High-pocrisy

The Campaign to Kill a Pot Legalization Initiative Is Led by the Biggest Pot Smokers of All

Comments

1
Technically, an officer only needs reasonable suspicion to pull you over. If there are no signs of impairment, nothing visible, no bad driving, and nothing that an officer can smell, there is no PC to arrest and investigate for DUI. Officers just can't randomly pull people over and bring them to the hospital for a blood test. They don't have the resources to do it. If patients take simple precautions and do not appear impaired, they likely will not get arrested.

Society will not accept the idea that officers should not investigate a person for DUI if they look impaired. Society shouldn’t have to. People have a right to approach this cautiously. After all, the American public has been misinformed for decades.

-Alex Newhouse
2
Technically, an officer only needs reasonable suspicion to pull you over. If there are no signs of impairment, nothing visible, no bad driving, and nothing that an officer can smell, there is no PC to arrest and investigate for DUI. Officers just can't randomly pull people over and bring them to the hospital for a blood test. They don't have the resources to do it. If patients take simple precautions and do not appear impaired, they likely will not get arrested.

Society will not accept the idea that officers should not investigate a person for DUI if they look impaired. Society shouldn’t have to. People have a right to approach this cautiously. After all, the American public has been misinformed for decades.

-Alex Newhouse
3
Sorry for the double post. I don't know what happened.
4
Wow. Dominic. You never cease to amaze me with your stereotypes. Yet, if anyone came out with an article stereotyping gay people, you would be the first to speak out against that person. NAW makes carrying more than an ounce a FELONY. What happens when someone is convicted of a felony? They loose their right to participate in any political process, their ability to secure a job and credit for a house.
The bill violates so many of our constitutional rights, my heads spins every time I read it. Marijuana in the liquor stores? Really? Bud Tenders everywhere should be OUTRAGED. Not to mention it outlines how they can take your property and liquidate it before trial and gives health department workers the right to act the same as police officers. I think you are working for the feds, quite frankly. When then should we be invoking our Miranda rights? During the application process or inspection?
Really, people who think they are protected by this bill probably also feel they are "free" as United States Citizen. If you haven't burned your "I Love Dirty Hippies" shirt yet, please.. let me. S
5
Alex you're missing the point of why it's so ridiculous to introduce a strict liability limit. You say cops won't randomly pull people over and blood test them, but that's an utter misrepresentation of how some police officers treat cannabis consumers and patients as it is, and all it takes is a patient smelling like cannabis from hours ago (or a cop claiming such) or having a cannabis friendly t-shirt on, and all the officer needs to do is claim that the driver "appeared" impaired. Once you're past this and a blood test is taken, it's game-over, and if the person is above the 5 ng limit then they're instantly void of a legal defense, and whether or not they were truly impaired will play absolutely no part in the prosecution. You're handing officers another vehicle to harass patients and slam them with permanent unimpaired

"Society will not accept the idea that officers should not investigate a person for DUI if they look impaired"

No one is denying this, but medical cannabis has been legal in this state for over a dozen years and "society" and even our law enforcement is NOT calling for a change in the system because currently people DO get DUIDs for cannabis and other drugs IF the officer can prove impairment (which in the case of cannabis is not often because it's rarely a problem). If this was the case however, that the ONLY way to legalize is to include a new per se DUID limit, then how can it not be considered completely non-compassionate to not include a legal exception for patients such as with Arizona and Rhode Island? It makes absolutely no sense.

"After all, the American public has been misinformed for decades."

Exactly Alex, so why continue to play into such lies and propaganda? Most serious studies have shown a distinct lack of cannabis consumption leading to an increase in car accidents (and NO legitimate study advocates for a ZERO tolerance policy for patients such as what I-502 would introduce to patients under 21). Here are a few studies on cannabis consumption and driving;

1983 – Study by the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that there was no significant difference in drivers who had consumed cannabis and those who hadn’t, other than an average speed that was slightly lower. Stein, AC et al., A Simulator Study of the Combined Effects of Alcohol and Marijuana on Driving Behavior-Phase II, Washington DC: Department of Transportation (1983)

1992 - A deep and well-funded study by the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration concluded that cannabis is rarely involved in accidents. The study, to the surprise of many, found that “the THC-only drivers had an [accident] responsibility rate below that of the drug free drivers.” Robbe, H. and O’Hanlon, J., Marijuana and Actual Driving Performance, Washington, DC: Department of Transportation (1993).

1998 – In a study that took 2,500 drivers that were involved in accidents and tested their blood samples, it was found that drivers with only cannabis (compared to having alcohol or other drugs in their system as well) were actually slightly less likely to have been the cause of an accident. The findings were concluded that, “there was no indication that marijuana by itself was a cause of fatal accidents.” The study was administered through the University of Adelaide and Transport South Australia

2000 – A study by the UK Transport Research Laboratory, commissioned through the British government, found the surprising (the study was commissioned to prove marijuana was impairing) results that cannabis users were more cautious and less likely to drive dangerously. It also concluded that “marijuana users drive more safely under the influence of cannabis.” http://www2.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/

2004 – A study published in the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention, which found that those above the legal alcohol limit were 15 times more likely to have a collision, concluded that marijuana consuming drivers showed absolutely no increased risk. The study was conducted through the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15094…

2010 – A study by Hartford Hospital and the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, found that sometimes drivers under the influence of marijuana over-compensated with slow driving – but they still concluded that marijuana had little effect on driving skills and that “The study didn’t find a lot of impairment.” The test was administered through realistic driving simulations. http://www.courant.com/health/hc-marijua…
6
"The sponsors of Patients Against I-502 did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment." That's more than a stretch, wouldn't you say Dominic? You KNOW that we returned your e-mail, even though you sent it at 8:30pm the night before your "Tuesday AM deadline." Not only did we respond, but we did so within the hour!

Here's a link to the email exchange:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=…

Dominic -Is there a reason you refused to print the e-mail response you were seeking and/or attempt to contact ANY of the 6 different people who are willing to speak on behalf of Patients Against I-502? You certainly had time to contact Pete Holmes, Allen St. Pierre and a Yakima lawyer who is a known supporter of I-502.
7
Dominic,

This piece is an opinion piece, not a news piece. Your work history with Alison Holcomb should be enough reason for you to have recused from writing a story of obvious bias.

There are NO financial interests serving as motive behind Patients Against I-502. The opposition is purely ethical. Laws should be written based on science, and New Approach Washington clearly ignored the science by setting a numerical standard for DUIC.

As one of the first initiatives of its kind, NAW's legalize/tax/regulate owes the entire legalization community to get this bill right the first time. If I-502 were to pass, it could set a precedent for similar legislation in other states.

Colorado rejected a DUIC provision, and rightfully so - they payed attention to the science. Why should we expect any less? see: < http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/05/mar… >

If you had taken the time, to actually look into the reasons and claims of Patients Against I-502, as to why they oppose the bill, your conclusion would have been far different than what you write here.
8
The media does the entire cannabis community a great disservice when they portray patients as "pot smokers". Many patients medicate in other ways, such as edibles, tinctures, or gell-caps, which will increase THC levels, without the associated "high" that can lend to impairment.

Setting a DUI standard does not account for these methods of ingestion, or the level of titration (building of tolerance for substances in the body) for long-term users. Cannabis does not metabolize at a consistent rate compared to alcohol, and therefore impairment testing is not equal to the BAC model (blood alcohol content).
9
The one demographic that is completely ignored in this piece, is the 18 to 21 age group. I-502 has a ZERO tolerance DUIC (yes, that is 0.00) for any driver under the age of 21.

18 to 25 is the largest age group of cannabis users < http://stash.norml.org/who-are-you-us-go… >. This age group is the college-age set, and is most at-risk for being exposed to marijuana, even if they don't use themselves.

The "probable cause" argument is a complete wash, when you consider a car full of young adults getting pulled over - maybe some used, but the driver didn't. How is a law officer going to believe the driver wasn't impaired when they smell pot?

The driver will be guilty for even a trace amount of THC, which can be in their bloodstream simply for "being there".

If any of these young people wind up with a marijuana conviction, they can kiss goodbye - any federal funding for education, or other benefits they might need later in life.

This potential life ruination is brought to you, courtesy of the authors of I-502. Those that elect to ignore these facts haven't done their homework. Those that acknowledge these facts, yet continue to support I-502, are guilty subverting freedom and liberty for political gain.
10
@4, Stephanie: Hi. You appear to be laboring under a number of misunderstandings.

I-502 does not make possession of more than one ounce a felony. Possession of more than an ounce, but no more than 40 grams, remains a misdemeanor. I-502 does not amend RCW 69.50.4014, and you can see that the reference to RW 69.50.4014 remains intact in RCW 69.50.4013 in Sec. 20 of I-502, on page 26.

I-502 does not put marijuana in liquor stores. In fact, marijuana retail outlets are forbidden from selling liquor or anything other than useable marijuana, marijuana-infused products, or paraphernalia intended for the storage or use of useable marijuana or marijuana-infused products. Please see Sec. 13 and Sec. 14, on pages 22 and 23.

I-502 does not allow seizure or "liquidation" of property (presumably you mean in connection with marijuana). Quite the opposite. It amends the current civil asset forfeiture statute, RCW 69.50.505, to prohibit seizure and forfeiture when the property owner is complying with the new, legal system for growing, processing, selling, and possessing marijuana under Washington state law. Please see Sec. 24, at pages 29-39.

I-502 does not allow health department workers to act as police officers. I have no idea where this notion originated, but Chapter 10.93 RCW spells out who has police powers in this state, and I-502 does not amend any sections of that chapter (or any other relating to policing).

All best,
Alison
11
@7, Troy:

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

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

Cheers,
Alison
12
Alison - your comment above provides another GLARING example of how you are misinterpreting your own bill.

See section 24 - page 29. It says "RCW 69.50.500 and 1989 1st ex.s. c 9 s 437 are each amended to read as follows ... Employees of the department of health, who are so designated by the board as enforcement officers are declared to be peace officers and shall be vested with police powers to enforce the drug laws of this state, including this chapter."

Could this be where Stephanie got the WILD notion that I-502 allows health department workers to act as police officers?

THIS is just one more example of New Approach Washington being grossly misinformed or blatantly distorting the facts. How can we trust their interpretation of the OTHER 64 pages of this bill, when they can't even understand a section where the meaning is abundantly clear.
13
@11 Thanks for the amusement once again, Alison.

Here you are saying Dominic should not be held accountable for his blatant conflict of interest due to prior employment with the campaign manager of a ballot initiative - and in the same breath - you single out someone else for their job decisions. Talk about a "high-pocrite!"

It's just more proof that the only leg you have to stand on is personal attacks. When it comes to science and the facts, you've LOST and you know it. That is why you and Dominic have become so desperate and transparent in your pathetic attempts to marginalize the medical marijuana community.
14
@12, "PANAW": The language you reference is the current law, not something added by I-502. In reading legislation, you need to understand that in any section that proposes to amend an existing statute -- like Sec. 24 proposes to amend the currently existing RCW 69.50.500 -- language that is underlined is new language to be added, language that is stricken through and surrounded by double parentheses is language to be deleted, and language that is neither underlined nor stricken through is the currently existing law.

Cheers,
Alison
15
"I take issue with your claim that Patients Against I-502's motives (or methods) are "purely ethical."

Alison I think you've been misunderstanding who's running Patients Against I-502, because as I've mentioned before it most certainly isn't one person. It's a quickly growing coalition of doctors, lawyers, activists and patients, and trying to nail down any one particular contributor is pointless because there are many.

****"I-502 does not allow seizure or "liquidation" of property (presumably you mean in connection with marijuana). Quite the opposite. It amends the current civil asset forfeiture statute, RCW 69.50.505, to prohibit seizure and forfeiture when the property owner is complying with the new, legal system for growing, processing, selling, and possessing marijuana under Washington state law. Please see Sec. 24, at pages 29-39." ****

The key point there is WHEN the owner is complying with the new "legal" system, which means that forfeitures will still take place on a consistent level because anyone growing a single plant or possessing more than an ounce will instantly be held to the same exact standards as they are right now.

****"I-502 does not make possession of more than one ounce a felony. Possession of more than an ounce, but no more than 40 grams, remains a misdemeanor."****

I think the point here is how insanely illogical the system would be if I-502 passes. Under I-502's set of laws, those possessing less than an ounce are fine, but if you possess just 50% more than that then you literally are in the same felony category as someone who commits 3rd degree rape of a child or 1st degree reckless burning (sources: our RCW).

I think though when all is said and done, the most destructive and ridiculous aspect of I-502 is how there was no legal exception for patients under the new DUID infrastructure (putting us behind even Arizona).
16
@11 - Alison: I have many Facebook friends, including you, not all of which I agree with politically.

In the name of public discourse - how would you answer my other assertions?

Especially the assertion that NAW willfully risks the freedom and livelihood of patients, and at-risk young adults, as collateral fodder for political gain?

This IS about ethics.
17
Seems a lot of the banter from the NAW folks involves trust. Trust that the police will not resort to unethical behavior to get a marijuana bust. Ms. Holcolm says that the police can only pull someone over if they 'see' an impairment. Believe me, if a cop wants to pull you over, he'll 'see' anything he needs to see to justify putting you in cuffs. (or the hospital if you're a brown person) Any DUI provision is toxic. Despite having NO science to back it up, we stand to codify it into law. This will give other states reason to put this garbage into their statutes, again without the science to back it up. Gee, thanks.

At Hempfest, after voicing my concern, I was told by a volunteer at the NAW booth the following...

"Don't worry about it, David. Once we get it passed, we can make changes to it. But we have to get it passed!"

Since when do we write legislation containing insipid restrictions to basic civic rights just to get it passed, with the provision that 'we will make changes to it after the vote'? Oh, yeah... the Patriot Act. You guys learn from the best.

We are on the brink of ending Cannabis Prohibition. Let's not screw it up by pandering to worthless 1%'ers who won't vote for the bill anyway.

18
NAW, and supporters of I-502, continue to "glaze over" concerns brought forth by Patients Against I-502, by claiming law enforcement needs "probable cause" to pull over a driver, assess potential for impairment, then warrant a blood draw.

To assume that every law enforcement officer in the universe is so altruistic, that they would never profile, or wrongfully charge any suspect of driving under the influence of cannabis is naive.

Two case-in-points:

Racial profiling by law enforcement (a problem already acknowledged by the ACLU): < http://www.alternet.org/story/152850/rac…“industrial_scale”:_fbi_using_census_data_to_map_and_police_communities_by_race?akid=7769.234046.NAPN5d&rd=1&t=8 >

Police fabricating drug charges to meet quota: < http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-10-… >

'Still think profiling by law enforcement doesn't exist?

Use rates are highest among whites, or caucasians; yet incarceration rates are highest among minorities - shouldn't use and incarceration rates be proportionate, if profiling does not exist?

Probable cause is a fallacy, and I-502 empowers law enforcement for guaranteed convictions in certain cases.

If I read the polling numbers correctly, NAW would have a 54% chance of winning without the DUI provision (with only 38% opposition). To gain another 8 points in polling, they decided to sacrifice two groups of people: MMJ patients; and anyone under 21, that MIGHT have trace amounts of THC in their system.

People can be charged for green DUI (DUIC) under the current RCW, but impairment has to be proven for conviction. Zero tolerance for anyone under 21 and subjected to cannabis smoke - or patients that medicate on a regular basis - are all potential targets for law enforcement, should they decide to pursue, or "profile" suspected cannabis users.

Creating a law that grants potential abuse of power by law enforcement is reckless and irresponsible. The DUIC statute has to go - even if it means killing the entire bill. It is not the fault of the opposition that the failings of I-502 are reprehensible, it is the fault of the authors.

To fault the people, who have the most to risk, should this bill pass - is either a misdirected accusation - or a willful attempt to "win at all costs", even when the cost is at the expense of those most vulnerable.
19
It's too bad, really, seeing the division between the pro-regulation and the pro-repeal camps continuing to escalate when the two ideas are so complementary. One is poll-driven, and well financed. The other is people-powered and rests on case law. Without the support of the other, each effort is a half-baked loaf.

Imagine what we could do together.

If both I-502 and a repeal initiative made the ballot, citizens could vote to repeal, regulate, and catalyze change at the federal level. For that to work, both camps would need to advise the public to vote for both, or at least declare a cease-fire. Otherwise, both efforts stand to fail.
20
@15, Anthony:

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

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

Your issue with the fact that possessing more than 40 grams of marijuana will still be a class C felony is simply an argument that I-502 doesn't go far enough. I-502 makes possession of up to a ounce no longer a crime and doesn't make the penalties for possessing more worse. It's progress.
21
It is good to see the author of the initiative responding on this thread.

I read the initiative a while ago and may have some misunderstandings that you could clear up.

Question 1. Would it be legal to possess any marijuana or only marijuana that is in state approved packaging with a state tax stamp?

Question 2. Where in the initiative would it make it legal to at any time transfer any amount of marijuana to someone else?

Question 3. What are the signs of marijuana impairment?

Thank you.
22
@20 - Alison,

Patients Against I-502 has been nothing but transparent. We sent you and every other I-502 sponsor a letter detailing our concerns back in September. It was signed by 6 different representatives of Patients Against I-502. We even went so far as to include phone numbers for these spokespeople. This same information has been provided to Dominic more than once. It is also available on our website at www.patientsagainsti502.org

Should you need even more transparency, go to facebook for more information about the 268 members who have joined our group.

Unfortunately for NAW, this isn't about Patients Against I-502 or our transparency. It's not about Eddie Agazarm or Tim Eyman. This is about the unnecessary, unscientific and UNFAIR DUIC language that YOU chose to include in I-502. It's about NAW's ongoing refusal to remove the faulty language that will cause innocent people to be wrongfully convicted. With the million-dollar bankroll NAW has been touting - you can clearly afford to pull this bill, rewrite and refile.

After all, even Dominic Holden concedes that "the science is minimal and some people could exceed the 5-nanogram limit, if they are regular medical-marijuana users, without necessarily being impaired."
23
@19: I agree with John Toker on this. Nothing pains me more, after two years of hitting the streets for marijuana law reform, than to be forced to oppose a legalization bill.

Aside from the DUIC statute(s), the other major flaw is the proposed tax structure that will keep marijuana prices artificially high. The net result of this will be a booming black market. Prices for both medicinal and recreational use need to come down, in order to discourage illegal sales, and reduce potential for corruption in the legal system.

The dialogue we are having now, should have occurred before the final bill was written. Concerns from the rest of the legalization community were not addressed or considered, leaving all of us in the awkward position we find ourselves in now.

I would love to have a bill I could support. I also believe it is a good idea for Sensible Washington to run another repeal initiative. If it were possible, for all parties to come to the table, make concessions to move forward in a concerted effort; support each other and share resources, we could actually have a bullet-proof opportunity to finally end prohibition on cannabis in this state.
24
@AnthonyM.

There is no way Law Enforcement has the resources to randomly stop people, lie about impairment, and cart them to the hospital and to a DRE to investigate DUI. Not only do they seriously lack the resources, it is illegal. Plus, it is not that difficult to figure out what precautions one must take to avoid arousing enough suspicion to get arrested. If you reek of marijuana smoke, don’t drive. If you are impaired and the officers sees signs of impairment, then society gives its blessing to law enforcement to investigate the possibility of DUI.

And I stress again, People have a right to approach these issues cautiously.

@Troy Barber

I support laws that create a disincentive for minors to use intoxicants, even if they are a little on the strict end of the spectrum. I do not support kids under 21 using marijuana. I do not support kids hanging around others using marijuana. Will kids still do these things? Yes, but they will be aware that there are consequences.

The PC argument is NOT complete wash. Your question will be answered by reading this case here: State v. Grande, 164 Wn.2d 135 (2008).
And a showdown with the federal government might just provoke the change we need to spare kids the harsh penalties of losing their student loans upon a conviction. Remember, that is federal law, not state law.
25
It's not just the 5ng limit.

Without legal home grow for personal use, the contraband market will always be there after hours of licensed shops for convenience. The only difference will be the after tax pricing. I understand that NAW says the price will be the same or lower, but how would that happen? Actual costs and expenses cannot be dictated by the State so all we can do is look at current pricing and see if it makes any sense.

The NAW math.

Current value of cannabis from grower to dispensaries is about $2800.00.
Current value of cannabis from dispensaries to end consumer is about $4480.00. ($10g X28g X 16oz)

$4880/$2800 is a 1.6 markup. Adding a middleman processor would split that markup to .8 at each tax level.

$2800 per pound divided by 16 ounces divided by 28 grams puts current value at $6.25.

$6.25 with 25% tax becomes $7.81 to the processor.

$7.81 with mark up (.8) becomes $14.06. Add 25% tax and it becomes $17.58 to the dispensaries.

$17.58 With mark up (.8) becomes $31.64. Add 25% tax and it becomes $39.55 to the consumer.

$39.55 X 28g X 16oz equals $17718.40 or over 3.5 times more than current pricing.

Pricing of $700 a pound or less would be necessary to achieve the promises of I-502. That pricing (and less) will only be achievable when it is in every garden legally.

A structure like this will only embolden black marketeers to continue their trade and consumers to support them. Even if ending the prohibition cuts the price in half, the public faces double the cost when obtaining product under this structure.

Ending prohibition will allow competition that will drive prices down, not up. That will put millions of dollars back into the legitimate economy through the hands of the people, not the government. They will have that money to pay bills, taxes and other goods and services that will result in other revenue to the government. They may even choose to save for their childrens education or their own retirement.

Washington State legally imports over $200 million dollars in hemp, mostly from China and Canada that is made into legal products that are then sold and taxed.

According to NAW, another $200 million is spent arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating and probation/paroling approximately 14,000 people a year that may otherwise be working, paying taxes, supporting their families and communities.

What about the children? Does a spouse/partner now have to work a second job to make ends meet? Now there would be both parents less involved with their children who then become at risk youth.

This is the result of our current prohibition. End it and create regulation that will serve the people of Washington, not special interests.

Without even considering new construction and other jobs that would improve our economy, that is a $400 million turn around in the state economy.

26
"There is no way Law Enforcement has the resources to randomly stop people, lie about impairment, and cart them to the hospital and to a DRE to investigate DUI. Not only do they seriously lack the resources, it is illegal. Plus, it is not that difficult to figure out what precautions one must take to avoid arousing enough suspicion to get arrested. If you reek of marijuana smoke, don’t drive. If you are impaired and the officers sees signs of impairment, then society gives its blessing to law enforcement to investigate the possibility of DUI.

And I stress again, People have a right to approach these issues cautiously."

Alex how can you claim that there is no resources for this? Our officers harass patients and all sorts of non-criminals, who we could claim we "have no resources for". However, that's not the case, and with the resources or not officers WILL be able to twist the new law to persecute innocent drivers. You made the perfect point about having to take precautions...well, not all patients will have the time or energy to do a complete clean-down every-time they smoke, and in the instance when they don't, or if they do and still smell slightly of it, then a cop can easily use that slight smell as reason for a blood test, even if it was hours ago that they smoked. You also say that this is illegal, but it's clearly not, and as soon as you're tested and marked with above that 5 ng limit, then whether their process was legal or not - you're guilty.

What I also don't understand Alex is if you're saying you're impaired and look impaired then society gives its blessing to investigate, but that makes absolutely no sense because the science shows that a 5 ng limit is NOT a sign of impairment, so investigating in to it is almost pointless. With today's law an officer must prove impairment...what's wrong with this system?

"I do not support kids under 21 using marijuana. I do not support kids hanging around others using marijuana. Will kids still do these things? Yes, but they will be aware that there are consequences."

To me this is almost downright offensive and should be to any adult or parent in the state. We specifically, as a people, voted in this state to legalize medical cannabis for those under 21, so how can NAW take the road they are, declaring that these individuals don't have the same rights as someone 21 and older, when we already voted that they do when it comes to using cannabis as medicine? Having a zero tolerance policy for any patient is absolutely absurd, and if a 5 ng limit really is an indication of impairment (which it clear isn't), than what is the justification for creating a NEW class of criminals who have even stricter laws (not just stricter but downright restrictive...what patient could EVER pass a 0 ng/mL test).

One more point I wanted to make is that with the DUID statutes under I-502, it's only a matter of time before this state introduces road-side blood tests (which has been tried in several states; http://www.massachusettsduilawyerblog.co…). In this instance....it's game over for any cannabis consumer/patient in the state...even more-so than it already would be.
27
@AnthonyM

First, you make it sound like if I-502 passes we are going to move into an era of random and roving stops. Based on certain realities and limitations, this is unlikely. Why does it not make sense to investigate someone for DUI who appears impaired and is also behind the wheel of an automobile? If you look impaired, should the officer just let you go because he or she believes marijuana is involved? Absolutely not.

Second, the new and sound science that is emerging on the development of the juvenile brain speaks volumes with respect to this zero tolerance issue. For example, read some of the briefs filed in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, (2005) by such parties as the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association. I do not support bombarding these developing brains with cannabinoids or any other psychoactive substance. I support strict laws to discourage this behavior. If you believe that this position should be offensive to all parents and adults, take that argument on the road and see how far you get with it. At least in eastern Washington, you won’t get out your front door.

If kids need medicinal cannabis, which I haven’t even discussed here, then that is fine. But how do you expect to convince parents and everyone else that it is a good idea to allow children who are using medicinal marijuana to drive? It’s not a good idea. There is a reason why insurance is higher for them than adults.
28
@Alex N.

You point to one study specifically referring to juveniles. I-502 negatively impacts FAR more than juveniles and you can find A LOT more than one study on the issue (studies about people of ALL ages, not just juveniles) at www.patientsagainsti502.org

Is there a reason why you -as a defense attorney- are making excuses for rogue cops and out-of-control law enforcement? You live in Eastern Washington! You should be quite familiar with the "realities" of profiling and how cops use it to unfairly target, unnecessarily harass and wrongfully detain countless individuals. What makes you think police will give up this known pattern of behavior when it comes to enforcing NAW's UNSCIENTIFIC DUIC laws?

History has proven if you give police an inch, they'll take a mile. I-502's DUIC concessions to law enforcement will be no exception.
29
You guys don't get .If we are the first to legalize than we could see what the government does .we would show the other states the benefit of of legalization and taxation of this .we could help fund allot of things we are cutting.
30
If I understand correctly, the 5 ng limit only applies to driving, not to any other activity. Is that right?

In that case, I would suggest that Patients Against I-502 refocus their energy on supporting Prop 1 and opposing I-1125.

The only problem here is that we live in such a car-dominated culture that people can't even conceive of getting around without one. With a real public transit network, this provision would be a complete non-issue.

By the way, @22, you're not doing yourselves any favors by refusing to acknowledge *why* the 5ng limit was included in the bill. The fact is that a majority of voters may be willing to legalize cannabis use, but there's no chance that a majority of voters would be willing to legalize driving under the influence of cannabis. The science doesn't even matter -- if it did, cannabis would never have been illegal in the first place. It's about taking small steps, and improving things as we can.
31
"I do not support bombarding these developing brains with cannabinoids or any other psychoactive substance. I support strict laws to discourage this behavior. If you believe that this position should be offensive to all parents and adults, take that argument on the road and see how far you get with it."

Alex, who are you and NAW to take this odd moral approach and apply it to the masses, when clearly the voters and politicians of Washington State disagree with you. We voted, very clearly that those under 21 can have cannabis for medical purposes, whether or not you agree with that. That being said, our elected officials could have introduced per se DUID limits for patients or those under 21 if there was a call or need for it.

They haven't, and there hasn't been.

To assume that this is necessary (a zero tolerance limit for individuals under 21) makes no sense to me, because including the initial 5 ng per se limit (which once again is scientifically bankrupt as it is) would have been plenty to tide the voters over on the DUI issue, if it's true what you're saying about the public supporting it.

Of course a wiser idea would have been to simply use the large sums of money they (NAW) have to actually educate the public on the issue, rather than pandering.
32
@30 - "Why" was the DUIC language included in the bill? Ask any NAW supporter and they will tell you it was included to get votes and ultimately win.

Not ONCE has the NAW camp suggested the DUIC language is needed to protect the public. It's all about feeding NAW's insatiable need to win. That alone is NOT a good enough excuse to convict SOBER drivers of DUI.

You can keep telling yourselves that science doesn't matter, but when it comes to measuring impairment, science is key. NAW has proven it flunked basic science, and now you want patients to become unwilling lab rats for this poorly thought out experiment.
33
Medical benefits are not proven, and from my experience I see little to no possible chance of it ever being any better than Aspirin for pain. So, it is my contention that "medical" users are just happier being part of an elite crowd that can openly flaunt their breaking a law, because it is still illegal even with the medical laws. This is just proof that I was right. The comments here by those against it are only strengthening my argument.

So, make it completely legal or at least stop lying about it being medicine.
34
Hey Kitten, in 2009 the American Medical Association (the largest association of medical doctors and students in the country) came out for rescheduling cannabis on a federal level because of its medical benefits. I think it's far beyond opinion at this point that cannabis holds medical value.

http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/cs…
35
While the AMA and others have shown that cannabis has its medicinal benefits to some, does the name Jack Keewatinawin ring any gongs?
36
@35 - Your point is that certain self-reported marijuana users, who also happen to be certifiable psychos, use cannabis as their excuse for attacking and trying to rape women?

Is it safe to assume you're against legalization for recreational users (and therefore against I-502)?
37
NOT all patients are against the New Approach Initiative! Thank you Dominic for a great article and for not being afraid to tell it like it is! Follow the money trail - look at who is against this initiative? Hiatt the lawyer profits from folks getting busted. Most medical marijuana activists make a living off of meds. A GOOD ACTIVIST IS WILLING TO GIVE UP MAKING MONEY OFF THE OBJECT OF THEIR ACTIVISM. Furthermore we need LESS folks driving high on the road not more... what is it that folks think it is their right to drive distracted?
As a medical marijuana activist I would give up my job tomorrow if this initiative would pass. THINK OF THE JOBS it could create!
38
NOT all patients are against the New Approach Initiative! Thank you Dominic for a great article and for not being afraid to tell it like it is! Follow the money trail - look at who is against this initiative? Hiatt the lawyer profits from folks getting busted. Most medical marijuana activists make a living off of meds. A GOOD ACTIVIST IS WILLING TO GIVE UP MAKING MONEY OFF THE OBJECT OF THEIR ACTIVISM. Furthermore we need LESS folks driving high on the road not more... what is it that folks think it is their right to drive distracted?
As a medical marijuana activist I would give up my job tomorrow if this initiative would pass. THINK OF THE JOBS it could create!
39
"Hiatt the lawyer profits from folks getting busted"

Hey muraco, this clearly makes utterly no sense, because Douglas Hiatt has ran an initiative for the past 2 years (sensiblewashington.org) to fully legalize cannabis within the state, so to say he's against this initiative because of possible "profits" makes no sense (not to mention the mass amount of pro bono work he does for patients). He's against it because he represents patients in a way that few other people ever do and has their best interest at heart, and I-502 is absolutely NOT in their best interest.

"what is it that folks think it is their right to drive distracted?"

No one is saying anything in this regard, most all of us believe that if a driver is truly impaired, they should receive a DUI. However, a per se limit has absolutely nothing to do with impairment and most patients and regular consumers will never be able to pass a test, even if they've stopped smoking for hours (or in some instances days in the case of patients and those under 21). Our current DUID laws regarding cannabis, as it's been said on here already, are fine. Changing them for the worse for the chance of a political "victory" is wrong.

"THINK OF THE JOBS it could create!"

Muraco it will create no jobs...none. If you take a deep look at this initiative it's very clear that the distribution system will absolutely be destroyed in a court battle against the Federal Government, so no jobs or cannabis stores will come from I-502 passing.
40
"Hiatt the lawyer profits from folks getting busted"

Hey muraco, this clearly makes utterly no sense, because Douglas Hiatt has ran an initiative for the past 2 years (sensiblewashington.org) to fully legalize cannabis within the state for adults, so to say he's against this initiative because of possible "profits" makes no sense (not to mention the mass amount of pro bono work he does for patients). He's against it because he represents patients in a way that few other people ever do and has their best interest at heart, and I-502 is absolutely NOT in their best interest.

"what is it that folks think it is their right to drive distracted?"

No one is saying anything in this regard, most all of us believe that if a driver is truly impaired, they should receive a DUI. However, a per se limit has absolutely nothing to do with impairment and most patients and regular consumers will never be able to pass a test, even if they've stopped smoking for hours (or in some instances days in the case of patients and those under 21). Our current DUID laws regarding cannabis, as it's been said on here already, are fine. Changing them for the worse for the chance of a political "victory" is wrong.

"THINK OF THE JOBS it could create!"

Muraco it will create no jobs...none. If you take a deep look at this initiative it's very clear that the distribution system will absolutely be destroyed in a court battle against the Federal Government, so no jobs or cannabis stores will come from I-502 passing.
41
TL;DR - Let's say you're a patient and cannabis controls your pain and your spasms:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0kFONk9j… (1 min video)

You get stopped for a busted tail light in Clark County, and your car smells like cannabis. A per se DUI statute means you have no ability to mount an effective defense in court. The blood test alone is enough to find you guilty, even if you are habituated to your medicine and therefore not impaired.

In 2010, per se limits on active THC metabolites certainly seemed like a politically savvy way forward. Since then, Colorado has shot them down, and NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano has unequivocally stated that "it is virtually impossible to make inferences regarding a subject's impairment based upon the presence of THC alone."

http://mulliganlawfirm.com/colorado-legi…
http://norml.org/library/item/cannabis-a…

I'm not saying that activists wouldn't be wise to stand with NAW on common ground. (GROW HEMP. GROW HEMP. GROW HEMP.) However, it's not hard to see why this would be an understandably hard pill for patients to swallow, even for those not on chemo.
42
@36: I never said I was for or against I-502. But isn't it ironic that a total nutcase in Carkeek Park is making the argument for the medicinal benefits of legalizing the use of cannabis look bad?
Peace.
43
@42 - Are you kidding? That nutcase makes nutcases look bad. 8^D I will give him props for turning himself in, but I like to think that was the weed talking.

I didn't see where he was making a case for medicinal benefits (link?). To me, he is making the case for a social safety net. Imagine Washington State putting our tax dollars toward a mental health treatment instead of footing the bill for this corrupt and failed drug policy.
44
Can Alison, Dominic, or anyone else associated with the I-502 please respond to the questions in 21.

Thanks.

45
Dominic Holden ADMITS to his lack of neutrality on this issue in the "comments" thread of this facebook post:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=…

Readers, wouldn't you like to be informed before you read a story that the writer has an ADMITTED BIAS on the topic?

To avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, The Stranger should assign a neutral reporter to I-502 coverage in the future.
46
@43 John: I think you misunderstood the point I was trying to make. If cannabis benefits you, you smoke it and it gives you a good high without hurting yourself or threatening the lives of others, and /or you need it medically for chemo-therapeutic purposes, more power to you. Unfortunately, there is the occasional Jack Keewatinawin or two who abuses the system, and a lot of weirdos reside in public parks already, especially after dark.

I agree: it would be nice to see our tax dollars go into mental health treatment instead of further enabling the corruption of our existing policies.
@21 Island Bound:Thank you for asking good questions on this subject. I'd like to know, too!
47
@45) You're right, my writing for The Stranger on this issue isn't neutral. Having heard your arguments, read your website, and interviewed lawyers and activists who make your case, I think this initiative is still worthwhile.

I'll keep an open mind and could even change my mind (I've done it before). But all media is biased, even though many outlets don't admit it. The Stranger is just honest about its opinions.
48
@muraco-

If you question Douglas Hiatt's motivation or intentions, it makes me question yours. Not only is he willing to sacrifice his job for the sake of legalization, he is actively working to do so by filing marijuana legalization initiatives, not to mention his many years of continuous advocacy. Beyond just being a protector of patients, he is also the first recipient of the Seattle Hempfest Cannabis Activist Award.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtzVSZnSr…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAwcKXpf-…

49
I appreciated several commments - I especially appreciate John Toker's reasoned view. I think it was said some time ago that "a house divided will not stand". I assume the speaker knew what he was talking about.

Part of the problem with with 502 is that it was released promptly on the heels of a very discouraging failure of what I think would have been a great iniative and one that I worked hard on. Waiting a year or so might have been positive. Nevertheless, I hear the organizers have done their polling homework (thanks Alison for the input on that) and certainly have done their fundraising homework.

While I am not working on 502, I will vote for it with the idea that it is a step - and that there will be a push to correct defects as it becomes implemented. I strongly expect the organizers of 502 will agree with this latter assessment.
50
Unfortunately Aner the DUID provisions isn't a defect that will be so easily change. First, it would be two years after passing before it would even be politically realistic to amend it, and at that point removing it will be a huge challenge, as getting our Legislatures to enact reasonable reform clearly doesn't always go our way.

In the mean time, any patient or smoker in the state will be at substantially more risk of persecution if they drive, and even for those who don't they're left only with one ounce decrim at best after federal pre-emption, and that one ounce decrim is NOT worth further criminalizing patients (especially when you consider the fact that it could set the reform movement back years and negatively effect the landscape across the nation if other state's try to legalize following a similar model).
51
Thanks to Dominic Holden for his article.

Insofar as the Anti-New Approach Washington group and Sensible Washington (Old Approach Washington) highlight the issue for the general public, we will make it work to our advantage. In order to pass this legislation, we need the support of the middle-class voters who are not necessarily marijuana users but are against the policy of marijuana prohibition.

In the meantime, sensible medical cannabis consumers would be better advised to work on amending the medical cannabis law in our state to accommodate the THC levels of medical cannabis users (as is written into the Arizona law). Even so, actual impaired driving should not be tolerated no matter what the cause.

Impaired driving kills.
Marijuana prohibition kills.
Marijuana does not kill.
DUI-C limits do not kill.
53
NotSpicoli,

I see from your post that you also work for the I-502 campaign. These questions have been asked of both Dominic and Alison but both seem afraid to address them, maybe you will be so magnanimous to enlighten the rest of us.

Question 1. Would it be legal to possess any marijuana or only marijuana that is in state approved packaging with a state tax stamp?

Question 2. Where in the initiative would it make it legal to at any time transfer any amount of marijuana to someone else?

Question 3. What are the signs of marijuana impairment?

Thank you and have a good day.
54
@33: "Medical benefits are not proven, and from my experience I see little to no possible chance of it ever being any better than Aspirin for pain."

Is there ever any post you make that isn't 100% wrong? Does that bother you?

You should read more and write shitty fanfic less. Your brain's rotting.
55
@47 Dominic: You wrongfully stereotype mmj patients in this article by calling them "biggest pot smokers of all". This is a great disservice to patients by continuing to propel the public misperception of the various ways patients medicate. You paint the mental image that the misinformed public uses to discriminate against patients and recreational users alike.

Many patients benefit from "medibles", infused foods, beverages, tinctures, gel-caps, or even eating or juicing raw cannabis, all without the "high" associated from smoking. These methods yield higher measurable THC metabolites in the blood - without the associated impairment!

We are saying: "It is wrong to create a law that will unfairly incriminate innocent people".

I defy any rational person to disagree with this statement.

We, in no way imply that driving impaired is acceptable behavior, unfortunately, that message is sometimes lost while arguing semantics.

The Patients Against I-502 web site presents all the scientific evidence needed to support our claims. To ignore this science is to say that you either lack intellectual cognizance, or that you are apathetic to the needs of others.

To simplify my previous assertion; supporting the DUIC statutes in I-502 means that you are either an idiot or an asshole - you choose the description that best fits you.
56
@Troy

"supporting the DUIC statutes in I-502 means that you are either an idiot or an asshole - you choose the description that best fits you"

Are you serious?
57
@53: Hmmmm. Did you notice Dominic, Allison, and NotSpicoli still aren't responding to our unanswered questions?

Maybe that's why they call it "dope"?
58
To the nay-sayers, that believe medical marijuana laws are "just an excuse to get stoned", please educate yourself. Cannabis was a medicine for thousands of years before it was "not a medicine".

Not only has cannabis proven to be useful for the conditions provided for in Washington State law < http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?… >, it also has applications to help with PTSD, Insomnia, and a host of other unrecognized conditions that also present health benefits.

Evidence indicates that cannabinoids are not only useful to counter the side effects of cancer treatments, but are also able to destroy cancer cells. This means that it is not just a useful form of relief, but may also prove to be a PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE TO CANCER!

This is where the other failures of I-502 must be considered. Creating oils from cannabis requires larger quantities. If I recall the ratio correctly, it takes one pound of marijuana to yield one ounce of oil.

This means the one ounce allowed under I-502 is not enough, and will be prohibitively expensive to use legal cannabis for anything other than smoking. One solution to this problem is to allow home-grows, which is something else that NAW's bill denies.

It is true, that I-502 does not impact the protections allowed for in grows by patients, but also disallows home-grows by non-patients who wish to explore the medicinal qualities of cannabis for conditions not currently recognized under state law.

Cannabis is an herbal medicine. Denial of this statement is pure conjecture. This medicine should be affordable. The tax structure proposed under I-502 potentially make it cost-prohibitive for people on fixed-incomes to experiment to see if cannabis is the right fit for their given ailment.

As has already been pointed out, this tax-inflation of marijuana will also do nothing to deter an illegal black market. The result of this is potential for further abuses by criminals if I-502 passes.

Since the law will not be able to be changed for 2 years after passage, if it proves to be a dismal failure through increased crime, arrest and incarceration, then the general public will have "buyers remorse" for supporting the initiative, and will set the entire legalization movement backward, by many years.

This is why I am so insistent that this bill has to be right the first time. There is too much at stake for any of us to get this wrong; all would-be legalization activists should be greatly concerned. I-502 may prove to be a step backward, not forward.

I ask that everyone take a much closer look at what they are getting themselves into. Read the bill. If you elect to ignore the warnings of Patients Against, then you should also ignore the claims of NAW - read the bill, then decide for yourself - don't take anyone's word as truth.

There is no shortage of related videos on YouTube discussing medicinal values and history. Following is a shortlist of recommended "must sees" to understand more. You may want to bookmark these to watch as time allows:

- PBS - The Botany of Desire: Cannabis intoxication:
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Kskl8F9w… >

- Explorer Marijuana Nation - National Geographic Channel:
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnzr-KkU8… >

- MontanaPBS - Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis - Full Documentary:
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3ZfgerGd… >

- Marijuana a Chronic History (Full Version):
< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hqFYC8pV… >
59
@56, Alex: I love ya brother, but, yes, I am serious. I hate to break it down to such simplistic terms, but for some of the trolls on this issue, it was needed to quantify my argument in the only terms they understand, that of insult.

As I have stated many times over (and am tired of doing so); I-502 presents a moral dilemma: reject it and be deemed a divisionist or radical within the movement, or accept it and admit you are willing to sacrifice the freedoms of segments of the population for political gain.

I view my position as fighting for the freedoms of "all". Anything less, especially taking a position that would incriminate the innocent, implies that the innocent and vulnerable are nothing more than political fodder - the logical conclusion is that supporters of I-502 don't care, and can rightfully be deemed as "assholes".

You are welcome to call me an asshole for defending my position - which I have laid out throughout these posts, and in my view, have laid a solid case and proves I-502 indefensible to the claims I have made.

I don't take offense to disagreement - I take offense to uneducated assumptions and unqualified opinions.

Alex, I think you are wrong, along with Alison, Dominic, and everyone else behind I-502. The one thing you all have in common is that you are willing to sacrifice innocent people, and deprive those most deserving of their medication; all based in unsound science.

What would you call yourself under these conditions?
60
@53 Island Bound: Another question you should ask is: If your ounce gets wet, and suddenly weighs more, are you protected from prosecution for more than 28 grams?
61
Alex @ 1, 2, 3, 24, 56

Maybe you would like to answer what marijuana impairment looks like?

While never having been pulled over for being black I have been pulled over numerous times for simply looking brown. Let go with no ticket, warning or even explanation as to what I had done to cause the stop, even after asking. Even with marijuana in plain sight You can pretend all you want that a police officer needs a reason to pull someone over, the rest of live in the real world. We understand that police can claim whatever they want as a pretext for a stop, then claim they smelled what ever they want, as a pretext to a blood test. Currently there is no limit to the amount of THC anyone can have in their blood as long as there is no impairment to their driving.

What I read of the DUIC provision in I-502 is that anyone that is under 21 and a caregiver for a medical marijuana patient, that consumes by smoking, runs the risk of loosing their lives (being arrested and taken to jail with a criminal record that may haunt them for life.) Most collage undergraduates and all high school students would be at risk of the same thing if they decided to drive their car to leave a party because they smelled marijuana being smoked. Minors, living at home with a parent that smoked (presumably legal marijuana) would also be at risk anytime they left home in their car.

Regardless of its intended purpose, to me the zero tolerance policy for minors in I-502 empowers any racist law enforcement officer to harass minority minors at will, by demanding their blood if they are driving and claiming that he smelled marijuana without having to provide any proof of impairment. It will allow our government to destroy the lives of innocent children whose only crime was to live with a parent that consumes, takes care of their sick grandparents, or leave a party where smoking is going on even if they did not smoke any them selves.

Sorry I have to agree with Troy @ 55
62
@53, Island Bound:

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

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

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

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

Best,
Alison
63
Posted by auntie grizelda: @53: Hmmmm. Did you notice Dominic, Allison, and NotSpicoli still aren't responding to our unanswered questions? Maybe that's why they call it "dope"?

While I resent the implication that because I am against the policy of marijuana prohibition I am a user of cannabis.

I am a volunteer for I-502 and nothing more. I am sorry that I do not know the answer to the first 2 questions that were asked.

As to the third question, I can answer. What are the signs of marijuana impairment is not the right question. The question is, "What are the signs of impaired driving?"

There are well known driving patters and constitute probable cause for stopping a driver. They include swerving, drifting, stopping inappropriately, slow response at traffic lights, etc.

Fortunately, because cannabis does not actually impair driving ability significantly for most users, impaired driving is not a significant issue for experienced cannabis users.
64
"#2: I-502 makes it legal for licensed producers, licensed processors, licensed retailers, and their employees to transfer marijuana to others. Please see Sec. 4, pp. 9-10; Sec. 15(3), p. 23; Sec. 16(3), pp. 23-24; and Sec. 17(2), p. 24."

The key point is that if you're "licensed". So what happens if you ask your spouse or partner to hold the cannabis you just bought for you while you run to the bathroom or something of that nature, is that considered distribution and is a crime? That looks to be the case under I-502, just as it would be a class C felony (same category and maximum sentence as unlawful imprisonment) if that person you handed the ounce to already happened to have half an ounce on them. This makes little sense.

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

It seems a little disingenuous to include this link to the UW for a couple reasons, one being that they have a vested interest in I-502 as it earmarks millions of dollars to the university and this particular section of it. It's also hard to take their fact sheets seriously when the factsheet comes from a cannabis "prevention" group; "As we inaugurate this site, we are grateful to our colleagues at Australia’s National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre for permitting us to include their Factsheets."

However, even if you are taking these factsheets to heart, this is pulled directly from it; "Although most of these studies examined the effects of low doses of marijuana, recent research has suggested that decrements in performance are generally dose-related and typically persist for two to four hours."

If this information is solid (as you seem it to be by spreading it) then how can you further justify a zero tolerance limit for patients under 21? If impairment seems to persist for 2-4 hours, how could you possibly justify a limit that will prosecute after 24 or more hours? Why was the decision made to consider listening to some science why refusing to acknowledge the utter lack of scientific consensus over such a limit?
65
@61, Island Bound:

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

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

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

Illinois (zero tolerance since 1997, including metabolites);

Indiana (zero tolerance since 2001, including metabolites);

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wisconsin (zero tolerance since 2003, excluding metabolites).

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

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

Best,
Alison
66
"Fortunately, because cannabis does not actually impair driving ability significantly for most users, impaired driving is not a significant issue for experienced cannabis users."

NotSpicoli you just pointed out exactly why I-502's DUID provision is so ridiculous and unfair. Most regular consumers and patients will likely never receive a DUI under today's laws because they likely won't be impaired (some studies show cannabis consumers drive better after consuming). If they are impaired, and for brand-new smokers who drive and might as well be impaired, our officers can and absolutely do give out green DUIDs for this.

This is why a new per se limit is so utterly pointless, because for truly impaired drivers it's unnecessary because they can be prosecuted with a DUID right now. However, any regular smoker will almost certainly never be able to pass a 5 ng or zero tolerance test, despite that fact that as you pointed out, most regular consumers aren't impaired drivers. Why set a law that will specifically target and cause the persecution of a group of drivers who we can both admit likely won't be impaired?
67
Allison @ 65

You site a list of states and when they passed laws regarding zero tolerance but show no data to support your claims that there was no increase in what you call “unreasonable arrests and blood tests.” Please site the studies that show there has been no increase in rate of minority arrests for green DUI vs. non-minority green dui or you are not speaking to the point I was making. The real point that you should be making though is studies showing how fatalities and accidents are down in each of these states as a result of the passage of these laws and showing why it was the change in these law and not other laws or regulations that caused the decrease in accidents.

Thanks so much for your responses.
68
@ 65 - Alison - this is one of your more disingenuous posts to date. Of the states you mention, only five even have medical marijuana laws; two of which are new (Arizona 2010 & Delaware 2011). Is it any surprise to anyone that states like Utah or North Carolina have zero tolerance for cannabis at all?

(*Side note - Utah is best known for its supply of groupies for musicians, and ranks highest in credit card charges for internet porn, because of their various prohibitionist memes...)

Perhaps law enforcement in those states have not figured out how to incorporate the law to their financial benefit?

You have consistently ignored the assertions that 1.) police do profile: < http://www.alternet.org/story/152850/rac…“industrial_scale”:_fbi_using_census_data_to_map_and_police_communities_by_race?akid=7769.234046.NAPN5d&rd=1&t=8 >, and 2.) police do incriminate unfairly: < http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-10-… >.

So far, you have skirted the difficult issues you have been presented with, answering only those that allow you to save grace.

When will you admit, that I-502 is so fundamentally flawed; that you need to drop the current bill, and work with the rest of the legalization community to build a rock-solid base of support?

The rest of us will support you, but only when you desist with the idea that it is OK to throw fellow human beings under the bus. Until then, you are on your own, with the people that you manage to BS.

Patients Against will follow every step of the way to educate those that you elect to misinform. That is a promise.
69
It is time to move on. It is clear that this group will not be swayed at this time.

Just like when dealing with prohibitionists: questions asked and answered.

The prohibitionists and the PANAW do not agree with the answers New Approach Washington is providing. Though the prohibitionists and the medical cannabis opposition group have little upon which they agree, they share a common goal: the defeat of I-502.

Our enemy is the federal government's policy of marijuana prohibition and the ignorance and mercenary interests that maintains it--not medical cannabis users.

I-502 is a harm reduction strategy aimed at ending prohibition. It is an imperfect law created in an imperfect system. It involves the calculus of determining the greater good and lesser of evils and the political calculus to increase the chance of passage. There is no artifice here. I-502 was written to win a battle because we are truly at war and cannot afford any more defeats.

When we encounter any group spreading misinformation and promoting hysteria, we will continue to provide the answers. Our greatest resource as a movement is the facts, respectfully and honestly delivered. "When the people know, they will 'just say no' to marijuana prohibition" is our most effective strategy.

The medical opposition's negative campaign to torpedo I-502 does not diminish my resolve to support a positive campaign to amend the state's inadequate MUCA to include appropriate accommodations for those who use cannabis medicinally and suffer from disabilities--including a suspension of per se DUIC in the absence of impairment.

70
@69 - while you are working to pass a law, just so you can work some more to amend it - we will be working to get this law right the FIRST time around.

Why should we vote for a bill that will create yet another law that we will have to spend YEARS fighting, just so we can have the right to use the medicine our doctor recommends? I-502 will force patients to choose between their medicine today and driving tomorrow.
71
By the way NotSpicoli, amending the "Medical Use of Cannabis" act is not as easy as you make it seem. Does the Legislature's nightmarish attempt to amend it this past spring ring any bells? We're worse off now than we were before! The mess left behind by the last attempt to amend the MUCA will take YEARS to fix! The last thing patients need is one more item on the growing to-do list.

Knowing for a fact that I-502 will cause unimpaired drivers to be convicted of a crime they didn't commit, NAW should have written their law to protect citizens from the conflict created by their unnecessary and unscientific law. Instead they took the easy road, crossing their fingers that patients wouldn't be smart enough to figure out what's hidden in their 64-page initiative.
72
@69 NotSpicoli: There is nothing to sway. Our position has been clear the entire time. We believe it is immoral to pass a law that will incriminate the innocent. It is supporters of New Approach Washington that are asking us to compromise our principles. We are not the voice of dissension, you are.

We have repeatedly made the case that I-502 unfairly disenfranchises patients, debunked the probable cause argument, shown that it will exacerbate an illegal black market, and will in all-liklihood set the legalization movement backward instead of forward.

This was our opportunity to counter Dominic's sweeping generalizations, and gross mischaracterizations of who we are and our reasons for opposing I-502.

The dividing line has been identified, either you are OK with throwing patients under the bus, or your not. It is up to each individual to decide how I-502 defines their moral character.

All activists, on both sides of this debate, still share the common task of educating the general public on the ills of prohibition on cannabis, and the benefits of industrial hemp.

I wish we could work together under better circumstances, but since the DUI language will not be pulled, that will not happen anytime soon. Maybe someday, when cool heads and reason prevail, we will be able to work in unity. Until such time, we are forced to be divided by a bad initiative.

I have nothing more to add, that I have not already said. I am tired of repeating myself. I do ask that people actually read the bill, not the hype from NAW, or even Patients Against I-502's supporting evidence - just read the bill, then decide for yourself.

Happy Halloween everyone - have a great day.
73
NotSpicoli,

I do not think anyone who has read your posts would assume that you have ever even tried marijuana. You consistently equate marijuana with alcohol in ways that are inappropriate. I wonder why your passion for this subject is your intent is really to legalize marijuana and not somehow profit from the continuation of the prison industrial complex.

In 2010 the ACLU had a chance to work with Sensible Washington and promote real reform of the marijuana laws in Washington State, they were not passive about their lack of support, but instead choose to actively work against I-1068. Now they propose changes to the laws calling it legalization which will likely result in more not less people spending time in jail and for longer. If you follow the money trail as suggested by muraco @37 and @38 and check the PDC filings as I have you will see that most (more than half) of the money that New Approach Washington has taken in has been from lawyer unions, active lawyers, retired lawyers, or out of state interests. There is a reason for this. Lawyers stand to make out big time from the green DUI.

Right now it is illegal to be in possession of cannabis products outside of the body, but once they are ingested, unless you are on parole or probation, it is not against the law to be in possession of cannabis inside your body unless you are both driving and impaired (the key here is the impairment). New Approach Washington intends to make it illegal for people to possess therapeutic amounts of cannabis inside their body (as well as outside), while not demonstrating a problem that needs to be fixed (marijuana induced traffic accidents.) There is very conflicting evidence from what I have seen in regards to marijuana and driving. I have seen studies that show cannabis only users tend to be safer drivers than the general public. This may be because of the heightened self preservation instinct (some call it paranoia) associated with cannabis use, or the concern for arrest. Marijuana in combination with alcohol has been shown to exaggerate the effects of the alcohol, so all I have seen is a need for a modification of the limit for alcohol when active thc is present.

As Alison clearly points out in her response to my Question # 2 it will still be illegal, a felony, to hand your friend a joint, a pipe full of marijuana or your stash so they may fill their own pipe, but there will no longer be a misdemeanor to plead down to. Police claim most arrest are not for possession, but clearly most sentences are. The police will continue to do their job with relish, by arresting people that distribute marijuana without a license, but those people that are just sharing with their friends, not actually dealing will not have a lesser charge to plead to. Of course these laws will be enforced in the racist manner our current marijuana laws are.

Also the zero tolerance policy “designed” to protect children means that any minor that comes into contact with a person that is using may test positive even if the minor has NEVER consumed any cannabis themselves. People that only drink do not get this. No matter how much alcohol you consume that person next to you will not get drunk. A minor care taking for a medical marijuana patient, living at home with an adult that can legally consume, or going to a party will be guilty under I-502 if they drive.

HOW CAN THIS BE GOOD FOR OUR CHILDREN?
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Alison @ 62

I know you will probably not have time to answer this but I need to ask it anyway.

How many of the signs of impairment listed in #3 @ 62 would a police officer need to be able to articulate in order for a driver to be taken for a blood test? Or does the phrase “not necessarily limited to” mean that having dark skin and driving a car that smells of dead skunk could also be seen as impairment?

Thanks
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NotSpicoli @ 69

“I-502 is a harm reduction strategy aimed at ending prohibition. It is an imperfect law created in an imperfect system. It involves the calculus of determining the greater good and lesser of evils and the political calculus to increase the chance of passage. There is no artifice here. I-502 was written to win a battle because we are truly at war and cannot afford any more defeats.”

I am just wondering how you see I-502 as harm reduction. As I see it if I-502 becomes law, police will continue to enforce the distribution laws keeping virtually all cannabis consumers criminals. The stores will not materialize because to apply is admission of intent to commit a federal crime, supplying the license is also a federal crime, and from what I understand the Feds are currently disrupting dispensaries throughout California that are complying with state law. Do you really believe they are going to allow stores that sell to the general public to operate? This will prevent any legal marijuana from being in the market at all. What will prevent the courts from ruling that the people’s intent was not to have all marijuana legal, but only marijuana obtained legally? While we would then have laws on the books that say marijuana is legal, all of the marijuana available to the general public will still be totally and complete against the law. I see no harm reduction here.

Making sure that people that need therapeutic doses, instead of recreational doses, of cannabis can not drive does not reduce the harms to them or the general public.

If you believe that there are so many accidents caused by marijuana consumption alone, bring your data. If you believe, as I do, that marijuana enhances the effects of alcohol that cause problems with driving, but is not the cause of those problems then rewrite your green DUI to lower the alcohol threshold when over a driver is over a certain amount of active thc in their blood. I think you would get my support and probably many others with a medical need to live over the 5ng limit.

Certainly there is never harm reduction in any 0 tolerance policy. The minor green DUI is the most deplorable thing I can imagine. Regardless of the intent of our laws, this one included, the way our drug laws are enforced, I do not know how anyone could support this provision knowing how it will be used in minority communities.

Currently people that take therapeutic doses of cannabis are not criminals. I-502 makes them criminals if they need to drive.
Currently minors that are in the presence of marijuana smoke but do not consume are not criminals. I-502 may make them criminals if they need to drive.

Legalization does not mean more people in jail for longer. It means no one in jail if they have not hurt someone else.

Happy Halloween
76
@63 NotSpicoli: Okay. I was just trying to be funny with the "dope" comment. I wasn't bashing you personally. It makes no difference to me whether you support I-502 or not. How you vote is your choice. There is a lot on this subject that I admittedly don't know; that's why I'm asking questions.

I appreciate you, Alison, Troy Barber, Island Bound, AnthonyM, Patients-Against-I-502 and others helping me find some answers.
Unfortunately, life usually isn't 100% black and white, is it?
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Thanks for taking the time to educate yourself on this incredibly important matter, Auntie G.
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Thank you, Troy, for your constant efforts, and for making so much sense in your comments and providing links, and staying positive.
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Yeah, calling someone an "idiot or asshole" is staying positive . . . @55
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NotSpicoli @ 69

Right on! Way to cut through the myopic hissyfitting.
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California did it! D'Oh!
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I-502 is just 61,000 signatures from making it and NAW received another $300,000 this week from 2 large contributors.

We can assume that I-502 will be on the ballot.

When I-502 is presented to the legislature for passage (before being sent to the voters), I suggest that will be the perfect time to introduce an amendment to SB-5073 calling for medical cannabis users to be exempted (accommodated) from the per se DUI-C provision.

By way of example, the Arizona law states, “a registered qualifying patient shall not be considered to be under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.”

I suggest priming the pump by writing to our cannabis savvy legislators now, e.g., Roger Goodwin, Mary Lou Dickerson, and Jeanne Kohl-Welles, et al.

I make this suggestion again, regardless of the fate of I-502. Of the people I know who support I-502, such an amendment would receive their equally enthusiastic support.

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Quick question... What happens to an impaired driver now? How would it change?
84
Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion are legal realities and prerequisites to arrest that have not been “debunked” even the least bit by SW or PANAW. The challenges to these realities here and elsewhere, though originally flowing from legitimate concerns, appear now to be desperate attempts to trigger emotional responses to gather support in opposition of I-502.

I am not an idiot or an asshole. I know exactly what I’m talking about. I will not forget all the people forced into treatment, jail and financial ruin because of simple possession. I also feel strongly that we all have a duty to protect our children. If SW and PANAW were as good at making friends as they are at making enemies, I-1068 and I-1149 would have made it to the ballot, though they both would have failed due to the lack of regulation . . . . believe me, these things aren’t easy for me to admit.

How anybody can say that I-502 will take the legalization movement backwards is beyond me. We are talking about legalizing simple possession and allowing farmers to grow cannabis! This is unprecedented! We are forcing the federal government’s hand for the benefit of every state! There are so many pieces that will be put into play by I-502 that simple allegations such as “it will be preempted” demonstrate ignorance of the big picture. It is true that no farmer or organization will be growing cannabis until federal law changes. The same would be true under I-1149 or I-1068. But once I-502 becomes law, the feds will finally have to explain themselves in the spotlight or back down. If they back down, the jobs will come. Many jobs. And they will be greener jobs.

There is no need to debate these issues with PANAW here or anywhere else anymore. A line has been drawn in the sand. When the dust settles and I-502 is law, we’ll see who is right. I am confident that I am on the right side, the side that most Washingtonians stand on. The side that my local community will provide the greatest amount of support for.

The best to all of you. See you on the front lines.
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Posted by people are everywhere on November 2, 2011, "Quick question... What happens to an impaired driver now? How would it change?"

Currently, anybody can be stopped for impaired driving, arrested with probable cause, and with probable cause be subjected to a blood test. Refusing a blood test results is an automatic, one-year license suspension. Washington's current medical marijuana law specifically provides that medical authorization is no defense to DUI.

Blood test results can be used as evidence at trial, even if only the inactive metabolite THC-COOH is discovered and no active, delta 9 THC. (I-502's 5 ng/mL active THC per se standard will allow defense attorneys to defend those with lower levels of delta 9 THC or only THC-COOH.) Currently, in our stigmatized societal climate, any marijuana use may sway jurors to convict even in the face of inadequate impairment evidence.

Prosecutors may even reconsider filing charges in cases under 5 ng/mL or with only THC-COOH, depending on what other evidence of impairment may exist.

For more information, see the New Approach Washington's fact sheet, "Driving Under the Influence of THC" under the FAQ's.
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@85 NotSpicoli: Thanks for the update.
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"How anybody can say that I-502 will take the legalization movement backwards is beyond me. We are talking about legalizing simple possession and allowing farmers to grow cannabis! This is unprecedented! We are forcing the federal government’s hand for the benefit of every state! There are so many pieces that will be put into play by I-502 that simple allegations such as “it will be preempted” demonstrate ignorance of the big picture. It is true that no farmer or organization will be growing cannabis until federal law changes. The same would be true under I-1149 or I-1068. But once I-502 becomes law, the feds will finally have to explain themselves in the spotlight or back down. If they back down, the jobs will come. Many jobs. And they will be greener jobs."

Alex, how you can not see how this will set the movement back is completely beyond me, and I just don't think you understand the whole issue here. For one, they aren't allowing farmers to grow cannabis, it's only for registered growers licensed through the state, which will be a part of the initiative that will be pre-empted, just as with the distribution system.

You say it demonstrates ignorance of the big picture declaring the fact that it's pre-emptable, but quite literally the opposite is true. It's not hard for anyone to see (better yet a lawyer) that this initiative is not designed to withhold a federal attack, it is not designed to withstand pre-emption and it absolutely, undoubtedly creates a positive conflict with the Federal Government. For all of these reasons, I-502 will be pre-empted, and saying otherwise is simply wrong.

With this being the case, how the hell will this make the feds explain themselves? Do you not see what's going on around the country? The feds are attacking PATIENTS everywhere and aren't explaining themselves, what makes you think they won't quickly and easily throw away a legalization initiative if they have the authority to? They've already explained how adamantly against legalization they are, so destroying the initiative after it passes would be a given, and assuming they might "back down" is laughable at this stage in the game.

So, with that being said, why NAW would waste everyone's time and money over an initiative that does NOTHING to fight the feds is something I still don't understand, because once the initiative is pre-empted, state law enforcement will have every authority to prosecute for cannabis offenses (besides maybe the 1 ounce decrim which might be withheld, but along side the disgusting new DUID laws). If I-502 would of kept the regulations but also removed cannabis from the state's Controlled Substances List (repealing prohibition in the process), than the federal government would of had NO authority to pre-empt that (the Federal Government cannot reinstate state criminal sanctions), meaning that even if the feds did attack us after it passes, it would at least remove the authority for our state enforcement to prosecute for cannabis offenses, which would be a HUGE deal (as NAW has pointed out multiple times, close to 99% of cannabis arrests are made my state officers).

"If SW and PANAW were as good at making friends as they are at making enemies, I-1068 and I-1149 would have made it to the ballot"

Unfortunately the ACLU of Washington made it hard for I-1068 to find friends - in fact (many of you here know this, but for those who don't) I-1068 had SEIU (Servers Employee International Union) pay thousands of dollars to validate signatures mid-year and was planning to donate enough paid signature gatherers to get it on the ballot, but they backed down after heavy lobbying from Alison Holcomb and the ACLU and after they came out publicly against us, despite the fact of how much protection it would of brought (there public reasoning was our lack of regulations, which is once again laughable because any regulations we added would of been pre-emptable, and Alison is smart enough to know that).
88
Think about his for a second. 50% of the American population, give or take a few percentage points, support legalization. 70-80% support medicinal marijuana. The population is angry with its government which is evident by the occupy protests around the country and the approval ratings of congress. Times are tough. A direct attack on state sovereignty is exactly what this country needs with respect to marijuana reform. In this atmosphere, let the federal government move to preempt and defile the 10th amendment. With as much media attention I-502 will get if it passes, all eyes will be on the federal government to see what happens.

Federal law must change. Let Washington be the spark that ignites the bomb.
89
Alex you have the right idea but have totally the wrong approach for what you're saying. It's written very directly into our Federal law that they can pre-empt anything that creates a positive conflict with our Federal Controlled Substances List, which cannabis is on, and cannabis regulation will do. With that being said, the Federal Government will then have every legal authority to destroy the initiative, and the problem is that I-502 hands them an easy victory. I don't understand how it will challenge the feds when it's so pre-emptable, the only way to truly challenge the feds is to remove cannabis from a state's CSL which the federal government can NOT pre-empt, and which would of started a legitimate battle in court (the same reason the feds couldn't pre-empt when New York removed alcohol prohibition a decade before we did it nationally).

To assume the feds won't just shut I-502 down happily is totally a misunderstanding, and to assume there will be some massive public outreach may be true to some degree, but it won't be enough to stop them from destroying it (obviously, or otherwise they'd be listening to backlash and would start to respect state medical cannabis laws).

The only way to truly back the feds in the corner is to pass something that they can't attack, which removing civil and criminal penalties they cannot (once again, the Federal Government cannot reinstate state criminal sanctions).
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Alex and Everyone Motivated to Weigh in on Legalization:

This thread is probably losing steam, but I feel the need to add my perspective, especially to what Alex has been writing about the ages 18-21 issue, and about aggressive police officers.

Like Alex, I'm a parent, and like Alex, I worked hard to make sure the kids grew up healthy and whole. If I could have arranged for our son and daughter to forgo alcohol and marijuana until age 21, I would have. Alcoholism runs in our family and has ruined lives. We talked about this with the kids often. Even so, before the children were out of high school, alcohol was being consumed, as was marijuana. In this society, most families find that their children drink and/or toke before age 21. We raised our children to stay sober for as long as possible, but we also wanted them to explore. The kids knew that alcohol kills from overdoses & car wrecks, but marijuana is illegal and can get them in more trouble.

There was a day when our daughter was 19 or 20, and she'd been out with her best friend, sitting in a car in a local park. A police officer pulled up to their car, and they rolled down the window and had a chat with them. The girls became alarmed when he poked his flashlight into the car and really looked hard for "illegal activity". Turns out, the two girls were simply talking, but what if they had been careless? What if some buds were in the car and the cop could smell it? Suddenly those college educations would have been in jeopardy, as would their ability to get hired. And these girls are great people. It was a close call, and it brought it all home to us. A "per se" law would be devastating.

Alex, when your kids are young and you're working hard to be the best parent (and I'm sure you are), you hold that belief that your kid is going to be the one who is not going to toke until, by scientific standards, the brain is fully formed. Let's be realistic. Did you toke before age 21? (This little Catholic girl did!) Did you drink before age 21? (I think about 85% of kids do.) What's safer? Marijuana!! Ergo, what is the the more intelligent choice, marijuana or alcohol? Marijuana!! So why are we going to create a law that penalizes marijuana use far more harshly than alcohol use, when it's alcohol that will put the kids in the grave? And why are we going to be unrealistic about alcohol & marijuana use under age 21?

Oh--I know why we're going to do that. Because we are catering to the misinformed in order to get a law passed. Any law will do, NAW says, as long as "legalization" passes. I put the word in quotes because it is not true legalization, it is not true reform.

I fundamentally do not understand any of the laws that "legalize" for an ounce or less. Why? I have enough alcohol in my pantry to kill me many times over, and that's legal. In fact, in one stop to the store, I can legally buy enough alcohol to kill me many times over. So why will I not be able to own more than an ounce of cannabis--a bud that has no lethal dose? Oh--I know the answer to that. It's because we're letting a misinformed public dictate the law.

The two individuals behind these initiatives are polar opposites in a very key way. Alison Holcomb of the ACLU/NAW is determined to legalize in any way possible--she will do whatever it takes. Besides that, she is an excellent politician, and is very good at working behind the scenes to raise money and to keep money from being donated to Sensible Washington. We all can't stand politicians who flip-flop according to polls, but we also realize that the strategy works, and Ms. Holcomb has used polling data from a misinformed public to inform her initiative. So that's how we got these unpopular (for the informed Cannabis Culture) regulations in the bill, and that's how we now have this controversy.

The "other camp", Sensible Washington, has an initiative written by Douglas Hiatt. Douglas does not equivocate. It's ironic to me that he suffers from a bad back because I never met a person with a stiffer spine, morally speaking. He's a lousy politician--probably because he doesn't bend in the wind, he doesn't play to polls, he doesn't go to misinformed people and ask them what they want to see included in the law, even though they don't know what they're talking about. He thought long and hard about how to legalize, and he drafted an initiative that reflects the way alcohol prohibition was repealed. This kind of repeal withstood Federal preemption 70 years ago, and is likely to be strong. Regulations are not included for two excellent reasons: #1--Regulations invite preemption by the Feds, and most likely the Feds will win that legal argument. So if NAW's i-502 passes, then is preempted by the Feds, the voting public will be convinced that all legalization can be preempted. #2--Regulations are best written by the legislature, just as regulations for alcohol use were written by the legislature nearly 70 years ago. Regulations should not be voted on by a misinformed, divided public that is not in a position to make good law. Prop 19 taught us that, but the NAW folks came up with harsher penalties to try to win over more conservative voters. #3--Sensible Washington's Repeal initiative was always based upon the fact that the legislature will/would step up to the plate within a few months and enact regulations--just as they did 70 years ago.

During the past two years, I have been disenchanted with Alison Holcomb's--and here Dominic Holden's--disingenuous message to the public that Sensible Washington has no regulations, as if Sensible Washington is proposing a free-for-all. The message is this--We the Public Repeal, as we did 70 years ago, and the legislature enacts regulations, as they did 70 years ago. In fact, we all know that the legislature has an adequate set of regulations already written by the very admirable State Representative Mary Lou Dickerson.
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Alex and Everyone Motivated to Weigh in on Legalization:

This thread is probably losing steam, but I feel the need to add my perspective, especially to what Alex has been writing about the ages 18-21 issue, and about aggressive police officers.

Like Alex, I'm a parent, and like Alex, I worked hard to make sure the kids grew up healthy and whole. Reality differed from my wishes, and like most kids in America, our kids toked before the age of 21. I guess they have defied science since they've both grown up to be capable and vibrant twenty-somethings.

There was a day when our daughter was 19 or 20, and she'd been out with her best friend, sitting in a car in a local park. A police officer pulled up to their car, and they rolled down the window and had a chat with him. The girls became alarmed when he poked his flashlight into the car and really looked hard for "illegal activity". Turns out, the two girls were simply talking, but what if they had been careless? What if some buds were in the car and the cop could smell it? Suddenly those college educations would have been in jeopardy, as would their ability to get hired. And these girls are great people. It was a close call, and it brought it all home to us. A "per se" law would be devastating.

Alex, when your kids are young and you're working hard to be the best parent (and I'm sure you are), you hold that belief that your kid is going to be the one who is not going to toke until, by scientific standards, the brain is fully formed. Let's be realistic. Did you toke before age 21? (This little Catholic girl did!) Did you drink before age 21? (I think about 85% of kids do.) What's safer? Marijuana!! Ergo, what is the the more intelligent choice, marijuana or alcohol? Marijuana!! So why are we going to create a law that penalizes marijuana use far more harshly than alcohol use, when it's alcohol that will put the kids in the grave? And why are we going to be unrealistic about alcohol & marijuana use under age 21?

Oh--I know why we're going to do that. Because we are catering to the misinformed in order to get a law passed. Any law will do, NAW says, as long as "legalization" passes. I put the word in quotes because it is not true legalization, it is not true reform.

I fundamentally do not understand any of the laws that "legalize" for an ounce or less. Why? I have enough alcohol in my pantry to kill me many times over, and that's legal. In fact, in one stop to the store, I can legally buy enough alcohol to kill me many times over. So why will I not be able to own more than an ounce of cannabis--a bud that has no lethal dose? Oh--I know the answer to that. It's because we're letting a misinformed public dictate the law.

The two individuals behind these initiatives are polar opposites in a very key way. Alison Holcomb of the ACLU/NAW is determined to legalize in any way possible--she will do whatever it takes. Besides that, she is an excellent politician, and is very good at working behind the scenes to raise money and to keep money from being donated to Sensible Washington. We all can't stand politicians who flip-flop according to polls, but we also realize that the strategy works, and Ms. Holcomb has used polling data from a misinformed public to inform her initiative. So that's how we got these objectionable (for the informed Cannabis Culture) regulations in the bill, and that's how we now have this controversy.

The "other camp", Sensible Washington, has an initiative written by Douglas Hiatt. Douglas does not equivocate. It's ironic to me that he suffers from a bad back because I never met a person with a stiffer spine, morally speaking. He's a lousy politician--probably because he doesn't bend in the wind, he doesn't play to polls, he doesn't go to misinformed people and ask them what they want to see included in the law, even though they don't know what they're talking about. He thought long and hard about how to legalize, and he drafted an initiative that reflects the way alcohol prohibition was repealed. This kind of repeal withstood Federal preemption 70 years ago, and is likely to be strong. Regulations are not included for two excellent reasons: #1--Regulations invite preemption by the Feds, and most likely the Feds will win that legal argument. So if NAW's i-502 passes, then is preempted by the Feds, the voting public will be convinced that all legalization can be preempted. #2--Regulations are best written by the legislature, just as regulations for alcohol use were written by the legislature nearly 70 years ago. Regulations should not be voted on by a misinformed, divided public that is not in a position to make good law. Prop 19 taught us that, but the NAW folks came up with harsher penalties to try to win over more conservative voters. #3--Sensible Washington's Repeal initiative was always based upon the fact that the legislature will/would step up to the plate within a few months and enact regulations--just as they did 70 years ago.

During the past two years, I have been disenchanted with Alison Holcomb's--and here Dominic Holden's--disingenuous message to the public that Sensible Washington has no regulations, as if Sensible Washington is proposing a free-for-all. The message is this--We the Public Repeal, as we did 70 years ago, and the legislature enacts regulations, as they did 70 years ago. In fact, we all know that the legislature has an adequate set of regulations already written by the very admirable State Representative Mary Lou Dickerson.
92
Hi Mary Clare!

Good to hear from you. Unfortunately, I stand by what I have written above. Children will be children, and parents love their children. I favor laws that create incentives for our kids not to use intoxicants, be around people who use intoxicants, or drive while intoxicated. I know these laws will not prevent kids from using intoxicants, including marijuana, but I am not willing to find out what would happen without these laws. I want to play it safe, just like most people on my side of the mountains. We cannot afford a public backlash once cannabis is legalized.

Federal laws need to change. I-502 will be a catalyst to do just that.

Alison has done the most wonderful job in securing a position on the ballot for I-502 and listening to the state’s general interests. It’s a compromise between both extremes. What she has helped create will work to change so much in the long run on state and national level.
93
Alex,
And I stand for full legalization without jeopardizing the freedom of anyone. As for laws that prevent our children from drinking or imbibing in marijuana, why can we not have a marijuana law that matches the laws governing alcohol for individuals age 18-21? Why do those individuals who choose to use marijuana instead of alcohol get a stiffer penalty when they are wisely choosing the less dangerous alternative?
And I will remind you--marijuana is not an intoxicant. Alcohol is an intoxicant. There is nothing toxic in marijuana.
We obviously have a lot of educating to do.
Thanks, Alex. I'll always remember how hard you worked on both I-1060 and I-1149. I'm glad you're still fighting the good fight.
Mary Clare
94
This is from an attorney? Sorry, Alex, but you and I both know that the cops can pull you over damn near for anything and nearly always get away with it...."He appeared to be weaving"...."His license plate light was out"... God forbid they have an outstanding warrant for a parking ticket or expired tags. I know you have heard all of these, and countless others, from legal patients, if you have any of them, as well as from normal criminal clients.

What's comes next? The infamous "I smell pot"....probable cause? If they don't all a search, out come the drugs dogs who have been trained to alert on command by their handlers. (A person who is now a patient used to train these dogs...and how to teach them to "alert" on command)

I've heard stories from many patients who were pulled over by the cops...and these patients don't even SMOKE their medication and had no cannabis in their vehicles. You haven't heard of them doing this, Alex? If you haven't, then you're not handling enough cases.

The idea that they won't have the "resources" to do all this testing is simply specious. How much additional money will be going into law enforcement from 502? Do you think they aren't writing DUI's right now because they have no resources?

They're taking blood now, even though this is not statutory limit. Once they have one, and they know the cases will be solid, they'll ramp up to do it regularly.

What will patients do at that point? Argue probable cause? Yeah, right.
They'll all have public defenders and they'll be screwed.

NAW seems to be arguing that the "American public has been misinformed for decades"....so rather than trying to inform them, it's just easier to give in to their misconceptions and throw patients to the wolves, even though NAW knows that all these patients are NOT impaired. And the only reason for doing this to patients is to get the votes you think you need from these misinformed people.

It's clear that the philosophy of the NAW is that the end justifies the means....no matter how many patients will suffer. Do you people have no conscience whatsoever? Do you realize that there will be patients that will lose their jobs, lose their homes and become homeless, lose their vehicles to impound....and generally have their lives ruined simply to get your organization a few more votes?

Sorry....we're never buying that argument!

95
@CannaCare
Look. I’m sorry you are so upset. But read Allison’s and my posts above. They should answer your questions.

I’m not asking you to buy into anything I say. I’m just explaining so that voters get both sides of the equation and can make an educated choice. What we all get to do is wait and see what happens if and when I-502 passes. I believe that my predictions on what this initiative will do for the country will eventually come to pass.

I’ve said it once before, and I’ll say it again: The challenges to I-502, though originally flowing from legitimate concerns, appear now to be desperate attempts to trigger emotional responses to gather support in opposition to it. Are you forgetting about all of the people forced into treatment, jail and financial ruin because of convictions for simple possession, DOC violations, and probation violations? I am not. Are you forgetting about the stigma that is still very much attached to marijuana use and that will need to be alleviated to trigger reform on a national level? I am not.

Your goals are very patient orientated. My goals reach much further than that. We really have chosen different paths. Please don't view my position as a personal attack on you or an attempt to deceive the voters. That really is not the case.
96
It sounds like the NAW company line again. Set up the 50,000 patients of Washington State to take a fall on DUI charges so that non-patient stoners won't convicted of possession? It's OK to ruin our lives as long as the stoner community is safe from arrest?

It's lucky your polling didn't tell you that you get a sure-fire win if you could just get rid of all those pesky Jews.

Do you folks at NAW really think we're just going to stand around and watch you criminalize us and not fight you tooth and nail? You don't get to throw us to the wolves just so you can get a few more votes.

And what about all the patients who suffer from anorexia or who are cancer patients that are undergoing chemotherapy? Many of them take prescription Marinol and don't use cannabis at all. I guess they'll all be getting charged with DUI's as well. I'm sure they'll all sleep better knowing that they're going to have to give up their prescription medication, or face DUI's, just so you and your constituents can have a legal ounce of pot. I'm sure that they'll be happy to make that sacrifice for NAW's idea of "the greater good".

You want voters to get "both sides of the equation" so they can make "an educated choice"? Then why does the NAW website FAQ for medical cannabis patients fail to mention that this initiative will criminalize all of them? You'd think they might want to "educate" themselves about THAT little missing detail before they sign their legal rights away. Was this just an oversight on your part? Are you forgetting about all of the totally innocent patients that will be "forced into treatment, jail and financial ruin" simply because you don't want that same fate for recreational pot smokers? If this is NOT "an attempt to deceive the voters".....what would you call it? Selective education?

You're right...I'm standing up for patients. Obviously someone has to protect patients from the evil intentions of NAW.

97
It's hard to not see it that way Alex when you all refuse to see (or at least admit) just how detrimental adding a per se limit to our state would be. To say it would be anything less than dangerous would be disingenuous.
98
If patients were being pulled over at alarming rates right now with high active THC levels, then I would possibly sympathize more with your position. However, this simply is not the case. If you disagree with me, post the stats. I am basing my opinions off of what I actually see in the courts where I am from. Furthermore, I continue to stand by all my comments above.

Anthony, I appreciate your response immediately above. This request is not a personal jab at you, and I have already drawn my own conclusions on these issues, but why doesn’t SW publicly provide the following on its website:

1) A detailed step by step analysis on why hemp would not be legal under 502 should federal law change, taking into consideration the whole of 69.50 RCW and the processes by which substances/chemicals can currently be rescheduled.

2) A detailed response as to why SW disagrees with this analysis regarding preemption: http://www.newapproachwa.org/sites/newap….

All I’ve heard so far are parroted conclusory statements when it comes these issues. SW, please publically provide answers to these questions that can be peer reviewed. NAW did.