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Marc Emery Calls Out Anti-Legalization Marijuana Activists On Washington’s I-502


Free Marc EmeryThe Prince Of Pot Speaks Out About Washington Initiative’s Opposition

By Marc Emery

I have written thousands of words on the controversy surrounding Washington State’s I-502 legalization initiative. I even get people in my comments sections who hate me because of my opinions on the issue. Now, Marc Emery, the British Columbian marijuana seed seller doing federal time in America, also known as “The Prince of Pot” and one of the leading funders of the legalization movements in North America, has some harsh words for people who proclaim themselves supporters of legalization, but are actively opposingthis legalization.

“Most of our people in the cannabis culture who smoke, grow, or sell the herb don’t vote. The vast majority will never give money to political reform of any kind, most won’t gather signatures (unless they are paid) and will never write their congressperson or even a letter to the newspaper to condemn prohibition.

For the most part, our people are politically useless, unwilling and unable to organize, distracted by petty acrimony, and won’t actively support candidates or initiatives that will further the legalization of cannabis. For all the 250,000 stoners/pot people who come to Seattle Hempfest each August, the organizers can’t even get this mass to contribute pennies per person in donations, so pathetic is the sense of political responsibility among our people. Even a tremendous event like Hempfest suffers deficits because our people can’t collectively volunteer to give even ten cents per attendee to pay for its costs. Sad, sad, sad.

Should I-502 fail to pass in November, we’ll know who to blame, and who can be held responsible. The so-called grassroots could not manage to get their own initiative on the ballot, and in their frustration, they may choose to sabotage the best opportunity Washington State has had in the long history of prohibition to do what is possible — under the political reality of the day — to legalize marijuana.”

via The Importance of Washington’s Legalization Initiative I-502 | Cannabis Culture.

The primary objection to legalization comes from a tiny minority of the Evergreen State’s medical marijuana community. More accurately, the growers, doctors, and lawyers who serve the community, and the patients they’ve managed to frighten. The issue at hand is the legalization includes a per se DUID of 5ng/mL THC in blood*, which is “a ‘legal limit’ like alcohol for DUI” in layman’s terms.

What they’re righteously angry about is that having a number on a test about the pot in your blood is not a scientifically accurate determination of impairment, especially not as low as 5ng/mL and especially not for people who smoke (use) a lot of pot all the time. Like medical marijuana patients. And they are factually correct.

But that has been ratcheted up by the tiny minority to mean “No patients will ever be able to drive! They’ll all be getting DUIDs! There will be more DUIDs to replace all the 1 ounce pot arrests!” and so on.

The fact is that if someone who smokes (uses) a lot of pot all day every day gets behind the wheel today, they are most likely a DUID waiting to happen. Any amount of THC in blood is evidence to convict you of a DUID today. After I-502, there will actually be a “legal limit” of 5ng/mL you could be under!

Now, the difference, as opponents are quick to note, is the per se means “in and of itself” in legalese, which translates to “slam dunk” for the prosecutor who wants to try you for a >5ng blood test. If it’s per se, you’re guaranteed guilty, just like a drunk who’s over 0.08 BAC on the breathalyzer, even if he’s the best driver on the road. Today, it’s not per se, which means a prosecutor, while he can enter blood tests into evidence, must still prove the driver was impaired.

But if a >5ng/mL DUID case is a “slam dunk” after I-502, it is a “fast break lay-up” right now. If you go to court having tested at >5ng/mL, you’re not very likely to be acquitted. Especially since the cop had to have a) evidence of smoke in the car (in which case, you should get a DUID), b) evidence of your impaired driving (dash cam of you weaving out of lanes, failed field sobriety test, etc.), and/or c) you wrecked your car in order to get your blood in the first place.

And to extend the NBA Playoff metaphor, right now, DUID charges with <5ng/mL blood tests are “mid range jumpers”. There are plenty of examples of convictions below 5ng where that blood evidence convinced a judge or jury to convict, because who the fark knows what a nanogram per milliliter is and how much of it makes you too high to drive? ”She was at 1.6 ng/mL Your Honor…” OK, so is that a lot? What’s ‘high’, 100? 10? .08?

But after I-502 passes, those types of prosecutions become “half court shots”. Any competent defense attorney will just say, “Your Honor, my client is a medical marijuana patient who has developed a tolerance to her medication and, after all, she was only at 1.6ng/mL, which is less than a third of the legal limit for THC.”

However unscientific, unjust, and unnecessary this per se standard is — and it is — it is necessary from one perspective: political. Polling shows that over 60% of the “squares” one needs to pass a legalization initiative are more inclined to support it with the per se standard, while around 10% would oppose it because of the standard. When you get a six-to-one support bump from a policy change, you go with it, if you want to win.

marijuana legalization votes in the war on drugsAnd ultimately, you can wish for perfection, but to move forward we must win. Medical marijuana cannot possibly cover every deserving patient — I’ve known hospice patients who could not legally access it. Lives are lost or drastically altered every day over prohibition of marijuana. It is not something you can just wait around for the perfect opportunity to change or even the oughtta-be-better opportunity to change. There have been but eight previous statewide attempts to legalize marijuana that have gone before the voters in just five states over 494 possible opportunities in 42 years of Drug War prior to this year. California doesn’t get that chance this time around after a tiny minority helped defeat their shot with Prop 19, but two (and possibly three) states have the chance to be the first domino that begins to topple prohibition.

I don’t know about you, but I just couldn’t cast my vote along with the Drug Czar in support of continuing prohibition.


* This is not like testing positive on a pee test, where you might have smoked pot a week ago and still come up dirty. That’s metabolites. This is active THC, and it is the impairing molecule that gets you high.

Source: RadicalRuss.Com


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  • Johnny oneye

    Do you support ASA ? oct 16, rescheduling of cannabis on a federal level. Just curious I live in Ca., we went through this with prop 19. I see both arguments as valid.

  • As a cannabis card holder, after having
    read the entire 68 pages of pending “regulations” on the 502 initiative,
    I still have a few questions.

    My definition of
    legalization is that on a particular date anyone, anywhere in the state would
    be able to buy cannabis sativa, like any other medicinal herb or a head
    of lettuce.

    However, when there are 68 pages of restrictions and
    regulations, who are we kidding about “full legalization”…..that being
    said I want to ensure that I’ve not missed anything that would persuade
    me that yes is a better decision.

    Here are a few of my concerns if anyone could direct me to the answers?

    My understanding is that if 502 passes:

    all dispensaries will be operating illegally, it wasn’t specifically
    mentioned, but clearly they aren’t state licensed or approved, is that

    the state will control the number of Marijuana stores in any area

    the state will control the quality, strain & availability

    there will be no cannabis paraphrenalia in the state stores, no seeds, hash oil, etc

    medical marijuana patients must either grow their own or purchase ONLY
    from state approved Marijuana only stores, they will not be able to
    receive cannabis from other card holders?

    Were those multiple
    taxes mentioned? The producer will have a 25% tax, another 25% excise
    tax for the processor and another 25% tax at the retail level, plus
    state, local taxes etc.

    The estimated half billion
    dollars in taxes & fees yearly is certainly an incentive for any
    state, plus the attention to the lucrative forfeiture opportunities
    noted in the regulations.



  • OH

    Whatever, cop

  • OH

    The DEA makes excuses, Al Capone makes progress. The DEA refuses to speak, they hide like cowards, they are cowards. Why dont you defend your stupidity, prohibitionists?? Every last one of you is pathetic, why do you leave it to these UFO type people to make your argument why the Great Washington State, the Great State of Washington – which currently needs all that revenue – should have to knuckle under to BS that nobody will even stand up for and everyone knows is BS except for two IDIOTS who hide, who still believe the emperor is wearing some kind of special fabric. There isnt any right to drive stoned.

  • OH

    Enemy, possession of marijuana or paraphernalia will no longer be grounds for an arrest after 502 passes.

  • OH

    Sure you call yourself a friend, youre my enemy today.

  • OH

    Enemies, I am not going to call you any other names. Washington state needs that revenue, Al Capone does not need that revenue. Al Capone is getting close to winning the chess game and the DEA has nothing but excuses as Al Capone continues making progress, with their silver or lead strategy which has already overtaken our neighbor to the South the former nation of Mexico.
    Enemies, I do not care what you “claim” to believe. In this day and age we should not assume anyone is sincere who leads a reactionary political movement.
    I-502 will make paraphernalia and a user stash, no longer grounds for arrest.
    Never forgive your enemies, except “clinical” forgiveness – clinically forgive them but still treat them like enemies trying to do something that could get us all enslaved by Al Capone or bankrupt and probably both or worse.

  • Skeptic

    Thanks for pwning that fool. He makes money off of prohibition so of course he’s opposed to I-502.

  • Since when has it been a contest for who can Activist the hardest?

  • I will not vote for this. It is a bad law and what we will be left with after Federal Preemption will be worse than what we endure now. I-502 claims legality but that is technicality, it is decriminalization of an ounce with the moniker of legalization for tax and regulation purposes. It still leaves the misdemeanor charge if you possess 28.3-40 grams. If you possess 40 grams (that is less than an ounce and a half) or more you are guilty of committing a Class C Felony. If it passes I will not be allowed to grow my personal cannabis. I-502 supporters can call this bill legalization but it is anything but that.

  • ZZardozz

     Yes, they want NO restrictions OR taxes imposed on cannabis, or age limits either.  And they won’t vote for any initiative that doesn’t have all those conditions.  They forgot to mention how the tobacco companies and Montsanto are going to take over the plant and we won’t be able to get natural cannabis anymore, because we’ll be forced to buy it from them.  These are the same people that deprived us of that final 3.5% of the vote that would have given us victory on Prop. 19 in California.  Out biggest enemy is coming from within our ranks. 

  • ZZardozz

     I see,, you’ll only support it if the law is perfect and there will be no more debate.   In other words, you prefer the status quo and it’s ok with you if people go to jail for possession. 

  • ZZardozz

    Nobody is claiming that I-502 will change the position of the federal govt.   When we still had alcohol prohibition, individual states opted out of having their own prohibition laws, and repealed them.  From that point on, the only raids were federal raids.   If the federal govt. can enforce the anti cannabis laws nationwide, let’s see them do it with no state help.  That is what this is about.  Nobody is claiming that this is the final outcome or an end to the debate.

  • ZZardozz

    We had the same problem with Stoners Against Legalization when they didn’t support Prop. 19 in California.  These people were mostly the ones who benefit from the high prices of illegality.   If it wasn’t for the DUI aspect, they would also complain that big tobacco and Monsanto will take over production and give us GMO weed.  It is pure B.S. 

  • Steve Sarich

    The current price of medication for patients has been hovering around $280 an ounce for several years now.  The price that will be charged by the stores licensed and taxed by the liquor control board will be around $700 per ounce.  The sponsors of the initiative haven’t even argued with these figures.

    According to bill sponsors Dr. Roger Roffman and John McKay, from New Approach Washington, this will be “limited potency” marijuana….for $700 an ounce. (WTF is “limited potency” marijuana….and where will they get it?  If they do find it, who’d want to buy it…at ANY price?

    Keep arguing that it’s the greedy access points that are leading the fight against I-502.  But at least have the balls to show everyone some proof that proves your accusations.  The current access points, disappointingly, haven’t donated a singe dime to the fight against I-502.  Anyone can easily verify this information through the Public Disclosure Commission website that lists all contributor both for and against I-502.

    If cannabis is a medicine here in Washington, it should be treated like all prescription medication and not be taxed.  If the voters want to tax recreational marijuana, and people are willing to pay exorbitant prices for “pot-lite”, I guess we’ll find out.  But don’t be foolish enough to argue that marijuana is going to be cheaper under I-502.  Even the sponsors of the initiative aren’t stupid enough to argue that one!  

    That’s almost as stupid as you arguing that the cops aren’t really going to charge under 21 drivers with DUI’s if they have the opportunity.  You really think that the cops are going to become “good actors” just because you pass an initiative?  Can you tell me why they’re doing it now, even though medical cannabis is legal in the state?  Fourteen years after that initiative passed and they’re still busting completely legal patients.  You think they’ll somehow be more tolerant of recreational cannabis than they are of medical cannabis?   What planet do actually come from?   

    Let’s make it legal for EVERYONE to grow tha plant.  Then, and ONLY then, will the price drop significantly.  I-502 will make sure that never happens.  Once the state gets addicted to that tax money, you’ll never see them allow individuals to grow their own and lose all that money….NEVER.  This state never found a tax they didn’t fall in love with.  Just look at the liquor, gas and tobacco taxes…the highest in the country.  When do you think you’ll see them drop THOSE taxes?  So now argue that marijuana will be any different.  Anyone with half a brain already knows better.

    Steve Sarich
    NO ON I-502

  • jontomas

    Just keep trying to blind people to the GRAND PARADIGM CHANGE re-legalizing marijuana will effect.  This change will cause police and prosecutors to finally let go of this American Inquisition.  It’s clear your REAL motivation is to prevent re-legalization so you can keep charging outrageous prices for marijuana.  Give it up.  It’s just a plant, and the world is now realizing it.

  • jontomas

    The WHOLE country has a huge stake in what happens with re-legalization in Washington and Colorado.  That you deny this just highlights your hypocrisy.

  • jontomas

    Funny how you twist my words to say something I didn’t.  I didn’t call this measure the optimum marijuana policy.  I said it is the quickest and best way to GET to the optimum marijuana policy.  Your way gets nowhere at all, which you are apparently quite happy with. 

    This is the problem with medical marijuana.  It creates resistance to real reform.

    18-20 year olds will be MUCH better off when the environment changes to that of legal marijuana.  Police will have little interest in pursuing people who PERHAPS are less than 21.  

    The whole DUI situation will change rapidly after re-legalization, anyway.  Few police will pursue these cases of “statutory” impairment only.  They will be easily contested in court and thrown out.

    Get used to it.  Marijuana will be re-legalized, and the prices will come back down to earth. THAT’S what you are really afraid of.  Your greed has you trying to get everyone to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  – Just make a new plan, Stan.

  • jontomas

    This is nonsense.  Marijuana reform is a PROCESS, not an EVENT.  If we wait until the “perfect” bill comes along, we’ll never get anywhere.

    All such bills will have restrictions someone doesn’t like.  The only criteria here is, does this move marijuana reform forward, or not?  It CLEARLY does, by a tremendous degree.  In fact, it will likely be the blow that ends ALL of marijuana prohibition – nationwide.  – And THAT is the only thing that will take us to the perfect marijuana reform policy.

    That some “reformers” insist on not seeing this, indicates they are making money off medical marijuana, and are just using the supposed “defects” to keep marijuana illegal. 

    In this, you are no better than any drug gang.  — Quit trying to fool marijuana consumers into voting AGAINST their own best interests and continuing their persecution!

    We saw this same dynamic bring down California’s Prop 19.  This will not happen again!

  • Steve Sarich

    With public opinion swinging towards legalization, accepting new and more insidious forms of criminalization and prohibition at this point is idiotic.  

    Accepting outrageous taxation and government mandated “limited potency” cannabis is not an acceptable trade-off.  

    Sending young people to jail for DUID, and damaging their future, for a crime they haven’t committed, is nothing short of heartless and unacceptable. Voting to put patients in harms way for something NAW choose mischaracterize as “legalization” is just plain evil….but you seem willing to make that trade.  That, sir, is truly shameful.If the politicians in this state really want to have an impact on Federal marijuana policy, let them unschedule (not reschedule) marijuana here in Washington and remove it from the state controlled substances act (RCW 69.50), removing all criminal penalties for marijuana.  THAT they can do any time they choose and there is nothing on earth the Feds can do about it.  The power to regulate controlled substances lies with the states.  (Title 21, Section 903)Leaving marijuana in the Washington State Controlled Substances Act keeps it a criminal offense, it does NOT “legalize” it.  That’s just a fact. Get caught growing a plant and find out for yourself.Steve SarichNo On I-502

  • jontomas

    A few dispensaries are being raided, but overall, medical marijuana goes on functioning well.  It has been doing so since 1996, and will continue to do so as more states join.

    And these aren’t the only reforms.  Many states have decriminalized marijuana, and various areas have made enforcement of marijuana possession laws the lowest law enforcement priority.  Many don’t know it, but it is legal for all adults to have up to an ounce of marijuana in Alaska.

    Public support for ending the fraudulent marijuana prohibition has now passed 50 percent, nationwide, with around 60 percent in the Western states.  We are on the cusp of victory and the prohibition wall is full of holes and tottering.  When just one state succeeds in passing a re-legalization initiative, the whole thing comes crumbling down.  Most of the other states, and the feds, will soon follow.

    There is nothing the feds can do about it – short of having another 9-11 and declaring Martial Law.

    Shame on you for trying to deceive marijuana consumers into voting against their own best interest – perpetuating their persecution.

  • Steve Sarich

    Seventeen states have legal medical cannabis now and the fed are still raiding them, especially Colorado and California.  Medical cannabis was passed by initiative in these states and the dispensaries in Colorado are already “heavily taxed and regulated” and “state licensed”….but still the raids go on.  

    The Obama administration is hearing the message and he will continue to ignore it.  Sad, but true.  One more initiative is NOT going to change the feds’ attitude or aggressive actions against cannabis users.

    Steve Sarich
    No On I-502

  • Uncle Iroh

    I live in a state where you can never put initiatives on the ballot, I wish I had the chance to vote for something like this. Is the bill perfect ? No. should it pass ? Hell YES. I really hope it passes in all three states where it goes up for a vote. I can’t wait to see the headlines in the paper, Marijuana Legal !  I’m new to the activist thing but it would appear that getting shit done for legal weed is not easy.
    This has to pass to send a message to the Feds and more importantly the the world. I’m helplessly watching all this go down in my shitty state that has yet to even decriminalize marijuana. We need to unite behind the cause of complete legalization of marijuana on a national level. If this fails to pass
    it will be all the fuel the drug warriors need to keep their insane policies just the way they are. Remember right now they are winning, we are losing. We need to put some wins in our column right now. Remember , Mexico, Central and South America are also watching this and will react for legalizing Marijuana if these intiatives pass. The have already spoken out in favor of doing so and will only increase pressure on the USA to end the drug war as they see that it’s own people vote against it. 

  • Steve Sarich

    Under this particular  “reform” process, anyone under 21 can have their lives ruined by a DUID charge when they haven’t smoked in two weeks.  They will have a record for driving while impaired on drugs, even though they haven’t committed that crime.  I guess if you’re a marijuana consumer under 21, which is 3/4 of our college students, you be pretty stupid to vote FOR it, wouldn’t you?

    As the law stands now, they have to PROVE impairment to convict you of DUID.  Certainly no one is impaired 2 weeks after smoking a joint.  But since we now have proof from the National Institute on Drug Abuse that ACTIVE THC can stay in your system for a month, and this initiative says that ANY amount of THC is considered impairment under the law, you are automatically guilty and you have no defense in court.

    This is FAR worse on your criminal record than a simple possession charge.  You really don’t want a college or a future employer seeing a “drugged driving” charge on your record when you apply, do you?

    So tell me why 18 year old voters should vote for a law that imposes serious new criminal penalties on them for consuming cannabis?  Wouldn’t they have to be “insane” to do that?  If I was 18, this wouldn’t look much like “legalization” to me.  

    This will apply to 18-20 year old medical cannabis patients as well.  They can all vote.  They can currently grow and use cannabis legally.  They just won’t ever be able to legally drive again.  

    I wouldn’t count on THEIR support for your “optimum marijuana policy”.  It really doesn’t look all that “optimum” from where they sitting. It looks like they’re getting screwed by this new “marijuana reform”.  

    Try that agrument on a twenty year old college student studying to be an attorney.  I don’t think they’re buying that as “reform”.  

    Steve Sarich
    No On I-502

  • Uh, Steve, I was responding to your numerous insults that I quoted above. I wrote one sentence. 

    Actually, I did write more but decided not to post because every one of your repeated assertions has likewise been answered repeatedly. You are impervious to the facts. arguing with you is like pissing on a turtle.

    One example. You have written repeatedly, “the law [1-502] is written by the same federal prosecutor who put him [Marc Emery] in federal prison in the first place.”

    For the last time, John McKay did not write I-502. He was asked to sponsor it after it was written. 

    From the Seattle Weekly, September 28, 2011: “Dickerson has since joined forces with an array of legalization proponents to draw up an initiative, which given enough signatures will go first before the legislature in the next session, then before voters
    if legislators fail to act.”

    Fellow church member, Pete Holmes asked McKay to sponsor I-502. “But McKay didn’t have much time to weigh the matter. He was in Idaho about to go on a river-rafting trip. He says he liked what he heard from Holmes about the details of the so-called “New Approach” initiative. Unlike previous efforts put forward by the group Sensible
    Washington, which simply would have removed the criminal and civil penalties related to marijuana, this one would tax and regulate the pot industry. “I decided ‘in for a penny, in for a pound,’ ” McKay says.”Here’s the part that I didn’t post but after reading your subsequent and typically intemperate remarks, I have decided to speak what’s in my heart. “They are the biggest bunch of hypocrites in the cannabis movement.” (Sarich)

    Unlike you? The true reformer who crows, “I’ve been a well-known medical cannabis [advocate? sic] for the last decade.” There is no doubt that you are well known.

    Unfortunately, outside of the “cannabis community” you are renown as Steve Sarich, the “brash entrepreneur” (Seattle Weekly) who was growing 375 plants and shot and critically injured a home invasion robber.

    Frankly, you supporting I-502 would be a liability. To a significant number of the 3,677,919 mainstream registered voters in Washington state, you represent the worst aspects of medical marijuana and the medical marijuana industry. The best way for you to support the movement is to stay silent. Every time you spew you aid the prohibitionists and make it harder to advocate for medical cannabis users. 

    Recently, the Seattle Times, a friend of marijuana law reform, published an editorial by Bruce Ramsey which stated, “Now that this [I-502] is on the table, there is a sudden drawing back. For all the concern with prisons, gangs and deaths in Mexico, many users here don’t feel a big risk. We have a marijuana industry, lawful or otherwise, and people in it worry about being put out of business.” 

    In politics–the system whereby laws are made and changed–perception is reality. The possible is that which is passable.