Nov 072012
 November 7, 2012

Sensible Washington i502Moving Forward

Initiative 502 has passed in Washington State, with portions of the measure becoming law on December 6th of this year (the 1 ounce decrim and the new DUID mandate). The rest will follow a year later. Regardless of what side of the debate you were on, this is the reality of our current cannabis policies in Washington State. Part of Initiative 502 will soon be law.

We first want to congratulate those behind this initiative on their success. National headlines proclaiming that “Washington State Has Legalized Marijuana” will benefit the movement, and decriminalization of an ounce will stop many unneeded misdemeanors.

That said, we opposed this initiative for good reason. Rhetoric and politics aside, the new driving under the influence of drugs policy for THC, which is per se (meaning your blood level, not impairment, is the determining factor for guilt), will ensnare innocent individuals, especially patients, and especially those under 21, for whom it’s a zero tolerance policy. We must work to remedy this.

We urge individuals to take extra precaution, because this limit has nothing to do with impairment. Probable cause is at the discretion of the officer, and there’s only so much you can do to avoid getting a DUID under this provision. Consider taking these extra steps before driving:

  • Never drive with a cannabis-friendly bumper sticker
  • Do a quick inspection of your vehicle, making sure there are no obvious problems, like broken taillights.
  • Make sure that you do not smell like cannabis when you leave the home – use deodorant, perfume, etc., even if you haven’t smoked in hours. The slightest scent could give the officer reason to test your blood, and to assume you’ll be above the 5, or 0ng/ml limits.
  • Be cautious when driving with any amount of cannabis on your person, even if it’s under an ounce. Possessing even a gram is enough probable cause for an officer to search you, and test your blood.
  • Understand that even if you consumed cannabis days ago, you may not be safe, and should take these precautions. Active THC lingers in the body for days, and we have no home test for individuals to determine if they’re below 5ng/ml before they drive.

Given the concerns with this limit, and givin it has no scientific basis, we will work vigorously on making a change to this policy. The Legislature can’t alter it with a majority vote for 2 years (though they can with a two-thirds majority vote), but we will lobby our state’s house and senate to try and build support for a repeal of this mandate.

In addition, we will continue to work towards bringing meaningful reform, and true legalization. Once Initiative 502 has taken full effect, cannabis will remain a schedule 1 drug under state law, next to heroin. We will continue to work on removing cannabis from this list, and repealing the laws that make it illegal for adults, just as our state did with alcohol prohibition.

We urge individuals not to grow complacent with this new law. People will continue to be thrown in prison for cannabis for felony charges, such as possession of 40 grams, and possession of a few plants. I-502 does nothing to change this. As even the most diehard proponents of I-502 have often claimed, this initiative leaves us far from the finish line.

Activists in this state must continue their work towards ending this failed prohibition of yesteryear.

We want to send sincere congratulations, and a round of applause, to the State of Colorado and to the proponents of Amendment 64  – cannabis has been legalized in Colorado! We will all benefit from the message this sends across the world.

Source: Sensible Washington

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Skeptic

    Yeah… these crackpots are going to get their initiative passed… right. Lol good luck!

  • Shred

    Thanks for the driving tips, I will be sharing this article with my friends as a heads up.

  • Skeptic

    “Possessing even a gram is enough probable cause for an officer to search you, and test your blood.”
    LOL! They are STILL farmongering? Perhaps they feel the need to continue to justify their opposition. Possession cannot be probable cause if it’s legal. Doesn’t Hiatt call himself a lawyer?

    • AnonymousOne

      That’s hardly a rebuttal. If an officer pulls someone over and sees them in possession, what’s to stop them from finding other subjective evidence of behavior or circumstance to use ‘probably cause’ and illicit a drug test?

      • TheDude

        The officer is not gonna be able to distinguish the smell of recently smoked marijuana and unsmoked marijuana that is radiating out of the bag,officer is just gonna smell marijuana….If the officer smelled alcohol in the vehicle instant field sobriety test,officer smells marijuana in vehicle then instant field sobriety test,the smell alone is your probable cause

        • The GS Conspiracy

          Actually, they can distinguish between “green” and burnt marijuana.

          -Which is why claims of “1 gram = Probable Cause” are so disgustingly misleading.

          If you reek of blunt smoke, that might be considered evidence of possible impairment – but possession and little “green” smell won’t cut it.

          They already make this distinction. Burnt marijuana is equivalent to having alcohol “on your breath”. Its not enough to draw blood (or a breathalyzer) but it may result in a field sobriety test.

  • jrsacchetti

    What I would like to know is… once 502 is inacted, where and when, in WA, can I purchase marijuana? Thanks

  • Old Timer

    Not to push BUT…. where and when can I purchase marijuana in WA state?

    • Skeptic

      @Old Timer and jrsacchetti
      As of December 6th, it is 100% legal to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana from any source, though it’s still a crime to sell it. The legal stores will come online after the liquor control board goes through a rulemaking period, which could take anywhere from 6 months to a year. I’d expect the stores to come online in 2013.

  • geographber22

    Man i used to support sensible but they really are acting like fox news. The DUI thing is really going to be minor. You think a cop who first must get probable cause is going to take hours to process a pot DUI. I just don’t see it and you can easily argue that having cannabis in your vehicle is not probable cause because its legal for possession of an ounce. I agree the DUI thing needs to be reformed but honestly work on fixing it instead of fighting small amounts of progress.

  • AnonymousOne

    How does the Colorado legislation differ from Initiative 502? If I hear you correctly, your issues with 502 are the DUI potential, that possession of more than 32 grams is felony, that you cannot grow for personal use, among some other things.

  • alex

    what if you have a green card and you are under 18 can you still get your medication?

    • http://disqus.com/notspicoli/ notSpicoli

      I-502 does not change the state’s medical cannabis law.

  • http://disqus.com/notspicoli/ notSpicoli

    What is great that we no longer have to argue about I-502. It has passed. That is the reality. People can continue to spew misinformation and fear but it matters not, because it passed. For now, it is now the law. Deal with it.

    “Sensible” Washington turned itself into an anti-502 group which sapped it of any remaining credibility and is now offering an unneeded alternative to that which the majority of the citizen’s approved. That’s so, “Old Approach” Washington.

    As the “advice” given above was a concealed polemic, it left out the number one piece of advice when stopped, keep your mouth shut and do not consent to any searches.

  • David

    OK 1 without I-502 all those pro cations are still necessary and there is no test to find duii if thy smell you go to jail

    2 what pot head relay need more then a oz on hand(me being one i know i don’t need that much why because when i finish it i go get more) and if you are having a party that’s 1 oz for every one over 21 and its 1 oz for every one in your house over 21 so if you are married that’s 2 oz

    3 you should not be smoking then driving simple as that

    4 thy first need a reason to pull you over so if you get pulled over you did something have a broken tail light swerve run a stop sine stuff like that

    5 if you can go to a store to buy why do you need plaints even with liquor you cant make it at home stills are still illegal even tho liquor is legal

    6 the .08 alcohol limit is just as unscientific as the 5ng/ml one i know if im at .05 alcohol i am smashed cus im a lite weight with alcohol and should not drive but my brother at .10 is still 100% coherent so intoxication has never had anything to do with it and its not like theirs a breath test for it and thy will still half to conduct a filed sobriety test before thy can take you in for a blood test just like with alcohol

    all this being said i love the new law and be saying we need to do this with pot for to long there is still work to be done to iron out the little things like the right blood limit and there is a big thing we need before we even worry about the blood limit and that is the fed gov cus im more worried about going to fed jail for possession then going to county jail for duii

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamesie.meags Jamesie Meags

    I wake up and probably pee more than 5ng every day!!!! It took me 10 weeks clean to pass a store bot pee test!!! So if I get pulled over and tested even thou I havn’t smoked in a week I would still be DUID. How dose that work out???

  • Mordred17

    People should realize that we are a long way from being out of the woods. The feds have not yet announced a policy of forbearance and they may not ever do so. The system designed by 502 depends on processors and retailers being licensed and they are the going to be the targets if the feds decide to close the thing down.

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