Features Oct 24, 2012 at 4:00 am

People Will Give You a Lot of Reasons to Vote to Legalize Pot on November 6, but You're Not Going to Hear Much About the One That Matters Most


Out of the approx. 10,000 annual Cannabis arrests in Washington over 40% are people under the age 21. These people will continue to be arrested if I-502 passes. Under I-502 some of these people who would have previously avoided arrest by not having any Cannabis on them could be arrested for the content of their blood. This will also apply to some people over 21. Additionally many of these arrests involve quantities over an ounce - which will also still be illegal under I-502. Beyond this, if you look at Nevada where they instituted a strict 'per se' DUI law for Cannabis, there were 4,000 more DUID arrests than in the previous year without the 'per se' amount.

Given that Washington State has a population of over twice that of Nevada, it is reasonably possible that Cannabis related arrests will not go down. They could potentially increase.
It's a pretty good article, but I think you risk alienating the concern troll vote by attacking them like that.
1, That's a chance I'm willing to take.
Wonderful piece, Dominic. I-502 has tremendous implications for social justice, and it's sad that people don't seem to be talking about it.
@1: Are you going to white knight for the underage drinkers too?
the fact that we use the word "marihuana" results from a federal campaign to criminalize cannabis in 1937 by associating it with Mexicans

You need to tell that to the stoner who uses that spelling every time he talks up weed in the comment sections of the Seattle Times. Anyway, I've cast my ballot already, and I voted against I-502. If it's defeated, I hope someone will introduce a proposition to repeal medical marijuana.

I didn't feel like reading all that. My yes vote is simply so I can have easy access to some bud. It's the most important thing to me.
Being a Libertarian I oppose the tax on cannabis as planned for in I-205. However I am not a teabagger, or tea party members. I have not yet figured out how to use force, which is what a tax is, to build a civil society based on respect for others. If you can explain that to me I will gladly listen.

I also am a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard and realize that one of the rationales for the War on Drugs was to get new equipment and for something else to do for that branch of the government.

My main concern was developed over the years in conversation with a couple of cops I have known and that issue is not even addressed in this initiative.

I want to stop arresting everybody and anybody for using. One of the worse aspects of this prohibition is the number of younger people especially those who are male, poor and frequently a minority who get arrested and tossed into the so called juvenile justice system. Too often that system is just a trade school for developing petty criminals who will then spend the rest of their lives cycling in and out of the system. Then the only ones who benefit are the cops, the lawyers, judges and the correction employees.
Hypothetical questions:

Could a medical patient authorized to grow share his or her cannabis with a non-patient spouse once it's legalized?
What will we do about employers who terminate workers who test positive for THC?

I'm really torn about this law. I'm Latino and I want cops to reprioritize across the state. But surely we are just inviting a DEA crackdown. I feel like simple decriminalization would do the trick without opening pot stores.

Concerned yeah, trolling no. I get responses like "HAHA, the fed has you scared!" and when I say we should have the administration's open support I hear "Go suck Obama's dick! Stick it to the man! Whoo!" Right back atcha, Dom.

We don't even get to open spiffy pot lounges, what's up with that?!
Hypothetical question: If i want to drive stoned, just because I'm a selfish medical patient, why won't you let me reenact Cheech & Chong and get in fun accidents?

oh, wait, sorry.

it's time to stop wasting our tax dollars to fund the prison industry and provide them with cheap African-American labor at 47 cents an hour pay rates.
This Info Brief from the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington may be of interest to anyone who is still undecided: http://adai.uw.edu/pubs/infobriefs/ADAI-…

It provides links to a variety of resources, including this report from Harry Levine, PhD at City Univ of NY, which looks at arrest statistics for marijuana possession in our state and the very racial disparities Dominic addresses in his article above: http://www.marijuana-arrests.com/docs/24…
Great article, Dom. It won't change too many minds, because the minds that are against you are most cast in concrete -- or they're flat-out crooks, looking to protect their shady "medical marijuana" businesses by keeping it illegal in every other form.

The saddest thing to see is every one of the worst, stupidest cliches about stoners and their manner of speech and thought coming out of the woodwork.

I voted yes, and I have nothing but contempt for no voters of any persuasion.
Great job, Dominic. Looking forward to the mountain of dumb replies from concern trolls.
Great piece, Dominic.
11 -- state your case, or stop taking up space.

hey, that rhymes!
Bravo. Great piece Dom.
Legalizing pot is just going to put the black dealers out of business and if you think they'll move on to a legal job, I have a house in the CD I'd love to sell you for $1,000,000.
The issue that I have here is that legalizing marijuana won't address the social justice concerns you're espousing. Cops will find another way to profile African Americans, Latinos, and other under-privileged groups/neighborhoods. I'm not buying the "stop the racism by voting for pot" line.

@3, 5: brushing off a suggestion that this will actually cost our broke-ass state more money than it will make is what got us in budget shortfalls for 2008-2011 (and probably beyond) in the first place.
*Could a medical patient authorized to grow share his or her cannabis with a non-patient spouse once it's legalized?
-As long as the spouse does not exceed the amount of cannabis products stated in the initiative, s/he will be safe from arrest. As for the transfer itself, I'm not exactly sure, but if this is a spousal situation there are added protections regarding incrimination.

*What will we do about employers who terminate workers who test positive for THC?
-Employers can keep whatever rules they have in place regarding testing. No legal protections, though I suppose a judicial claim could be made, if the test was positive for THC metabolites but not active THC, since that is what the law would consider as intoxicated... But IANAL.
@9 The simple answer to your question would be that we'd all love to ride purple unicorns, but it's not going to happen.

For a more thoughtful answer, here is a great article for you to read:
@15 -- Get yer own opinion!
@1 "These people will continue to be arrested if I-502 passes."

Arrested by whom and for what violation? Seattle or Kent or Spokane police will have no more local, county, or state enforcement for having less than an ounce found on someone.

Did I miss something where SPD does Federal level enforcement now? What next? SPD raids your house for torrenting the latest episode of an HBO show for a Federal copyright violation? If I sell a counterfeit Gucci bag will SPD bust me for trademark violations and violation of international trade treaties with Italy?

Give me a break.
Tellin' it like it is. Thanks Dom.
@8 "Being a Libertarian I oppose the tax on cannabis as planned for in I-205."

Really? I thought that being a Libertarian you were against all taxation as a general rule. It seems odd that this specific tax is the indignity up with which you shall not put!

@8 "My main concern was developed over the years in conversation with a couple of cops I have known and that issue is not even addressed in this initiative."

It is not clear what you're going with here. Are you referencing the paragraph above, where as a Libertarian you were against giving law enforcement more gear and more things to do or were you referencing the one below, where you espoused the confused idea that legalization for those over 21 would not stop arrests or that failing to change the status for minors is somehow so bad that you should vote against something with which you agree?
Thanks for the article, Dom. You and the Stranger convinced me to vote Yes on 502 a while ago, but this is a solid encapsulation of reasons for decriminalization that I'll be forwarding on to friends and family in other states, who'll hopefully keep it in mind when similar measures eventually appear on their ballots.
Great piece. Thank you for calling out the racial disparities in the war on drugs.
The feds can't keep up now with the mushrooming dispensary trade. When 502 passes every convenience store in town will sell the stuff, and they won't have the resources to stop it. Preemption schmemption.
Great article! It would carry more oomph if you pulled out some of the profanity and refrained from using phrases like "punch in the dick!"

Food for thought...
I voted to legalize, but I just wanted to chime in that Seattle is a pretty gay-ass city itself. Don't give San Francisco all the credit!

Also man, if they legalize it, can they develop a form of it that doesn't smell? Literally the only issue I've got with stoners is that they come on the city buses and smell like rotten ass.
Your a real piece of work Dom what about the Medical patients that need cannabis to drive? what about the ridiculous taxes it will bring? There will be no legal cannabis there are no legal shops going up and no legal cannabis being grown this is all a ploy to get a DUI law in effect for cannabis and give the state all the control they want. VOTE NO ON I-502!
Someone punch @28 in the dick please.
3rd paragraph, parenthetical sentence:
I voted yes. But you know what I wish? I wish someone would get the actual blood testing equipment that police will use when they pull people over, get stoned, test it, and blog about it.

That DUI concern is the biggest concern I hear among my stoner friends, and to be honest, I haven't heard a really satisfying answer. Yes, I know that currently the legal limit is 0, but when have you ever heard of someone being tested for pot? Never. But it's reasonable to think that if this passes, lots of stoners will find themselves being tested for weed, and they have no way of knowing themselves whether or not they would pass the test. No one has ever demonstrated how long you would have to wait for the "active" THC to be out of your body.
The other big thing that no one talks about with 502 is that it will legalize growing hemp, which could be an even larger boost to the state economy than taxing pot...
I-502 exemplifies how incremental politics can win over the long run; no matter how small were the past victories, they were seen as stepping stones to the larger goal. And I'd love to see United States vs. State of Washington after I-502 passes.

That said, we must contrast the shrewd, farsighted struggle for cannabis legalization with Obamacare, which is an embarrassment, a top-down coddling of insurance corporations with a few scraps tossed at those who should be literally up in arms over our health care system. I'll take stoners and grassroots warriors over party politics any day of the year.
@33) Police don't conduct roadside blood tests, but people are currently busted for pot DUIs in Washington all the time. I wrote a long piece in March called Pot Activists vs. Pot Activists that discusses the DUI issues, including the science of active THC in the blood.
I voted yes on 502.
I do have some concern, though, that if it passes we will have shot ourselves in the foot.
At this moment, this city is better than amsterdam (for a pot head). The selection is huge and there is all kinds of innovation in medibles/topicals, etc. Prices are reasonable, and virtually anyone can get an authorization and possess "legally".
If 502 passes and the feds crackdown, the medical good old days will probably go down with the ship.

Not sure if it's been mentioned, but another reason the prison population ballooned was because Reagan shut down all of the mental hospitals. The impact of his policies cannot be understated in this situation.
We should NEVER allow the debate to become more important than THE TRUTH.

"I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast"

- Ronald Reagan, U.S. President quote on Marijuana

"When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point."

- Barack Obama, U.S. President quote on Marijuana

"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world."

- Carl Sagan quote on Marijuana

End the DEBATE.
So, what are all the black dealers going to do when legalized and cheap weed hits the market? Become productive members of society?
@37: "At this moment, this city is better than amsterdam (for a pot head)."

Read the title of this article. Then read the article again. Pot heads are special cases, and when we're talking about changes that sweep broadly enough to reach the whole of the city, the specially-interested tail shouldn't wag the dog.

"The selection is huge and there is all kinds of innovation in medibles/topicals, etc."

Market forces will continue to drive innovation - money is money. There's no reason to suspect pot consumption will decrease as a result of changes in law.

"Prices are reasonable"

Prices will go up but what is a "reasonable" price for a luxury?

"[V]irtually anyone can get an authorization and possess "legally"."

Do you consider this good?

"If 502 passes and the feds crackdown, the medical good old days will probably go down with the ship."

People who pine for the good old days typically fail, in their distraction, to see the good in the new. But things will be different, regardless of how we choose to look at it. And even if some will be worse off, which I don't question, with the new laws many more will be better off.
I'm sure all the black kids you throw out of work with legal weed run (by white business people) will appreciate your benevolence.
As soon as I saw the headline I knew that this was going to be reason that "mattered most". I hoped that it wouldn't be, but I was right.

I don't disagree, this is a good reason, but the most important? We don't live in Alabama, and the African American community in Seattle (and WA) is relatively tiny. There are plenty of people that get ensnared in the criminal justice system over pot that aren't black. Do you know what they are? Poor. That's the common denominator, you apparently can only see race, but you are blind to the real problem.

I did not grow up in the CD, I grew up in an area that was mostly white and asian. I asked the same questions, why do the cops target us and not the other kids? Because they came from wealthy families and drove expensive cars, that's why. Maybe Seattle has a racial dynamic that the rest of WA doesn't have, but problem here is one of the class, not race.

They do correlate heavily though in our criminal justice system, so I don't blame you for not noticing it.
@27 no, not every corner store is going to be selling pot. Try reading the initiative. The state will authorize stores to sell as long as they are not too close to schools, parks, other places where minors congregate, ect.

This article is a good read. It did give me a few things to think about that hadnt occured to me before. However I am certain I will still be voting no. My primary concerns are 1 for my friends who currently make money selling it outside of the medical community. You know, the drug dealers who possess more than an ounce at a time and will not have the state sponsored stamp of approval. They are still at risk of being arrested and convicted. In fact, i believe they are more likely to face prosecution once the state has a financial investment to defend. But lets face it, the state stores will be closed by 10, what is the stoner who gets off work at 11 gonna do? Call the hippy down the street selling the California bud. Sure its not WA but its weed on demand.

I like the points about challenging federal law. What i dont like is the ability of corporate manipulation if WA wins 502 and the subsequent lawsuits. What i mean is the dna mapping, patent infringement suits to corporations who buy/discover dna rights to northern lights. I worry about 10 years drom now being a criminal for growing it at all -sorta like its a crime to grow tobacco- and regulated to be weaker but more addictive with added chemicals.

If it becomes legal, dont just take your victory and smoke it away. Agriculture is a big business in this country, and weed is bigger. Those corporate white guys cant wait to get their hands on it. Check out the patents already held just waiting for the chance to make it into pharmacutic pockets and bank accounts.

Currently I-502 protects against non WA corporations from any stage of production. It also says that no producer can be invested in any processor or retailer (or any mix up of that). But a WA corporation may get involved with the manufactue and sale as long as their investment is only on one level. Business has diminishing returns, and the small time grower over taxed and over fee-ed is a victim of dimishing returns, a rich corporation with no love may be a thriver over dimishing returns. Corporations also have unlimited spending power in elections... Fuels by marijuana money they will get whatever the want in the long run.

My problem isnt that I think marijuana should be illegal, but that there is so much more potential for abuse legal than illegal.

Finally, while the cops may not be able to bust people for simple possession, that isnt going to stop them from pulling people over for driving while black. Like the author said, there is only a handful of studies on the dui limits. On one hand UW could do some studies to provide for better DUI limits, on the other hand, officers could still harass blacks who are driving and pull the "suspicious behavior" card to perform a DUI test.
Thank you so much, Dominic! This is the best analysis I've read on the rationales for and against I-502 and I plan on sharing it far and wide. At its most basic level, this is a profoundly important civil rights issue. No amount of skirting, redirecting or "concern trolling" by entitled, illiterate stoners is going to change that.

Luckily, polling is suggesting that the majority of Washingtonians are behind this, even if they don't fully grasp the extent to which their vote in favor is a vote against institutional racism. I'm incredibly excited to see the results of this vote and -like many other people here- committed to challenging the bad parts of I-502 immediately after they become law. That is how political action works.
Great article!
So you don't think police will use racial profiling when busting people for DUIs? This became a sad, sad little article the second the claim was made that 502 would make a difference in racial profiling, it wont, it easily could get worse.

This article is just more lies from the pro-502.
@32 Fixed. Thank you!
Think about the REAL consequence of all this: GOVERNMENT SHWAG! Scary!

Here in Eastern WA after the DEA raids, almost nobody has had the balls to open up a legit medical dispensary. Patient to Patient and homegrowing are still fine, but nearly every "dispensary" operates under a front business. It's pretty fucking sketchy.

What's stopping the DEA from confiscating and indimidating these new producers and retailers?

And then what will we do when people can legally get high, but can't legally obtain it? Back to square one.

I think we're rolling out too much too fast when patients who actually benefit from it still have to visit a drug dealer. Why not fill the holes in our medical laws first?
Great piece Dominic, one of your best. Shame it's probably preaching to the converted. While not everyone has considered the racial issues involved, I suspect most Stranger readers, or those who are going to vote, were already going to vote yea on 502.
The health benefits alone should be enough to get marijuana legalized. But with Big Pharma, Mexican drug cartels (that have set up shop in Nor Cal and other areas), growers, and the scores of people making a living off of criminalizing pot users, as well as any company that might feel threatened by hemp fiber, and oil being made available, legalization has been an uphill battle. Never mind the thousands of ordinary citizens who have been labled criminals. It's been a travisty. This is as closest I've seen things get ( in 62 years) to the tipping point to in our country.
@49 "Why not fill the holes in our medical laws first?"

Part of the reason that Social Security is popular is because _everyone_ has it. Medical Marijuana is a minority stakes game.

Further, the demand and normalization of pot is primarily on the recreational side, but it is widely held that some of this demand is being met by improper usage of Medical Marijuana provisions, which taints them to a greater or lesser degree in public perception.

Lastly, I-502 is on the ballot now, while your hoped for reform of Medical Marijuana is not, and honestly isn't even clearly spelled out or commonly agreed upon.

So, the question is would I-502 actually make it worse for the patients you are supposedly championing. Given not unlimited resources for the DEA, it seems like more targets would actually be a net gain.
Thank you for recognizing the role this will play regarding civil rights in Washington. Please, aside from voting (no matter which direction) this fall, I want to ask that everyone watches "The House I Live In" by Eugene Jarecki - a fantastic documentary made by an incredibly articulate man that discusses our failed war on drugs (and points out that, despite popular perception, only 14% of crack users in this country are black). This is an incredibly important issue and I will be so proud of Washington State if we can pass this bill and challenge a huge element of racism and classism that still pervades our society.
@33 The police won't use any equipment for testing, it can only be done at a medical facility (which mean if you're pulled over in the sticks, you have more time to sober up before they make the sample!). Also, some bloggers may or may not have done this already, but I don't trust the results unless they're being done under peer-reviewed, scientific conditions.
Ok, Im just going to say it. Want the police to stop profiling minorities, how about reforming and re/educating the police force. I know, it's crazy! It will never work! But legalized weed is not gonna stop police from pulling people over for driving while black and issuing DUIs that would never be issued under current law.

The white lawyers, state legeslative officials and law enforcement are laughing at this right now. DUI lawyers are planning on making BANK off if this passes. The state Senate cannot wait to exploit this to line their pockets. The police will be happy to issue extra tickets and bring more people in to the station. Why? Revenue.

Follow the money, use your brains. No law, no matter how seemingly awesome, is going to end racial profiling. Any law, no matter how awesome, can be exploited.
Excellent piece. I wavered on my position on 502 due to some of my previous 'Keep the gov out of my/our business, We got this already' thought patterns.

It is now my opinion that the only reasonable way forward is to battle the BS headlong. Take it the courts. Prohibition will be shot down because it is unconstitutional.
In trying to say similar things to the people in my friend circle who complain about I-502. The kind of bill they want will never get passed in our lifetime. There's just no way. Unless we start somewhere we'll never get to start. I want to walk into a store and buy marijuana from a person making like 10 bucks an hour who's selling it to me for the same reason I just bought a gallon of alcohol, FREEDOM. If you're standing in the way of ultimate freedoms for a freedom less than 10% of the pot smoking population pushes the limit of you're totally doing freedom wrong. I got really angry at a friend who made the taxes case, I was all, oh my fuck dude this bill make us pay for marijuana, that's crazy cause I'm voting for I-502 cause of racism. There was no more response. Like this article, I've been waiting for marijuana to be legal before I even knew what it was. I can't believe anyone who's waited as long as I have would throw out making so much progress for no other reason than being a selfish prick about such a small part of what it would mean to legalize marijuana. This article is so great in that respect, and while I'm sure you'll get less than 1% of the concern trolls to change their mind they really really need to hear this. I'm really curious after the election is over to look at the exit polls and how race plays in I-502. I want to confirm that it's white people who need to be more progressive on this issue and that every other race gets it. I really hope I'm proven right, because I will never let my friends forget their racism in the defense of keeping marijuana illegal while I toss around a half ounce of weed walking by the police station. "This is what you were fighting against" as I remind them how many pot smokers are rotting away BECAUSE OF ME. :)
Legalizing drugs takes the money away from criminals. That to me is by far the most importiant factor in this issue.

really, dominic, i applaud your desire to address civil rights in your argument for i-502, however i find some glaring and monumental issues that you seem to overlook. let me explain--in the beginning of the article, you set up the argument by talking about the 'kids'
and the racial disparities of arrests. fine. later you say, "it would allow adults to possess..." furthermore, the stats you refer to do not break down arrests by age as well as race. i believe the legal age of being an 'adult' is 18. so what about all of the 18-20 year olds that will be arrested for possessing marijuana? the ones that will be be arrested are still going to be the racial minorities. are they 'kids' or 'adults'? do you care about those young people? personally i know of some 18 year olds that have chronic pain from sports injuries and other diseases that use medical marijuana for pain relief. would you have them doped up on prescription drugs that annually kill more kids than any other cause of death? and to those that say youths who smoke pot have wasted away their years in a hazed out daze have not heard of michael phelps and other amazing people that succeeded while enjoying the benefits of medical marijuana? perhaps the persons referred to as wasting their years in a daze would have become
more hard-core criminals or have been doa due to the use of prescription drugs or methamphetamines. think about these things, folks. personally i'd way rather have my 18 year old smoke weed than use prescription drugs or alcohol, which are killers, when weed is not.
If passed no one will be able to afford medicine. This is the sheep in wolfs clothing if ever I've seen it. Who will be able to afford 1 oz or 1lb? [currently 1oz $200-$260 & 1LB $1800 - $3200] no one.. because of the 25% tax for each: producers; processors & retailers - add that up and whatta get? OH back to the Black Market era [all those dried up ex-dealers -WAKE UP GUYS -- HIGH PRICES ARE BACK!! You're in biz again!!] So voting yes will create more arrests through the guise of Suspicion of being under the influence. My friend who took 1 puff after several years of non-smoking was tested the following day [20 hours later] & tested at 40 Nanograms - 1 PUFF.. welcome to "perpetually Under The Influence" .. sad Dom you think of yourself and not about all the people you will put in jail, Label Criminal and the Families you will ruin. Thanks for your Quick to judge Yes vote - you're clearly lost! and I personally no longer support the stranger, its full of selfish folks who really don't get it! Devils in the details .. pay attention! FOLKS .. DO NOT RELY ON ME OR DOM TELLING YOU .. Go Read The Entire Initiative For Yourself!! DEVIL'S IN THE DETAILS!!
It was a great column...

until you glossed over the financials...
Dominic H. is a Hack Journalist ... old but still current - http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2012/01/att…

VOTE NO on I-502!! We need to not allow this to pass..we need everyones Vote!! Dom is wrong.. The Stranger is WRONG .. you must read this!!

- Vote NO on I-502!!

Dom shouldn't be speaking for the marijuana community when he is so diluted!

- VOTE NO! on I-502
In Colorado, we have a pot initiative, too. I am voting yes because the medical marijuana thing is a scam. Anyone who wants to smoke pot already does, and I'm OK with putting the dishonest "doctors" who write prescriptions for it out of business. For the rest of us, there will be regulation and tax revenue. Strangely, I haven't heard ANY opposition to it. I think the people who are for it are laying low to avoid drawing said opposition. The only ad I've seen for it period is a former Denver police officer giving the same line you mention here, about it freeing the police to concentrate on more serious crimes.
Totally agree with 66 and who gives a poop anyhow, it's just pot. I hate it, my friends love it, they use it responsibly. I don't think people should drive drunk, stoned or fucked up in any way but other than that..let's get the black peeps and other bogusly arrested non-violent people out of prison. Talk about a waste of tax dollars, 'welfare' doesn't even come close to what we spend to lock up and fuck up the lives of people smoking weed. Those crazy trolls are so high they can't think beyond paranoia.
Fuck SSeattle and the rest of Nazington;this state is no less racist than Dixie!(Globalism,the SSo-KKKalled War on Terror,and the KKKold War are (yes,THAT one's still on!) are basically all about expanding "White" Privilege,in case YOU didn't want to publicly acknowledge it!)Pfft!!!---http://www.blackagendareport.com
Nazingtonians want to rid this state of "Blacks" and "White" trash by only hiring the foreign-born AND destroying what little of a safety net exists for those of who aren't both racially "White" AND not Lower-Class!!! (KKKlaSS Warfare,indeed ---- http;//theyrule.net )
They say the essential point of I-502 is to force the feds to a court-room showdown;IF that happens,then who knows how long it will drag out?(Meanwhile,the "illegal" market will continue to cater to those who can't afford "legal" cannabis and adults younger than twenty one Gregorian years . . . .o.O ----> http://www.hemp.org
Interesting that the first half of your "article" focuses on minorities being unjustly targeted and prosecuted for drug possession. Yet in the second half, you fail to make any correlation when citing DUI per se limits. If cops are already racially profiling minority drivers in the poorest neighborhoods of our cities, than would officers not be more likely to do so when a new legislation is introduced making DUI prosecution easier?
This legislation is the first of its kind. But not because of its quasi efforts to decriminalize cannabis. But because in all the history of our great state's legislative efforts, no supporter of a bill has stood on the platform of "this is as good as it's going to get".
Great article. I think the most important thing this law does, as you pointed out here, is that it conflicts with federal law and as you say there will be a show down which is a good thing because we finally get our day in court and get to put our case.
Consider that prohibition this time round is not limited just to the US. This has global ramifications.
It does not matter what the concern trolls think they are losing, the rest of the world is going to see this as legalization and their jaws are going to drop to the floor, "Washington did what"? Just the fact that it is coming form Washington will be a major jaw dropper as so many people confuse the state with the capitol.
And when nations that are drowning in blood and debt as a result of this hideous nightmare see that 'America' has legalized, there will be little reason for them to continue with the charade that has cost them many of their loved ones and their economy.
Never forget that the worst poverty and conflicts in the world all center around areas that were once legitimate producers of cannabis, opium and cocaine.
Many countries are calling for reform and have edged as close as they dare to it, without actually doing it for fear of economic sanctions but if I 502 passes there will be little reason to hold back.
The result will be that they will just legalize and prohibition will fall like the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union.
The Marijuana Spring.
Once that happens federal and international laws will literally be rendered null and void and its all over.
Then the trolls if they were sincere at all about their concerns will be able to put their concerns on the tables for discussion and everyone will be free to form new laws the feel more appropriate.
Personally I am all for complete legalization of 'the safest therapeutically active substance known to man' Judge Francis Young.
But I recognize that that the only way through this minefield is with small calculated steps.
Thank you people of Washington and activists who have taken us to this point.
Your efforts will save many lives and restore order to the world economy.
And once we are over this hurdle we will be able to return the cannabis plant to its rightful place as one of the worlds major plant species and one of the most important plants to civilization.
I hope too that we will also be able to put on trial the people responsible for prohibition.
They knew they were violating people's rights for the sake of their own profit and power.
Yes on I 502.
War is Over!
@63 and @65 - Is this Dominic with a sock puppet? Because this is too silly to be real.

"Dom shouldn't be speaking for the marijuana community when he is so diluted!"

Yeah Dom, why can't you concentrate!
"...That battle is strategic, it's overdue, and it's the goal. And in the meantime, the new state law allowing people to possess marijuana will be what's enforced locally. So we have our cake and eat it, too...."

Boy, are you going to look stupid if this passes and the Feds get an injuction that will keep it from going into effect until it goes through the Courts.

You don't need to be a concern troll to see the obvious, provided you actually understand what the Feds can and cannot do here.

Will it ultimately prevail? Maybe? But you are bringing a knife to a gunfight so far...
NaFun = Stranger Troll... look at his previous comments - definitely out of touch, NaFun's opinion = Moot

Vote NO on I-502!
Unless you wanna give up your 5th Amendment Right by voting Yes.

I am a supporter of Marijuana, however I can't see why we would throw ourselves under the bus to give this a chance. I am sickened by this as you see people who Hate Pot are voting Yes [red flag folks] and people who appreciate what we currently have and know there is need for change, but not this change, are voting NO. ... The devils pitted us against each other and has diluted the vision of some. The best thing any one could do that hasn't yet voted is to READ THE Initiative Yourself!! Read the current law..

VOTE NO on I-502!!
Why was Marijuana illegal to possess after 1933? - Oh because it was TAXED so High that No One would be able to afford to legally possess it!

--And What Drug Cartels are "controlling all the money"

--Why have the State Liquor Control Board oversee everything? They know Alcohol and Nothing about Cannabis! Why not have specialists in the field be the ones to oversee the Cannabis Industry?
am i voting to legalize pot or am i voting to save black people from going to jail????? ps i am white and spent 4 months in jail for smoke!!
thank you. very informative and helpful for me. Look forward to your next article.

I voted no.

Your main thesis here is wrong b/c car stops will now be deweys and the rest will go from possession the resisting arrest. And if u have a g over an ounce ur going to jail anyway. Sharing a joint with ur friend? The cops will bust u for delivery. Marijuana will still be treated as illegal by cops and onlyin some cases will this law matter.

Wa will never be selling pot through this licensing scheme. Won't happen. Ever.

On the other hand the dea could say adios med clinics.

At that point we crushed the gains we've been able to eek out in places like seattle the feds are semi leaving alone.
The opponents' concern about the increase in marijuana DUIs seems a bit overblown. First, only idiots are making the argument that some people need to be stoned to drive (see #30 above - arguing for "medical patients who need cannabis to drive"). If you need to take marijuana in order to drive, you shouldn't be driving.

Second, opponents fail to take into account the logistics for a police officer in MJ DUIs. In a run-of-the-mill alcohol DUI, an officer observes suspicious driving (swerving, weaving, etc.), pulls the car over, smells booze on the driver, asks for the driver to take Field Sobriety Tests, and frequently also take a Portable Breath Test (a field reading breath test). With a solid DUI, the cop has made observations on all of these parts (poor driving, driver smells like booze, slurs speech, can't complete the field tests without falling over, PBT reading above .08, etc.). It is the totality of the observations that leads to a basis for arrest.

In a MJ DUI, an officer can make all the same observations (bad driving, inability to perform field tests, odor of MJ). However, there is no available portable field test for MJ. MJ testing can only be done by blood draw and blood testing. So the officer has to decide whether to make an arrest in order to pursue a blood draw, or whether to let the person go for lack of probable cause. Because there is no portable method to obtain an MJ reading, it will actually be harder for police to find probable cause to make an arrest. And if an officer has all of these other grounds to support a conclusion of impairment (bad driving, etc.), well, the person gets arrested. Doesn't seem to outrageous to me. The only thing different from where things stand now is that there is an actual number set as the point of legal impairment.

The threat of a sudden onslaught of MJ DUIs is simply overblown. I don't know why opponents have chosen that as the red herring to base their opposition on. To my mind, it does not come close to outweighing the many, many reasons it would be good to pass this law.
#33,36,76: You are a total tit. Lots of SCREAMING ALL CAPS and exclamation points (!!!!!) don't make your case more convincing, they just make you look like the hysterical ball bag you are.

When I read about all you pro-pot folks that are voting no, it makes my stomach turn. I voted absentee and happily penned in the "yes" bubble on this. All of your kevetching and equivicating doesn't change the fact that this is a chance to make history, and I think most of you are too baked to actually see it. Or just selfish, greedy, or more likely: Dumb.

Vote yes. Anything else is some shameful shit.
I don't care who you are voting for or what issues you support. Please, please, please put a stamp on your ballot and mail it in as soon as possible or leave it in the election drop box. If everyone waits until the very last minute to mail in their ballots then we won't know who won any of these races that we care so much about for many days after the election. Please do your part to save us all the headache of wondering whether I-502 or R-74 passed or not and vote tomorrow if you haven't voted already and get everyone you know to vote early too. The mail takes several days to deliver a ballot and there is absolutely no reason to wait until November to vote. Thanks!
I don't care who you are voting for or what issues you support. Please, please, please put a stamp on your ballot and mail it in as soon as possible or leave it in the election drop box. If everyone waits until the very last minute to mail in their ballots then we won't know who won any of these races that we care so much about for many days after the election. Please do your part to save us all the headache of wondering whether I-502 or R-74 passed or not on election day and vote by the end of the week if you haven't voted already. Get everyone you know to vote early too. There is absolutely no reason to wait until November 6. Thanks!
And you people have audacity to call Southerners racists? When you have thin black and brown populations and you incarcerate them like slaves? FU, Seattle. YOU people are the true racists. The reporter's stats clearly show how RACIST you jerks are. Now be good little honkies and vote down the legalization of a naturally growing weed and make sure you racists vote for a Bain Capital administration too. FU, from Texas.
Thank ya for writing these facts, speaking truth to power, and holding the Hemp-Fest Organizers and Access-Point owners responsible for their selfish thinking. I am an MMJ patient, and I voted for 502 based solely on fighting social-injustice and racism. Ending a tool that police have that enforces racial-inequality is the most important thing to me.
There is no legal or scientific standard for a person to be “too stoned to drive” based on the THC levels in one’s bloodstream. There are numerous studies, however, that say there is almost no correlation between the use of marijuana and driving ability.

The levels of THC and its metabolites in your blood depend on how much and how often you use marijuana. --There is no set formula.--

If you are a heavy user, you can have high levels THC as much as 12 hours afteruse. The NHTSA and leading scientific studies have stated that it is impossible to determine whether someone was using marijuana at or near the time of driving based on the presence of THC in the blood.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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