Pot Activists vs. Pot Activists

Initiative 502 would legalize marijuana for all adults—and it’s not conservatives or cops leading the charge to stop it. It’s pot activists. Inside the progressive left’s war with itself.

Comments

1
5ng/ml... 10ng/ml... I don't know what the exact right limit is, but it's certainly not infinity (nor is it 0). This is way better than the status quo. Vote yes.
2
1. OMG, longest article ever. I feel like I deserve a medal.
2. Voting yes. I know "medical marijuana" patients who do not need the drug, who abuse it, who are addicted -- and I want them to have to pay more for weed. Hopefully making it more expensive will encourage them to consume less.
3. Tougher law enforcement on high people on the road? Yes please. This bill makes sense. As for the dispensary guy who was complaining about 5ng/ml, the samples he took were probably from potheads (yes, med mar patients) who smoke all damn day. Of course they'll be over.
3
Great article, Dominic! But I have to clarify two things for my own peace of mind:

You wrote: “They are also misreading the court rulings, says Yakima attorney Newhouse. As it stands, Washington State effectively has a zero-tolerance policy for any THC in the blood. As Newhouse explains it, having represented 5 to 10 marijuana DUI cases per year, any THC in the blood is typically used by a judge or jury as sufficient evidence for a conviction.”

Actually, any active THC in the blood PLUS the testimony of a professional witness such as an officer usually is enough for a conviction.

You also included the following: “But while the criticism that pot patients and regular pot users will be arrested en masse for DUIs doesn't seem to pan out, critics of I-502 make an excellent point about drivers under 21. I-502 would establish zero tolerance for any THC in drivers under 21. ‘Drivers in this age bracket will be guilty of DUI if even the smallest amount of cannabis is found in their system,’ says the Patients Against I-502 website. In a worst-case scenario, they speculate, ‘a designated driver subjected to secondhand cannabis smoke would be held criminally liable for the activities of others.’”

If a driver under 21 tests positive for under 5ng active THC but shows no signs of impairment, they cannot be charged with DUI. However, they can be charged with a misdemeanor. And the amount of effort it would take to test positive for Active THC from mere exposure to secondhand smoke before driving is quite substantial.
4
But when asked by The Stranger to disclose details of his findings, Mobley declined to share his research or to comment on it.

Happily, you'll find some of his results, along with a fair assessment of the science and politics surrounding this issue, in The Seattle Weekly.

Mobley tested 3 patients for the purposes of that article. 1 of them had 11ng THC levels 11 hours after smoking the previous night. None of them showed any signs of impairment.
5
thank you seandr for posting that as clearly dominic can not and will nto give a fair assessment of this issue.

and jonnah no limit is correct that takes away our ability to have a trial that is fair and just.
6
VOTE NO on I-502! This is the wrong wording for this time around.. Patients lose out, big biz marches in.. and alot of people slapped w DUI's. its a NO NO NO.
7
absolutely hempfester! we can do better than an initiative that quote/unquote legalizes an ounce yet still lets LEOs nail cannabis folk with a felony for passing a joint to a friend.
8
the more i reed Stranger articles on i.502 i cant help but thank that the stranger is funded by them because how bias these articles are is crazzzzzzzzy! the seattle weekly did a much more unbiased feature and the stranger should be ashamed.
9
In response to John Mkay and parts of this article that try to make the assumption that I-502 will in anyway help end the black market or Mexican cartels:

If it's "legal" to possess an ounce of cannabis, yet there will be absolutely no legal markets (due to federal preemption), and with growing even a single plant being still illegal, where do you think the average recreational cannabis consumer is going to purchase their ounce? The black market of course.
10
I-502 is not full legalization. Not even close. The federal challenge is also not going to happen:
https://sensiblewashington.org/blog/sens…

Personally, decrim on steroids is not enough to convince me to surrender my right to dispute my lack of impairment in court.  It will be legal when I can pass a joint without committing a felony.

In the meantime I intend to fight ONDCP-supported policies on "drugged driving." Fatal accidents go down in medical marijuana states because cannabis is a safer alternative to alcohol.
11
Correcting Dom-

I'm not an attorney, I am a physician and researcher. I shy away from speaking about all the additional negative issues surrounding i502 other than the per se provision, but this legal clarification about Dom's assertions were forwarded from our advisory committee's lawyers and the corrections need to be noted.

"In the article Dom foolishly says that with the 5 ng limit, anyone who registers below that wouldn't be convicted under the new proposed 502 law. Wrong! Even if yr breath alcohol limit is below .08 now you can still be convicted under the "under the influence" prong of the dwi statute (which is used by pros. For those who refuse the breath test) even though you won't be convicted under the " pro se" prong.

Of course if 502 passes, and you have more than 5 ng in yr system you will likely be convicted whereas right now, if you exceed 5 ng. They can only convict you if they prove you are "under the influence."

Hope that helps.

Respectfully,

Gil Mobley, MD
No on i502
12
Dr Mobley needs to publish his peer-reviewed research instead of recounting anecdotal evidence to the Seattle Weekly and here via comments (but not going on the record for the article) ad nauseam. That's how science works, isn't it?
13
@11 I'd like to know if this is true "But when asked by The Stranger to disclose details of his findings, Mobley declined to share his research or to comment on it." Why wouldn't you comment when asked, Dr Mobley?
14
@4 and @5 Even the Seattle Weekly wasn't convinced by Dr Mobley.

"Though hardly definitive proof that a 5-nanogram blood limit would jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of medical-marijuana patients, Mobley insists that these results indicate that folks like Bigelow will have a tough time ever getting their blood levels down to a level that isn't incriminating."

So instead of published, peer-reviewed research, we get Dr Mobley's "insistence" that it's true. If that's how we made scientific findings, then we would all still think the world was flat.
15
vote no!, vote no!, vote no!

dont pass this initiative 502, vote no! research more than 3 pot users, at least 30-100 should be tested, immediately 6, 12, 24, and 48 hours after use to prove, 5ng is not a valid measure of impairment! this is not valid science, and should not be made into law!!!

vote no!, vote no!, vote no!, vote no!
16
Voting yes, because all the anti-502 evidence trotted out so far has been pseudoscience, anecdote, and ignorance of the existing law on the books.
17
Without probable cause, people can't be tested or arrested. That is true. We know cops don't lie, we knowthey don't make up details in their police reports to bolster their case. I feel completely safe now. I am sure that is not wishful thinking.
The 5 mg referred to refers to "some evidence of impairment". Hoe much ? We don't know. More or less than impairment tuning the car radio? We don't know. Does the 5 ng impairment refer to regular smokers, the people who wrote the studies says "no".
502 requires no evidence of impairment. It is strict liability based on 5 ng, no matter who you are. If the cop smaells it, you are getting tested. What will your blood level be just after smoking? About 16ng to 18ng. How long should you wait for that to get below 5 ng ? 2 hours to 1 day, according to the studies Holden cites.
18
Vote YES! The medical pot dispensary owners who form the heart of the opposition to 502 should be ashamed of themselves--their motivation is purely selfish and is based on nothing but greed.

And false positives, for folks who have active THC blood levels that exceed the limit? Sounds like a pure scare tactic--unless you've given the cops some indication that you're driving under the influence, the risks of a miscarriage of justice to a person who is not impaired but who tests above the allowable limit are miniscule compared to the demonstrable harm done to recreational smokers who are arrested under current law.

The principle of the greatest good for the greatest number of people argues strongly for Washington voters to vote YES on initiative 502!
19
For those who need some more input ... go out to the Northwest Leaf and check out the small article in last months issue. Also if you can get your hands on this months issue there is a more in depth article as well. When "Access Points" close .. there will be legit patients with out their medicine...basically dying or in pain.. I don't want that on my conscience that my vote denied these people access to meds.

http://www.thenorthwestleaf.com/issues/ page 10
20
Hey Hempfester, as a staunch opponent of Initiative 502 I want to correct you on the statement that medical cannabis access points will shutdown. Besides the unscientific, unwanted and arguably unconstitutional per se DUID law that will effect patients and non-patients alike, I-502 does nothing to effect, alter or remove any protection that our medical cannabis law provides for qualifying patients.
21
@19: Hah, The "let's call something we imagined a 'fact' and hope nobody ever calls us on it" Northwest Leaf.

I don't read their magazine, but what they've posted here has been less than impressive.
22
Anthony... go over to Northwest Leaf.. read page 10 of last months issue, 1st sentence. I believe it says "eliminate access points"... so go read more.
I stand by what I said.. VOTE NO NO NO on I-502
23
and... No - I wont feed the Trolls.
24
How about you pass the damn initiative and end thousands of marijuana arrests (the big deal) first. Then you go to the legislature and work on the impairment standards (the little deal) after you've done that.
Also, the initiative isn't perfect, but so what? You don't always get everything you want. In fact, you never do. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
25
As a recreational marijuana user, my first concern is that I not be arrested for using a substance safer than alcohol. Out of an abundance of caution, and respect for my fellow man, I don't plan on driving if there's any risk that there's active THC in my bloodstream. Even if that means waiting days.
If the driving standard needs work - and I agree that it's problematic - I'll pass the initiative now and work on the driving standard in the legislature later. My first concern is that police not be able to lock me or anyone else in a cage just for using a substance safer than alcohol. Opposing an initiative that move the ball 90%, but not 100% toward the goal is not the way rational people act.
Besides, you can't always get what you want. In fact, you never do. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
26
I-502 represents a quantum leap in how Americans approach cannabis, making opposition motives very suspect.

Pardon me. What I meant to say is opposition is absofuckinglutely insane: I-502 can be the biggest FAIL handed to the drug warriors in generations. There must be some kind of passive-aggressive Stockholm Syndrome at work in the opposition...or just shortsighted greed.

Vote yes, yes, yes, and MMJ patients need to ramp up their game and refuse to buy their medicine at anti-502 dispensaries.
27
@19: "When "Access Points" close"

Stop pushing bullshit. As per NORML: "qualified patients already protected under existing law will be able to continue to grow cannabis, as I-502 does not alter existing medicinal cannabis laws."
28
Hey Hempfester, I read the article but the Northwest Leaf is incorrect on their assertion with this particular issue.

However, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to oppose it, so I concur profusely with NO on I-502.
29
@6

You really think big business will march in? Who do you think patients against i-502 are? The people making millions by selling something they label as mmj when half of them dont even register with the secretary of state so none of them pay any taxes at all. The fact is patients should be for it because it will mean these multi million dollar operations will have to play on a more level playing field with the smaller legit collectives. If you don't think half of the operations around the sound are multi million dollar operations guess again, in THURSTON COUNTY cannabis outreach services is being charged from the DEA raids last year. They are being charged because while they claim to be a collective garden "access point" they were significantly over the collective garden limit, which is 4.5 pounds. They had 22 pounds, even at wholesale thats at least $60,000 (and more then likely it didnt come from one buy so they may have paid up to $80-90,000 for it all). None of these stores usually can keep a strain in for more then a week so more then likely that was a weeks worth, for a small collective garden that was in Lacey. Lacey, not Seattle. Think about it...
30
Seriously, folks. If you have to lie repeatedly to make your "point", you're going to turn sensible people off and come off as culties. Make sure I-502 actually says what you're claiming it does before you forward rumors as fact.
31
No on I502

In 2011 Gallup reported, for the first time, that a majority of Americans now support full legalization. NORML has never really supported this which is why they are so desparate: hoping to fill their NORML attorneys offices with Cannabis Consumers with negligable amounts of THC in their system.

The Gallup polsters also predicted that support for full legalization will on grow in coming years: at the rate of 2 to 4 percent each successive year. So the question becomes why would we settle for a few scraps when we now deserve the full feast: Untaxed, Unregulated, Uncontrolled self cultivation by adults?

In 2010 I helped assemble a group of some of the most seasoned activists to defeat Prop19 and we succeeded. So it will be with this. Please waste all the money you wish on this "white elephant" because it is going down to defeat in November.

New Candidate for 2012 Presidency wants a "Green Economy" Based on Marijuana
http://www.newagecitizen.com/MERP/Relega…
32
This is a capitulation from the enemy ,& the stoopid stoners want to continue with the slave system...if only they still taught the gravitas of Logic & Critical Thinking in the hemp movement--Jack Herer was an idiot on these subjects.
33
No on I502

In 2011 Gallup reported, for the first time, that a majority of Americans now support full legalization. NORML has never really supported this which is why they are so desparate: hoping to fill their NORML attorneys offices with Cannabis Consumers with negligable amounts of THC in their system.

The Gallup polsters also predicted that support for full legalization will on grow in coming years: at the rate of 2 to 4 percent each successive year. So the question becomes why would we settle for a few scraps when we now deserve the full feast: Untaxed, Unregulated, Uncontrolled self cultivation by adults?

In 2010 I helped assemble a group of some of the most seasoned activists to defeat Prop19 and we succeeded. So it will be with this. Please waste all the money you wish on this "white elephant" because it is going down to defeat in November.

New Candidate for 2012 Presidency wants a "Green Economy" Based on Marijuana
http://www.newagecitizen.com/MERP/Relega…
34
If these people actually gave a damn about patients they'd be knocking on doors begging voters to pass I-502 right now. Think about how cheap and easy it is to get alcohol, then think about all the hoops you have to jump through and red tape you have to cut to be able to get medical marijuana legally, not to mention having to pay through the nose (to the people in this article opposing I-502) to get it.

The truth is, they don't give a damn about sick people. Medical marijuana has created a robust industry that they're doing a nice job profiting on. They don't want I-502 to pass because they know patients wouldn't need to rely on them anymore, and could get their medicine cheaper and easier without them.

If marijuana really was treated like any other medicine, people like Michael Lick would be out of business b/c it would be distributed through pharmacies like any other medicine. These people don't want it treated like medicine, and they don't want it treated like alcohol. They want it treated like something they can make money off of.

Their opposition is based on equal parts greed and unrealistic political expectations.
35
http://newapproachwa.org/sites/newapproa…

Read this for yourself..make your own conclusion and do not let the Stranger Forum Trolls cloud this issue. When you see the changes to be made, and what they entail, the loss and costs, ask yourself is it worth it?

VOTE NO NO NO on I-502 keep patient access to med's without making them pay even more...
36
No where in this article was the issue of where this "legal" pot would come from ever truely explored. I expected the author to address this question in more detail. What are the laws on growing your own marijuana in the context of this bill? If this bill says that you may grow marijuana but never posses more than an ounce than that adds a whole new element to the questionable legititimacy of this bill. No one grows marijuana an ounce at a time, how horribly inefficent; remember we are also in an age of trying to conserve resourses, and I believe power would fall neatly into that catagory. Oh I see, in the end you want me to realize that growing my own marijuana, adhering to the parameters that you set forth is actually more expensive than buying it. From, let me guess, You right. In my opinion one of the reasons that Prop 19 didn't pass in California was in part due to this issue. They were going to allow citizens to grow their own marijuana, but only a three foot by three foot garden space. That's like saying you can brew your own beer, but never posses more than a twelve pack. Robert Lee the co-author/promoter of Prop 19 was going to be running several "super grows" I think they called them. These grows sites were projected to produce something ridiculous like 100 pounds a day. Effectively making Robert Lee the most profitable drug dealer of legal marijuana in California. These bills are not about the fight against the conservatives who would have all the "potheads" condemned and sentenced to jail time. This is about money, tax revenue, and turning marijuana into just another product that can marketed and controled at their whim, which we all know is greed.
37
@bcainw: people who support "legalizing marijuana" support making it about as legal as alcohol. If you told them it would be your "Untaxed, Unregulated, Uncontrolled" libertarian wet dream, you'd have about 10% support, not 50.

Seriously, you can't even get people to support untaxed, unregulated, uncontrolled alcohol, which half of Americans use regularly and is backed by a multi-billion dollar lobby. What in God's name makes you think people would want that for marijuana, which is used by less than 10% of adults on a regular basis and has the backing of 3-4 rich people?

I smoke pot and even I don't want it unregulated. My kid shouldn't be able to smoke it legally, and frankly, I want the FDA regulating growers to make sure it's pesticide/mold free and labeled truthfully for purity and potency.
38
Danno.. you hit it on the nail head in the end of your post.. some Collectives have already begun to check for efficacy i.e. molds, mildews, pesticides/herbicides etc.. these people are on the forefront of the industry and are trying to make a standard that would display the lab results per stand and are far ahead of the FDA currently. You should be able to tell whats in your cannabis just like you know whats in your soft drink.
39
I've said it before here, I'll say it again. The road to progress is often blocked by those demanding perfection.

Vote yes. If 502 fails, it'll be 10 years before a similar opportunity comes around. Of course, that's probably just fine for the for-profit medical industry.
40
We shouldn't be so apt to move forward when the end result will be 3 steps back.. if it doesn't pass this year, it means they go back and re-write it and try again. I rather stick with whats working now than mess it up and go back 10yrs in time. I hope that gives you Sumthin'..
41
@40 - 10000 arrests a year is not "working now".
42
@35: i'd rather listen to a "troll" than someone unconcerned with and unrepentantly spreading untruth. @36: Medical patients will still be allowed to grow but this doesn't yet allow home growers.
43
The really sad thing is, I'm sure most of the people posting nonsense about DUIs etc in this thread actually believe what they're saying. Because for the last several months, their medical providers (pot docs and dispensary operators) have been using their position as a medical authority to brainwash patients into advocating and voting against their own best interests. I've stopped shopping (yes, it's shopping) at several of my favorite dispensaries for this reason. Plus, the paranoia and knee-jerk distrust of authority just kind of comes with the pot smoking crowd (you know it's true) so this story about cops and the "mainstream" ACLU conspiring to crack down on patients appeals to them immediately.

The people driving this thing know it's BS, and are motivated by profit, but many of the people we're wasting our time arguing with in this thread don't know any better - they just trust the people profiting from them to tell them the truth.
44
What a great one from you. Your A game is so damn good!
45
If I-502 doesn't pass this year, it'll be at least 4 years until something else can pass. In that time, I very well might be arrested. Tens of thousands of other Washingtonians will be arrested, and at the current rate, tens of thousands of people will be murdered by drug cartels. An imperfect DUID standard is not unacceptable; tens of thousands of people dead or behind bars is unacceptable. Vote yes.

"I rather stick with whats working now..." Excuse me? What we have now isn't working. I'm not sick - I'm a recreational cannabis user, and I don't deserve to go to jail for that. I could right now, I won't if I-502 passes. I'll also have properly regulated stores at which to purchase safe marijuana labeled for purity and potency as opposed to having to buy a clear bag of who-knows-what from a totally unregulated drug dealer. If it means I have to wait a day - even two or three days - to drive afterwards, so be it.

And if the feds try to stop us, so what? Even if they succeed, so what? At least we will have furthered the conversation and brought our country closer to ending marijuana prohibition.

If you're voting no on I-502, you're voting to put marijuana smokers behind bars. Shame on you.
46
Throwing the under 21s under the bus? Making it easier for them to get drug convictions and priors that bar them from all kinds of federal student aid? Not for me.

No on 502.
47
Good 'ol Sensible Washington, clinging to your unproven fear mongering campaign. I am a patient who will be voting YES on I-502.
48
Fuck your Privileged children and their special loophole. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly.
49
A bit long winded but a great read. Thanks for enlightening us on the new initiative!
50
Because I work in the commercial construction industry I will NEVER be able to smoke pot, medical or recreational, the testing and insurance industry makes too much money regulating my urine. If you have noticed the growth of ad space in the Weekly and Stranger you will also notice the trending toward medical pot distributors in the narrow subculture of alt journalism and art house people. For the rest of us, this all seems a storm in a teacup. As long as law enforcement can use pot busts as a leverage tool to negotiate plea bargains and search warrants, the 40,000 arrests are just going to be the cost of doing business in WA state, no matter what law you pass regulating pot. Ditto with the vast testing and workplace regulations crowd who want a club to beat their workforce into compliance, that said, keep passing more legalization laws, sooner or later all these control freaks will just get old and die, right?
51
I predict two practical outcomes of a successful yes vote on I-502:

- The state will stop arresting and prosecuting most marijuana-related activities, especially usage.
- The federal government will prevent any of those other things like licensed sales from happening.

If there is a reason for medical patients to be against the initiative, I don't think it's for DUIs. I think it's that latter item. If trying to legitimize sales (versus just simply removing any state laws against them) causes the feds to intervene a lot more than what they currently do, then medical dispensaries are likely to be spillover victims of that.

Personally, I think the licensing portion of the initiative was a mistake, and needlessly provocative. However, I am supportive of at least removing state penalties. As for the under 21 crowd? I think the penalties for them should not be any more severe than what they'd get for alcohol use (if even that). But the penalties for pot use for them are already bad.

I see this as an incremental improvement overall, even with the known caveats, and thus will be voting in support of I-502.
52
@48, You obviously didn't get it, I am PRO I-502 and believe there should be driving restrictions.
53
Awesome article. Well done!
54
tl;dr... The biggest thing that stuck in my head was that 0.08 for Alcohol. Washington State is a No Tolerance State. That's where I was screwed. One shot, driving, etc. I blew 0.06 and after 15 minutes 0.042. No, I shouldn't have driven after one shot, my bad, but this legislation sounds just as bad.

I hate the idea that a Judge can look at the evidence and toss it aside to make their own decision.

vote no on I-502.
55
the pot growers are definitely against legalized pot. my brother grew about 6 pounds of legal medical marijuana (way more than he could possibly use) he complained that there was so much competition that wholesale prices reduced his potential gross from $12,000 to $9,000 or less--extra income he needed to supplement his disability income because he has pancreatic cancer and can't work.
56
had to register and lost my comment. won't be back. this site registration is bs, or should be linked to google account, twitter, facebook instead of the time wasting registration. so long
57
I spoke with someone who worked at a medical dispensary. He said that the "patients" were charged something like $3000 per quarter for their "dose".

That's tough cash to give...!
58
I give up....NORML has published an article claiming that Jeffrey Steinborn, a NORML board member, is supporting I-502 and you insist that he's part of Patients Against 502 that's opposing it. Which is it? Since Dominic has close ties, maybe he can get us a straight answer.

Maybe Mr. Steinborn can give us a clear answer.

Steve Sarich
59
There's a part of the left that's not progressive?
60
As for Dr. Gil Mobley, he's a self-promoter and a carpet bagger. He originally hails from Missouri and came to Seattle a couple years ago when dispensaries started to flourish to take part (cash in) on the new industry.

Here's an article from two years ago: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/2010022…

"Dr. Gil Mobley attended the Snohomish County trial to get a sense of how these cases are being prosecuted. Mobley, who runs a medical office in Missouri, plans to open a Seattle clinic specializing in marijuana treatment."

I recognized his name because he came and looked at a room in my house before he moved to Seattle. He freely admitted that he came from Missouri and only planned to spend half the week in Seattle, commuting back to Missouri to tend to his other clinic. His interest in this case is presumably the same as his interest in having a practice in Washington: money.
61
I think it's insane that Washington liberals are having this debate. Dispensaries are just keeping the product illegal to justify charging an arm and a leg for it.

One report advance of Prop 19 predicted that legalization would have lowered the cost of pot by 80% (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/20…).

That's a lot of air sucked out of drug cartels and a lot of profit sucked out of dispensaries. As someone hoping for legalization in CA post-haste, I hope Washington passes I-502.

$38 dollars for an ounce?! You're all crazy if you don't pass this thing. Medical patients could take a lot of fucking CABS if you cut their medical expenses EIGHTY FUCKING PERCENT!
62
What a ridiculous analysis of Gil Mobley. I'm in no way connected with Dr. Mobley in any way and I can tell you that his interest is not in the money to be made by flying back and forth from Missouri to see a few medical cannabis patients.

Gill and I don't always agree, but it's certainly got nothing to do with his ethics. This is just one more attempt by the 502 folks to discredit ANYONE who disagrees with them, even a well-repected doctor.

His interest in the case was probably the same as mine....how to best defend our patients when they go to court, as opposed to those who write recommendations for patients and couldn't care less about what happens to them if they find themselves in the position of having to defend themselves without the help of their recommending physician.

Your "presumptions" that he is a "carpet bagger" and "self-promoter" seem to be based soley on your experience that he looked at a room in your house and that he wanted to commute from his practice in Missouri (which he currently does....without renting a room from you)?

Now THAT is a real leap of logic....bordering on slander.

I'll concede that there are some unscrupulous folks writing medical cannabis recommendations, but Gil Mobley is not one of them. You're obviously just targeting him for his stand against I-502 and his efforts to actually protect patients.

I hope you find someone to rent that room. I hope you don't post slanderous articles on the internet about anyone who (wisely) decides not to live in the same house with you.

Steve Sarich
CannaCare
63
To "Crasher"....

I know you probably don't read a lot, but I'd LOVE to know where you got the idea (assuming you can remember) that I-502 was going to get ANYONE $38 an ounce pot. Under 502 we're all looking at $600-$700 an ounce. NOW who's crazy? Still like 502?

Even the sponsors of this bill can explain to "Crasher" that his dreams of $38 an ounce pot are just not going to materialize. Just the tax on Crasher's ounce will be over $200 an ounce.

Sorry to "Crash" your fantasy, bud.
64
The Westword's pot critic in Denver did one of these blood tests supposedly after not smoking for twelve hours and came up way, way over the limit. Helped to kill the limit they were trying to pass in our legislature. It's possible he was lying for his own reasons I guess but it also seems possible that heavy users (which medical users generally are) will be over the limit on a routine basis. It just sort of makes sense. If I'm living in horrible pain, and I smoke a lot, smoking a bowl isn't going to do the same thing to me that it does to a high schooler who smokes on the weekends.

As a patient with a serious chronic pain condition, I probably do end up with more than that in my blood routinely. I'd much prefer a standard based on impairment rather than on a blood test without much information available either way. However, I still support this kind of change. To me I'd rather have legalisation and take precautions to not get pulled over (taking the bus, getting rides, whatever) than have people get sent to jail for possession.
65
Here's the article about Denver's pot critic: http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/201…
66
@62, 63 the lady doth protest too much, methinks. you claim you're not connected to Dr. Mobley but you also claim to know him personally. so you're a fellow doctor, supporter of his cause, and you're writing on his behalf. sounds kinda connected to me.

regardless, i stand behind my assertion (which is admittedly based on personal judgement rather than hard evidence). what kind of person would travel from missouri to seattle and back every week? i find it hard to believe that he would do so just out of his love for medical marijuana patients. why doesn't he just move out here and actually be part of the community he advocates for?

no, i believe he is probably making a solid wage seeing patients and writing prescriptions and he dislikes the idea of this going away once people don't have to see a doctor to legally smoke weed. perhaps this applies to you, too? why don't you produce some studies or reports that back up your scare claims about a price spike? besides, i don't know any real pot smokers that would expect to buy an oz for thirty bucks. divide that oz by eight and there's your going rate on the street.
67
No on I-502.
Here's why- there is a cultural bias against marijuana, mostly due to decades of the drug wars and reefer madness propaganda. Thus, if you are arrested for pot DUI, regardless of the blood-level, I can assure you that most judges and juries (non-smokers) will throw the book at you out of shear ignorance about what pot smoking is and how it *actually* affects the user. There will be no fair trials in pot DUI cases, unless perhaps you live in Seattle, and a probable 95-100% conviction rate.
All the rest of this discussion is noise, unless one is inclined to trust the judicial system re: pot smoking and fair arrests and trials.
Vote no on I-502.
68
@31 "In 2010 I helped assemble a group of some of the most seasoned activists to defeat Prop19 and we succeeded."

And in doing so I'm sure you earned the undying gratitude of Gil Kerlikowske, Robert DuPont, Pastor Ron Allen, Steve Cooley the drug cartels, marijuana profiteers, the alcohol industry, the prison industry, law enforcement...well you get the point.

A tree by is recognized by its fruit.
69
I am just amazed at how bad the "No on I-502" arguments are. Cracked says "Throwing the under 21s under the bus? Making it easier for them to get drug convictions and priors that bar them from all kinds of federal student aid? Not for me." Well then, you must not support the status quo where MARIJUANA IS ILLEGAL FOR PEOPLE UNDER 21. People under 21 get drug convictions that deny them student aid now. If you don't think kids under 21 should get drug convictions, then you should do something to help end marijuana prohibition, like supporting I-502.

Steve Sarich says pot will be $600-700/ounce if this passes. He doesn't offer any evidence or analysis for that of course because he's making it up. That or he's not familiar with even the most rudimentary concepts of economics and taxation. Marijuana costs about $20/ounce to produce, but is currently priced at $400/ounce because the people growing and selling it are risking prison, so they can and do charge you a risk premium. If marijuana was legal, it would be significantly less because you wouldn't have to pay someone thousands of dollars to risk arrest to transport it - you would just have to pay a reasonable wage and the price of gas. Sure, once it's legal, it'll be taxed like crazy, but not more than the current street price, otherwise we'd be creating a thriving black market which would lower tax revenue and, more importantly, defeat the whole point of legalization which is to undercut the black market.

More than anything, I just feel sorry for those of your who have been duped into opposing this initiative so that people like Lick, Mobley, and Sarich can continue lining their pockets with your money. If it does fail, I hope you're arrested for possession of less than an ounce the next day.
70
Wasn't Muraco (person in main picture) involved in some ridiculous battle with other dispensaries a couple years ago? Hacking into others sites and such? (quick google source, many more out there: http://cdc.coop/greenbuddha)

It seems like a bad idea to use a giant image of someone who has less than ideal business practices when dealing with an already complicated issue.

I also don't agree with this law because it seems we're getting hung up on how to arrest people. Similar to other drug laws (DUI / possession / distributing) that try to "fix" users by putting them through the legal system when we all know our legal system couldn't rehabilitate Wolverine.
71
"I also don't agree with this law because it seems we're getting hung up on how to arrest people."

Welcome to America.

Really though, this will PREVENT tens of thousands of arrests, and create the infrastructure required to legalize, while ALSO allowing us to implement better solutions once it is passed.

We are not Portugal. Democratic leadership is too centrist/right-wing to offer you the national solution you're looking for.
72
I will be voting yes. Tax pot and use the proceeds for education.
73
Question: Would people found to have less than 5 Ng/Ml of THC in their blood be completely immune to prosecution for DUI, or does that provision simply guarantee conviction for those who exceed it? The reason I ask is because I know that you can still be found guilty of DUI even if your BAC is less than .08, as long as the prosecution can prove that you were impaired.
74
a bunch of pot activits are those making beaucoup d'argent under the current "medical mj" system -- they do not want everyone to have pot at a low cost -- it's just normal business lobbying to preserve a semi monopoly created thru regulations.

by the way, mexican cartels are destroying mexico because of our stupid pot laws. pot is 70% of their profits. assholes who fight legalization here are objectively supporting the current pot industry, which includes:
medical mj here
sinaloan cartel
the complex of judges, prison guards, lawyers, all making money off of pot, and
the right wing racists who loving having drug laws as the new Jim Crow way to saddle mainly balck people with lifelong burdens.

great company, fucking zetas, racists and business pigs. a typical alliance dominating our politics.
75
@69, Can you please show where you found that the cost of producing cannabis is that cheap? I can show you where the numbers come for expensive cannabis under I-502.

Let's say you are correct and cannabis will now be sold by the grower for $50 per ounce (that's after the processors have been paid and the grower makes a bit of profit for the labor involved). After the 25% tax, the total would be $62.50.

Now it goes to the distributor, who will do a markup to cover costs and overhead as well. Lets round it to the nearest dollar and give them a $10 profit (now the price is at $72) and then we need to add the tax before going to the next stage. The cost is now $90.

Now it goes to the retailer, who typically marks up over 100%, and again this covers overhead like store rent, utilities and employees. (this is based on average retail markup of anything, which in reality is more like up to 300%, but we will stay low) so now the cost is $180 but we have not yet added in the tax.

The price of that "$20" ounce, with liberal discounts given, is now at the current market price. Now do it with real numbers and consider any big business owners greed (cuz only big business will be able to afford to grow with the fees and restrictions) and you are simply ignorant if you think the price will be this low.

Sarich did not need to add any evidence or analysis, as anyone who can do simple math can understand that cannabis will be anything but cheaper under I-502.
76
@73 If they show observable impairment, then yes, they would still be subject to DUI.
77
Thank you for this balanced article, on the whole Mr. Holden. While you have certainly made the case for the rationale and what little hard imparment and prosecution information is available for the DUI part, you have glossed over the negatives in other areas. I too was against this primarily due to the DUI, as well as a lack of a provision for small non-commercial homegrows.

It would have been more helpful to explore the issues surrounding small non-commercial homegrows a little more. People can brew small quantites of wine and beer for personal consumption, and I don't see anyone advocating for that regarding MJ. That does not mean it won't happen, but you have to look at the composition of the WSLCB. You could have asked some of them what their opinion of that is, should this initative pass. Also, will someone register that high a level of active THC from secondhand exposure?

I also agree with the other posters about non-medical sourcing not being addressed, which is related to the small homegrow prohibition. It does little to alter the narco dynamic.

Utimately, we can only decide how to vote based upon the available information. You did a good job of covering most of it. At this point, even with it's flaws I am leaning towards voting yes. Those dispensaries arguing against this in their own self-interest are not very persuasive.
78
no on i502!

This is a scheme made up by the recreational users and the cops to take our medicine from us.
Marijuana is for patients, not stoners!
79
no on 1502!

It's written by lawyers, cops, and recreational users that want to take our medicine away from us and put us medical industry entrepreneurs in jail. Most of us can barely afford to keep our stores open after the raids.
Marijuana should be for medical use ONLY. Everyone else is just a stoner.
80
@78: "This is a scheme made up by the recreational users and the cops to take our medicine from us."

I-502 doesn't alter existing medical protections.

Keep making things up, though. It's really convincing anyone who's actually read it.
81
A friend of mine can ride a unicycle while juggling 3 clubs and balancing a spinning bicycle wheel on his head straight after a fat blunt... If cannabis impairs driving ability, I'm Willie Nelson.
82
And on re-read "Most of us can barely afford to keep our stores open after the raids."

Ah, it comes out. You're worried about legal competition, not "stoners".
83
@81: "A friend of mine can ride a unicycle while juggling 3 clubs and balancing a spinning bicycle wheel on his head straight after a fat blunt... If cannabis impairs driving ability, I'm Willie Nelson."

Saying this and unverified anecdotes doesn't make it true. I trust(ed) Jimi Hendrix to be stoned as shit while playing an AMAZINGLY technical guitar riff, but that niche technical ability doesn't equate to being an alert and conscious driver.
84
@75 - You can't really say how much it costs because that cost varies. For example, if you're going thousands of plants, economies of scale dictate that your per ounce cost will be lower than if you were growing 3-4 plants. Also, your first few crops will be more expensive because you had to invest in fixed costs like lighting and irrigation that you won't have to invest in again for later costs.

Doesn't matter though, it's irrelevant. The important point is this: it's profitable enough to sell marijuana illegally for $400/ounce that thousands of people are doing it as we speak. In fact, we can probably assume that you can actually turn a worthwhile profit selling it illegally for some unknowable amount less than $400.

So, lets say that because of taxes and business costs under I-502 it ends up legal marijuana costs $600-700 ounce. Well then, people who are willing to break the law and sell it for $400/ounce now will continue doing that since people would prefer to pay $400/ounce instead of $700/ounce. You will continue buying it from them and be no worse for the wear (well, significantly better actually since there's no risk you'll be arrested for possession if I-502 passes).

The only way legalizing marijuana will work is if the legal market undercuts the black market, and the only way that can happen is if the end retail price of legal marijuana is low enough that people will choose to pay it instead of the black market prices.
85
Question for Dominic:

One of the aforementioned pot lawyers (who shall remain unnamed) has been promoting an anti I-502 fear that I assumed, because of his legal expertise, was founded. After reading your article I'm not so sure. He's been telling medical marijuana users in our building that I-502 would force them to have their names entered into some kind of registry that could be made available to the feds for prosecution. It's hard for me to imagine that if I-502 becomes as easy to purchase as alcohol that businesses will be maintaining exhaustive lists of their clients. Can you verify the differences in patient/consumer confidentiality, if their are any, between the existing laws and those put forward by I-502? Love to end this fear-mongering hype.

Thanks!
86
@85: "He's been telling medical marijuana users in our building that I-502 would force them to have their names entered into some kind of registry that could be made available to the feds for prosecution."

There is nothing mentioned about a registry for medical or nonmedical users in I-502.
87
Here's what I hear from the frothy anti-502 crowd. "I'm with you, maybe I smoke too, I like puppies and I can pretend to know a lot about the law. We'll ignore all the ample evidence that with the sole exception of Seattle there is little protection for users, medical or otherwise. Yes, this law makes a substantial improvement. Vote no."

Please, teach me how to.speak so effectively out of both sides of my mouth to formulate a crass wedge issue that benefits a narrow monied interest. Did you also get some cash from the liquor industry? I hear that they also don't like losing profits.

Fortunately most washingtonians will see through your prattle and noise and like me and my friends will vote for this IMPROVEMENT to our legal regime. We will vote YES because we can and it is best.
88
@79
Screw you and the horse you rode in on, which is obviously some kind of muntant clydesdale because your head is up in the clouds. Who are you or anyone else to say which people need the medicine and who doesn't. There are many reasons to use marijuana, and not all of them are physical or totally verifiable. It takes a lot of medical paperwork to get a mm prescription, and that means lots of visits to the doctors office. What about the millions of people that can't afford heath insurance? They shouldn't be allowed to medicate themselves with the product of this plant. How many of your fellow mm patients use their medicine when they "need" to as opposed to when they "want" to? What's ironic is that I also oppose this bill for different reasons obviously, but your reasoning sounds to be based around the fact that your a pretenious, short-sighted, bigot. Come back down to earth with the rest of us.
89
@81 - i was wondering when that particular argument would come up. as someone who claimed, and was backed up by friends, that i was a great driver when stoned and then got in an accident because i was too high to pay attention to my driving when i lost my cheese puff... just no. this is a leotarded idea that stoners have to convince themselves that there is nothing wrong with doing something that is dangerous and stupid. people ARE impaired when they drive stoned. they're not as impaired as drunk drivers, but they still shouldn't operate a motor vehicle.
90
Danno & a.rand are either paid trolls..or just idiots. go to their profiles.. its proof.
91
"when an initiative fails to address DUI for marijuana, legislatures won't let it slide."

That's really sad. Someone should go to jail because they are impaired, politicians are desperate to lock up anything and anyone for any reason. Amazing article. Anyone voting no this November on this initiative is a fool and should feel at least a little guilt that in over-protecting A MOTHERFUCKING PLANT will continue to kill way more innocent people than the SPD could ever dream of.
92
It is ridiculous listening to the people who make money off of medical marijuana argue with the people who just want pot decriminalized. My father owns a small fencing company and one of his competitors who had been under bidding and stealing jobs from him for years finally went out of business, so what did they do? They started selling medical marijuana. Not because they care about the issue, they did it solely for the money. As do thousands of doctors, lawyers, and other opportunists who do not want this law to pass simply because it cuts into their profit. These people are honestly trying to tell me that they have supported marijuana reform for most of their adult lives, but they don't support this law because they are worried about a DUI... give me a break. They used to care about the issue, now they care about money. This article does not bring up what I believe to be the most important reason we need to have marijuana legalized. When it comes to drugs it is not black and white, there is a gray area known as marijuana. Anyone with any common sense knows that if alcohol and cigarettes are legal, the same should apply to marijuana. It is a huge difference between marijuana and cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ect. Drugs are black and white get rid of the gray area.
s_pohlman@yahoo.com
93
It is ridiculous to listen to the people who make money off of medical marijuana argue with the people who just want pot decriminalized. My father owns a small fencing company. One of his competitors, who had been severely underbidding jobs and stealing work from him for years, finally went out of business. What did they do? They started selling medical marijuana. Not because they cared about the issue, they did it solely for the money. As do thousands of doctors, lawyers, and other opportunists, who do not want to see marijuana legalized because it will cut into their profit. A lot of the people who make money off of medical marijuana will tell you that they have supported marijuana reform for years, but you don't support this law? Give me a break. I believe that this article failed to mention the most important reason this law needs to pass. Anybody with any common sense knows that if in this country alcohol and cigarettes are legal then marijuana should be too. I believe that right now when it comes to drugs there is a gray area... marijuana. There is a huge difference between marijuana and cocaine, heroine, methamphetamine, etc. Drugs are black and white, get rid of the gray area. Oh and I am pretty sure that are country could use the tax dollars that would be made from marijuana legalization, I just don't know if there is anyone in the government that knows how to save them. Reply to: s_pohlman@yahoo.com
94
@88 "t takes a lot of medical paperwork to get a mm prescription, and that means lots of visits to the doctors office."

Or an 11 minute wait at Hempfest. ....

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/lo…
95
@71 I see your point. It still seems like this law is set up to fill the holes from people arrested because of possession with people arrested for a DUI. That is something that makes me leery.

Regionally, I don't believe the SPD has officers who are capable of making decisions that might insist a blood test due to possible marijuana use or possession. They've been trained that drugs = jail. Changing the mindset of the police force can only come from 100% decriminalization. This seems like a vail of decriminalization with a whiff of "you're still fucked!"
96
@90: "Danno & a.rand are either paid trolls..or just idiots. go to their profiles.. its proof."

Hahahahahahaahaha way to admit that you can't argue against any of my points. Just another angry medical shill who can't reconcile what his office is TELLING him that I-502 will bring versus what it actually states.

Your industry is systemically lying to its employees, and that is pathetic.
97
@94: If MM patients actually cared about medical uses and truly believed in the safety of cannabis, they'd allow others to self-medicate without going through this unnecessary hassle.
98
Watch this and spread the movie: http://youtu.be/6jO_ncXj7RE
99
TL;DR version of the opposition position: "I can already smoke as much weed as I like thanks to medical marijuana laws, and I don't want to extend this privilege to anyone else if there's any risk that I might get a DUI due to a legal ambiguity around the impact of the initiative on intoxication standards for medical-marijuana-prescription-holders."

Fuck. You.

In no way, shape, or form do you have a legal right nor necessity to drive, ever. EVEN IF I-502 would make it so that no one who ever smoked pot could ever (legally) drive, IT WOULD STILL BE A MASSIVE STEP FORWARD. And, of course, if the DUI standard proved to be problematic (don't know about that until it's tried) and unscientific (it almost certainly is), that can be changed relatively easily after the fact. Getting a legalization measure passed in the first place is the big hurdle.
100
"I feel that cannabis is a medicine," Lick explains. "If people are using cannabis without a doctor's recommendation, the same thing should happen as if you were using any medication without prescription... you get arrested for possession." (For the record: If we did treat pot like pharmaceutical drugs used without a prescription, the penalty would become more severe, increasing possession to a class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.)


Um, does this asshat not realize that there are OTC medicines that don't require prescriptions? One doesn't get arrested for using ANY medicine w/o a prescription, one get's arrested (well, frequently not in practice) for possessing/using prescription drugs w/o a prescription (I think Dominic means "prescription drugs" instead of "pharmaceutical drugs"; OTC medications are pharmaceuticals too). Seriously, Diphenhydramine (HCl) (Benadryl) inhibits alertness and response times and is more toxic than THC, and we sell that over the counter. Just because something is medicine doesn't mean it a) should require a prescription and b) shouldn't be used recreationally. Ditch the rationalizations, asshole: just say you want to keep prohibition in place so you can make a bunch of money off of it.