it's become a possibility on the table for them.

I support decriminalization, but I fear the extension of powers to the police.
Well said Dom...but, yeah as Joe points out @26 the comments have become predictable. We're hearing the same bullshit over and over again from the 502 opponents and the same refutations from those in favor. Gonna make for a long 2012.
@23 You assume we need a DUI component to pass a legalization measure! I simply can not support a legalization measure that arbitrarily strips away my right to a defense in court with a blood test that is nothing but bad science! There are enough people that agree with me on this! I-502 is going down! I can only hope!
@28 are you serious? How the hell would cops be able to take your blood during a traffic stop? You are high.

Since when are cops phlebotomists? And, yes, you are paranoid.
someone is smoking moldy weed....
blindly voting for anything that pushes these ridiculous drug laws out.

don't care about the consequences, we can fine tune the details later by suing the shit out of the city after getting pulled over and charged with nonexistent dwi charges because of a blood test.
@30: Way to root for the failure of the only legalization initiative you are likely to see for years. Congratulations.

My feeling is that the pro-pot yet anti-502 population is a pretty small percentage of the population, concentrated almost entirely within the Seattle city limits where their chances for actually getting busted for pot are pretty low. Now that they are fairly safe from arrest, they are willing to throw the rest of the state under the drug war bus.

Whenever you think of yourself as a "progressive" and you find yourself voting on the same side of an issue as the most conservative Republican fundementalist drug warriors, you might want to take a minute and re-examine your position.

The DUI laws already account for intoxication of any drug not just alcohol. So why do we need a separate more harsh law just for marijuana DUI? As a patient, I have been pulled over searched and passed a field sobriety test. That is how you determine intoxication. Not by an arbitrary test not based on any relevant scientific study. This is a boogey man arguement at best and does not advance the cause of legalization.
You assume we need a DUI component to pass a legalization measure!

And if you assume that we don't then you don't know jackshit about the polling that has been done here and elsewhere. And you don't know jackshit about the campaigns that have been run against other ballot measures.

To wit (from the official statement against prop 19 in the California voter's guide):

The California Police Chiefs Association opposes Proposition 19 because proponents “forgot” to include a standard for what constitutes “driving under the influence.” Under Proposition 19, a driver may legally drive even if a blood test shows they have marijuana in their system.

The ad campaigns against prop 19 focused heavily on the lack of a DUI provision and retrospective polling indicates this was the difference.

The DUI issue is a complete red herring trotted out by people who are either completely fucking clueless about political/electoral reality or who are recklessly putting their own petty little ego issues ahead of the greater good.
@36, I guess you've never heard of blood alcohol level testing. Do a little more homework. DUI arrests and convictions aren't just based around you stumbling around to comic effect in front of cops going all herp derp.
forty comments in and no one has bothered to question how much THC actually inhibits a person's ability to operate a vehicle. I'm not advocating getting ridiculously blazed and driving out on the city streets during rush hour or anything here. I think penalties should be steep for a person who causes an accident and is revealed to be seriously under the effects of marijuana, BUT... I doubt I'm alone in admitting that driving long distances slightly stoned is probably a good way to decrease instances of road rage, as well as road fatigue. just want to throw that out there.

despite that, I agree with Dominic. we just need to get something done as far as legalization. sitting around waiting for the perfect "make everyone happy" bill to come about is something a stoner would do. there's a real world out there, kids! let's join it!
please sign the petition to stop the extradition of chris diaz from california to texas where he is facing a possible life sentence for possession of 1/2 ounce of cannabis.…

kind of puts the 5ng/ml DUI in perspective...
Thanks for speaking at the Cannabis Freedom March in Seattle Dominic! Sensible Washington will have a lot of volunteers eager to listen to you speak, and eager to march again next year. Thank you for all you do for legalization. United we win! After this whole mess is over it will be nice to get back to sane proposals that don't throw sober people under the bus just because they choose a substance that is safer than alcohol.
Another pathetic attempt at journalism from Dominic Holden. If you're going to blindly support I-502 and publish your opinions as fact, at least get NAW's talking points right. I-502 does NOT legalize possession for ALL adults as Dominic says. Those who grow a single plant will still be prosecuted. Those who possess a crumble over 28.3 grams will still be prosecuted. Most importantly, an entire class of innocent people will be automatically convicted of DUI, even when they are completely sober. All so Dominic Holden can go home and spark up a doobie and feel like he's actually made a difference in this world?
Jesus F*ck - Dom - this is getting ridiculous!

Why can't every I-502 supporter grasp the concept that it is immoral to pass any law that convicts innocent people!?

The DUI(C) statutes are discriminatory - period!

They aren't based in science, and do not prove impairment.

New Approach Washington fabricated concern for green DUI. They used a marginal number of concerned "no" voters from the failure of California's Prop 19, to build their case. 13% of 54% of "no" voters claimed concern for DUIC. 13% is already a small number. NAW does not show the percentage of concern from the 46% remainder of "yes" votes, which is likely to be much smaller than 13%, if not ZERO!

Only 15 states have per se limits for marijuana, only two of which are medical marijuana states. Arizona allows an exception for patients. Colorado rejected setting per se limits, after it was determined that no consistent limit could be set, and accurately prove impairment. 502 supporters want to claim "5ng per mL is the highest in the land" - no it isn't - 35 states with no per se limits are the highest threshold in the land.

Why would NAW elect to write, not only a per se DUI, with such a low threshold, that no patient will ever pass; but also take away rebuttable presumption?

In other words, per se means you are guilty until proven innocent - but taking away the right of rebuttable presumption means you can't even defend your accused guilt. To support I-502 is to support taking away the right to defend yourself in court.

I-502 grants an extension of police powers - it is not legalization in any sense of the word. This is not reform we can believe in, and is every freedom-fighter's worst nightmare.
@37 I'll say it one more time. I will not vote for a legalization initiative that strips my right to a defense in court. I will not give my vote to bad science. My dissent on this issue is not a vote for the drug war! I understand your frustration gnossos! I want to be persuaded to vote yes on I-502. However, "the greater good" is the reason I want to vote no! I feel everyone has a right to defend a Marijuana DUI case in court, because obviously there is no lab test/ aka. smoking gun that proves marijuana intoxication in court! Gnossos I'll respect your opinions but it is shameful to use name calling!

Troy Barber post at @44 says it way more eloquently then I ever could.
@45: Okay, I'll leave out the jackshit and fucking and try and be calmer. My vitriol is based largely on two issues.

First, the fratricidal holier-than-thouness of the left infuriates me. It's why we rarely win. We split hairs over and over again and focus on the smallest, most trivial of details and ignore the larger picture. And while drug policy reform is not really a left-right issue, the 502 debate is a caricature of the worst of the left.

And speaking of the larger picture. Some of the anti-502 folks really don't get it. This is not about medical marijuana. That battle is over. We've won it over and over again and will continue to win on that. This not really even about marijuana. And it's not about Washington State. It's about throwing a monkeywrench into the gears of the whole prohibitionist regime. And not just nationally, but internationally.

This is why people who are serious about drug policy reform nationally are solidly behind 502 (and the efforts in Colorado). This is why there is deep international interest on the part of reformers. They cannot believe that people who claim to be anti-prohibitionist are opposing 502.

It's not just that the anti-502 crowd can't see the forest for the trees. They can't even see the trees due to their obsession with the leaves.

And @44 anyone who thinks that 13% is small number in elections (especially elections separated by 8 points) simply isn't a credible analyst.
I expect more than a "smattering" of arrests. In fact, DUI-C convictions could potentially skyrocket:
1. Cop sees car of minority youths, and pulls them over, claiming they were 'weaving in their lane'.
2. Cop says 'I smell marijuana', places driver under arrest, and proceeds to the hospital to start a 3-hour donut break.
3. The driver, who is under 21, is found to have 0.1 ng of active THC in his blood from having toked up weeks earlier.
4. The driver cannot defend himself in court thanks to 502's rebuttable presumption clause, and is convicted on the evidence alone (per se).

For the record, blacks and Latinos smoke cannabis at *lower* rates than whites. But the affluent white tokers aren't worried about being convicted. No, the big worry is that those selfish patients are mad about being criminalized for driving unimpaired. How *dare* they get sick!
@47: 1-4 What's the fucking difference between this and what exists now?
@46 - the 13% is of the "no" votes. In order to have an accurate analysis, and establish a percentage of concern, the 13% should have been averaged with the missing percentage from the yes votes.

BTW - we do "get it". And, yes, when you are talking about wins and losses at razor thin margins, every percentage point counts.
I don't know what YOU refer to as professional, but I worked as a registered nurse, in home health case management, for many years. I don't agree with I-502 and I have read it, in it's entirety, several times.
There are a number of flaws, but the main one, criminalizing unimpaired patients who choose to drive, is so abhorrently unacceptable as to evoke nausea. Those who would jail the innocent in order to have a recreational activity for their leisure are selfish narcissists. Those who would do the same to the sick, disabled and dying are of the same sewer dwelling ilk who would take away all of our civil rights, just give them enough time!
There are much more responsible, compassionate ways to do this, and another six months to get a better initiative on the ballot. And it seems that just might happen, so take Dom, Alison and the rest of those who would divide this community with a grain of salt. If we stand together, they will know defeat! Do not let the few conquer the masses! Let's protect the patients on the way to full legalization, and not be trying to throw ANYONE under the bus!
January 6th is the first day to file initiatives for the upcoming November ballot. Are you ready for better?
Why is the SW crowd always so predictable? ...'full of the sound and the fury, signifying NOTHING". I've never seen a group of people so critical and immature. New SW slogan for 2012: Sensible Washington; a place for the perpetually adolescent to call home. #growthehellUPpeople
Here is the "dilemma" the voters (who care about this particular part of the measure) will face presented neutrally and free of embellishment:

New Approach Washington holds that the DUI-C provision is directed at the concern over impaired driving. If, and only if, a driver is stopped with probable cause for suspected impaired driving, and there are reasonable grounds for believing that a driver is impaired, and reasonable grounds to believe the impairment is caused by marijuana or a drug other than alcohol, the officer may arrest and a blood test may be required. Blood testing is for the psycho-active delta-9 THC and not the metabolite carboxy THC.

The medical cannabis opposition, (as represented by groups such as Patients Against I-502) contends that medicinal marijuana users can have very high levels of delta-9 THC (over the proposed legal limit) but are not impaired. Because of their high levels of THC the law would "per se" make it illegal for them to drive. They fear that police will stop and even target them without probable cause and without evidence of impaired driving and demand that they submit to a blood test. This would result in arrest and possible loss of driving privileges.

It's a lot less flashy than accusing I-502 Sponsors of throwing people under a bus and calling I-502 supporters selfish narcissists and sewer dwelling ilk. But I think when presented without the hysteria, voters who might even consider this part of the issue will make the choice that makes the most sense.
@NotSpicoli - have you ever met a patient that has already been charged with green DUI under our current law?

I have. Two people have privately shared their cases with me, neither case was pulled over from erratic driving or "impairment". One case was a broken tail light, the other was a single car accident from a stuck throttle. Neither suspect was impaired at the time of the accident. In both cases, after the officer learned they were MMJ patients, a blood draw was ordered. ** Please note - THIS IS UNDER CURRENT LAW!

Per Se DUI means guilty until proven innocent. Removal of the right of rebuttable presumption strips a suspect of their right to a defense - this is what I-502 will do!

The existing DUI laws already make potential conviction a living Hell, but you support a policy that takes away the right to defend yourself in court - Is this the price you are willing to pay so that recreational users will have a right to possess up to an ounce?

I know you are willing to, that was a rhetorical question; but, I am not, and won't. I will not allow prosecution of the innocent, sick and dying, just so recreational users can get a "get out of jail free" card.
BTW - NotSpicoli - have you been following the thread on Horse's Ass?

If so, which fake name are you commenting under?


- Troy
"Is this the price you are willing to pay so that recreational users will have a right to possess up to an ounce?"

Troy, what price are you willing to pay to excuse impaired driving, drug cartels, racist enforcement, millions of wasted tax dollars, SWAT team brutality and death in an unregulated market?

Troy, I comment under one nom de plume only. That you would make such a claim and assumption that I post under different names is typical of the kind of the inaccuracies and misinformation being spread by the opponents of I-502. Stop making things up. That's the tactic of the prohibitionists.

No, I haven't been following the thread there. I did check it out. Just more of the same. See above. Neutral statement to the voters.

I did note that Steinborn posted on that thread. He's the guy who wrote:

"Even though everyone you know thinks it’s just fine to use cannabis responsibly, 750,000 folks ... are busted for pot every year. Eighty percent of those are for personal use. Even so, for most of them, it’s a disaster. Lost employment, lost career, lost children to a nasty ex or wanna be ex, a year or more of extremely inconvenient and demeaning piss tests . . . and so on. For most folks a simple misdemeanor potbust is a disaster and an utter tragedy."

Troy, thanks again for the inspiration for my support of I-502.

"Considering the destructive impact the war on drugs has on our society, the damage to families, and economic and environmental losses, we soon realize "legalization" is not a dirty word after all. It is a moral imperative." Troy Barber
@55 NotSpicoli - Easy now big fella, we have experienced same-authors using different pseudonyms on our Facebook page, so suspicion is not unwarranted.

You know this is not about excusing impaired driving, this is about creating laws that have potential to convict innocent people. Please stop trying to make this argument into something it is not.

The "racist" enforcement you cite can be further abused by passage of DUI statutes that do not prove impairment, yet guilt can be guaranteed under such low limits. If you are black, under 21, and have so much as a trace of active THC metabolite in your blood stream - you better hope you are never suspect for DUI.

The drug cartel issue can only be solved at a national level. States legalizing are a step in that direction, but passage of I-502 will do nothing to change national or international policy by itself.

After federal preemption, possession of a legal ounce might remain, but no legal means of obtaining product will exist. The result will be a growth in illegal black market sales. Do you not think that cartels won't start growing in Washington forests or public lands? Hell, you might as well send them an invitation!
@18 "--It is not reasonable to expect marijuana legalization without some accounting for DUI."

That is an opinion, but it is being stated as fact by I-502 sponsors and supporters. I have a different opinion, that we will have a legalization initiative pass without even mentioning DUIC. It will be in Colorado, sadly not here in WA.

Colorado has just gotten enough signatures to put a legalization bill on the ballot without a DUIC provision in it, and with several other improvements over I-502, like small home grows allowed, similar to small home brews, along with taxing and regulating cannabis.…

@46 "And @44 anyone who thinks that 13% is small number in elections (especially elections separated by 8 points) simply isn't a credible analyst."

Hmmmm, Gnosis, looks like you are the one distorting numbers here. Looking at the report available at NAW's website, there were 54% of people voting no on CA's prop 19, and of those 54%, 13% said DUIC was a concern. So, when you really look at the facts, 13% of the group that opposed prop 19, is really much fewer than you would think. For example: out of 100 people who voted no on prop 19, 13 of them said that DUIC was a concern for them.

NotSpicoli @52 your characterisation of the patients against I-502 is inaccurate. We are concerned about the rights of all unimpaired drivers, whether they be patients, recreational users or minors. To create a law that will make unimpaired drivers guilty of DUIC as I-502 has done, goes against the grain of many people that do not believe in prohibition of cannabis, including national reformers. I am heartened by your claims to have learned so much from such notables as Jeffrey Steinborn, as well as Troy Barber. Both of them have earned such respect, and they have genuine concerns about I-502.

Although I really like all of Troy Barber's exceptionally accurate and informational posts, I most agree with @3 "Bottom line - this initiative won't pass without near-unanimous support from the pro-pot crowd, which means it won't pass. Any pot smokers who are locked up for possession can thank Dom Holden and Alison Holcombe for two huge fuck ups: 1) not getting behind Sensible Washington's initiative a couple of years ago, and 2) wasting time and money on this piece of shit."

As some of you may know, I have been advocating for a alternative for those who use cannabis medicinally with a health care provider's recommendation, e.g, (… ).

I am pleased to report that in the draft of the upcoming MUCA bill, Jennifer Kohl-Welles has been added the following (from the summary):

“Disallows conviction of DUI for qualifying patients based solely on the presence, or presence in a certain concentration, of components or metabolites of cannabis. Proof of actual impairment is required.”

I encourage the strongest possible support for this provision from all camps.

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