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Will I-502 Truly Legalize Marijuana In Washington State?

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Sensible WashingtonI-502 Is The Most Debated Marijuana Initiative In The 2012 Election Cycle

By Douglas Hiatt, Co-founder of Sensible Washington

Washington voters are being told a big lie. New Approach Washington, the campaign behind Initiative 502, is advertising that it will “legalize” marijuana. It would not.

It creates a very narrow exception that defines the possession of one ounce by adults over 21, and the state’s rules for production, as “not a violation” of the law.

I-502 leaves every single law now making marijuana illegal on the books. Walk out of the state-sanctioned, licensed and taxed store and hand the marijuana to your significant other and it is a delivery of marijuana. This is not comprehensive, real reform.

What I-502 does change is our DUI law. Our current DUI laws are working just fine and result in conviction rates of over 90 percent. This initiative sets unneeded, unasked for and unscientific levels for impairment for adults (5 nanograms, rejected three times by the Colorado Legislature), while establishing a zero-tolerance provision for all drivers 16 to 21.

It also takes away your ability to defend yourself. If you meet the levels, you are guilty. No explaining that you are a patient, no arguing about the levels or tolerance, nothing. For drivers age 16 to 21, any detectable amount of marijuana will result in a DUI conviction and disastrous effects on their parents’ insurance.

This is not based on impairment; it is simply a new penalty for marijuana for kids. But it is a very impactful one for parents with teenage drivers. What parent wants to face the requirements for insurance and the expense of a DUI, all because of some youthful experimentation?

This initiative is also being sold as “pitting the citizens of Washington state against the federal government” and “carefully drafted” to withstand federal preemption. Not true. I-502 essentially wastes your vote to force federal change and will likely result in the federal courts construing this initiative to change the law to one ounce decriminalized, with nowhere legal to buy it and leaving the terrible changes to our DUI laws.

As U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan has stated, she knows of no attorney who thinks that this will survive federal preemption analyses. There are ways to avoid this drafting problem. See sensiblewashington.org for real cannabis reform.

Because the federal government will not allow the state to begin regulating and taxing a federally banned substance, these projections are moot. I-502 imposes taxes at three distinct levels and does not allow growers and sellers to be the same entity. This will produce taxes that will make the store-bought marijuana way too expensive to even begin to impact the current market.

I-502 will have absolutely no effect on criminal organizations in Mexico or anywhere else. To actually get the benefit of ending prohibition, as we did with alcohol, you have to actually legalize the substance in question, not play games and pander to fears. I-502 also fails to legalize hemp, which would open a $430 million domestic hemp market currently supplied primarily by China.

With regard to other criminal justice savings, because more than 90 percent of current marijuana possession charges are the result of traffic stops, the 10,000 possession arrests per year can easily be converted into 10,000 (or more) DUI arrests, thereby eliminating any savings in the criminal justice system stemming from reduced prosecutions. The zero-tolerance driving standard for drivers 16 to 21 will eliminate any savings on criminal justice costs and produce much misery for many families.

Just say no to I-520.

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59 Comments

  1. Confused. I got a dui a few months ago for alcohol. Now im being UA tested for a while. If marijuana comes up positive how can that affect me. Its now a legal drug and should have no issues if found in someones system. It doesnt even say on the sheet to stay away from marijuana. It says not to cosume illegal drugs. Does anyone know if I can get in more trouble testing positive for THC or is it ok now that its a legal substance.

  2. 502 passed and I do not fear any DUI check point or even fear getting pulled over .

    It is simple stop driving I stopped driving nearly 15 years ago but i do still travel using my personal convance . That means I do get into my automobile and travel where i need togo because when I travel I am in”pursuit of happyness ” and that is in the constitution of the united states. Also the laws give very good meaning to what a driver is and well to sum it up into a nut shell if you get paid to drive then you need a licence.
    BusDrivers, Cabdriers, TruckDrivers they get paid to drive or oparate or drive exstrodanary machines . Please look up the right to travel vs the right to drive .
    oh before somone says its a state law not a fed law you are totall right i forgot that oh wait no i didn’t . No state my write into law any order that is higher then the law of the land . Law of the land is the Constitution . just sayin

  3. thc isn’t a bad thing, like most substances your body builds up a tolerance to its intoxicating effects over prolonged usage.

  4. So based on your logic noone will grow tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, onions, carrots, strawberries, etc at home because its much easier to buy them at a store.

  5. ACTIVE THC actually CAN stay in your system for days! Inactive metabolites can stay in your system for weeks or even a month. I know people who had their blood tested 10+ hours after last use and tested 2-3 times higher than 5ng.

  6. johndavis0414@gmail.com on

    I think a lot of ppl are missing the big picture here. At some point, marijuana will be commercially available. The other thing you can count on is the government will control it in some way. Not just contol the product and money and laws establishing age, possession amounts and such, but the way its thought of by generations to come. They will fear the product much in the same way a lot of ppl do today about alcohol. And this will be because of the laws and educational programs develped to prevent abuse. They are gaining control by creating fear. Legalization of marijuana is not going to be an instant change. It is a path that is going to be a process. Home production will become a thing of the past shortly after national decriminalization. A lot of ppl used to make booze before. Now because of laws and wide spead information its a rarity because of the fear it created. It just took a few generations. The same will happen with marijuana. I so not live in WA but I so support this measure. I live in OR and voted yes on 80.

  7. I-502 raised over 4 million dollars to shut you people up against legalizing marijuana because the bill isnt exactly what they want. The medical marijuana community is lucky they have the fuckin rights they do! And its because of people like me, that voted to give you your right to medicate yourself. Dont forget that you ungratefull people of the medical community. Stop thinking of just yourself and vote so the rest of us have our god given right to use marijuana. It is just selfish. Who cares about this dui thing! Ive been poled over high before and unless smokes rollin out your windows or your bombed they arnt taking you to the hospital to blood test you. Use eyedrops once in a while, who fuckin cares you pussies. really.

  8. real people for real reform on

    i·de·al·ist   [ahy-dee-uh-list] noun 1. a person who cherishes or pursues high or noble principles, purposes, goals, etc. Synonyms: optimist, perfectionist, reformer, visionary, utopianist.

    i guess you could call me that on this because i-502 does not meet the standards of “legalization” and will open the door for harassment or worse for anybody who uses cannabis more then just on a friday night out with their friends.

    !!! VOTE NO on I-502 !!!

  9. real people for real reform on

    502 equals DUI’s!!! everybody keep in ind this will include your peaceful bike rides not to mention all other means of transportation motor or not…imagine the harassment door being wide open from soap in your eyes to a skunk being ran over in the area and subject to a blood test and a possible life changing moment of being hauled off to jail for failing a drug test from a joint you smoked the night before? you have to consider all of this, at least now the worst is a possible possession charge that will more then likely be just a ticket and you’ll be on your way home but that could all change into going to jail, spending 5,000 plus dollars in fines, plus attorney fees, plus classes, plus possible jail time…DUI’s are a business and they will be working very hard at making their business very profitable.

    !!! VOTE NO on I-502 !!!

  10. The Pragmatic Conspiracy on

    I’d like to address all the incoherent nonsense you’ve written one piece at a time.

    The 5ng limit is active THC only, which falls in parallel with intoxication. If you smoke hash-oil from dawn till dusk every day for 5 years – you might have to wait a little longer than a few hours, but normal users will be under the limit when they no longer feel “high”. The chemical you keeping mentioning the timescale for is THC-COOH, which is only tested for by employers.

    Progressive Insurance?!? Just how poorly informed are you?

    The contributor your referring to is Peter Lewis, not his insurance company. He is a long time supporter of legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis. He is a well known pot-smoker, and he stands to gain precisely nothing from 502’s passage. He supports it because its pragmatic and socially progressive policy with a chance of passage.

    You’ve either been lied to, or you’re a grossly overconfident moron.

  11. The Economic Conspiracy on

    That’s not a source, its a random website aimed at black market prices.

    Also – Colorado is a MODEL (I assume you know how models work) for what effect legitimate production has on price levels.

    The “price of weed” in Colorado is not the relevant statistic – its the TREND IN PRICE LEVELS.

    Colorado long had prices substantively higher than the West coast. Medical cannabis production was legalized – and now prices are lower than the west coast black market – and quality has improved. This downward trend can be attributed to legitimate production. 502 goes much farther in allowing large scale production. This means that prices can be expected to fall even farther than they did on Colorado. 50/oz might be a low figure, but it is INDISPUTABLE that prices will fall while quality improves.

    Its basic economics, and we’ve seen it happen already.

  12. The GS Conspiracy on

    Employers test for metabolized THC, which can stay in your system for weeks.

    502 explicitly states that tests will be for active THC only, which falls in correlation with intoxication. The only people subject to constant “over the limit” blood-THC are those who smoke large quantities of cannabis day in and day out.

    You are attempting to mislead people, and your not doing a very good job.

  13. real people for real reform on

    its not fear mongering if its the truth and the truth is a 5 nanogram DUI limit will jeopardize everyone who drives in the state of washington, this is why Colorado has voted again the 5ng dui limit 3 times in a row!!! And if you’d like to talk about profiteers, all voters should be well aware of the fact that progressive insurance is one the main backers for I-502 due to all of the SR-22’s they will be getting after the police start giving out dui’s to innocent people they cant even scientifically prove are impaired and could be arrested for the partaking of cannabis even days after NOT using any cannabis at all. you cant argue with science and thats the TRUTH!

    JUST SAY NO TO I-502!!!

  14. Do not be fooled, Doctors were used to bring the vast population of what they deemed the scum of society during the rise of Germany. Federal Government say’s pot smokers are drug addicts and criminals. Stop signing your freedoms away.

  15. real people for real reform on

    its called Colorado??? glad you’re familiar with the great state which by the way has voted AGAINST the 5 nanogram DUI limit 3 times in row due to its lack of science and lack fairness to drivers. It only takes one drop of poison to make the drink toxic and I-502 is completely toxic. WAIT FOR REAL REFORM PEOPLE!

    VOTE NO on I-502!!!

  16. real people for real reform on

    haha, that worst comparison yet, apples to oranges…an alcoholic can drink until they pass out wake up eat a good meal and be good to drive in most cases however a normal person chooses to smoke 1 joint after work and will then be vulnerable for a dui days after the fact … 5ng is 3 times lower then the 15ng it takes to currently fail a drug test for work, which people fail days or even weeks after stopping all use of cannabis.

  17. The Get Sarich Conspiracy on

    Its called an “economy of scale”.

    Inputs (like nutrients, soil, equipment) are far cheaper when you can buy them by the ton.

    The cost of production falls dramatically when you can grow 1,000 plants in a commercial warehouse. Current prices are based on 80 plants grown in a basement + an enormous risk premium because of the business’ illegality.

    We already have a model for what prices look like with legitimate production – its called Colorado.

    Even with their strict in-house growing rules for their dispensaries, they have prices far lower than both our black market and our med providers. Real production facilities will result in further downward pressure on retail prices.

    And “dirt weed”!?! – This is BY FAR the least coherent fear of the No on 502ers.

    Dirt weed wont even be legal to sell. Low quality cannabis wont meet contaminant standards. And what kind of dumbshit consumer would buy anything but top-shelf product when all they have to do is switch retailers to do so?

    Consumers demand quality. We will get quality. Its called competition, and its why your cell phone isn’t the size of a brick with a 2-hour battery.

    Vote YES on I-502

  18. The Get Sarich Conspiracy on

    I’ve read it numerous times. Its an excellent initiative with reasonable restrictions.

    The DUID provision is the reason its going to pass.

    And FYI – The only people who will be over 5ng days after cessation are those who smoke an enormous amount of cannabis. Your complaints have all the validity of a bunch of alcoholics complaining about the .08 BAC limit. If anything – it turns people against you.

    If you smoke all-day everyday, you need to take extra caution before you operate a vehicle, just like you do RIGHT NOW. Deal with it.

  19. real people for real reform on

    unless that step will put all cannabis users at risk of dui’s across the state with nanogram levels so low you’ll test positive for weeks after stopping all use of cannabis…NO on I-502!!!

  20. real people for real reform on

    freedom? drive much man??? cause if this passes you wont be after you get a dui, 5ng is so low you can get a dui days or weeks after stopping all use of cannabis…please dont screw all of washington with your uneducated yes vote…wait for real reform, its getting closer and closer so dont jump the gun with this carrot they’re dangling in front of us…VOTE NO on I-502!!!

  21. real people for real reform on

    50$??? where did you get this bs number? nutrients will cost them more then that unless you plan on buying dirt weed? and why would a state law have anything to do with the collapse of federal prohibition when we all know soon as the shops and grow ops are up and making money the feds will want their taste and the raids will begin…we should all want real reform for all real people not this narrow proposal of lies and deceit. NO I-502

  22. real people for real reform on

    Take a break from your wacky world and think about the next time you have to drive and the possible dui you could receive days or even weeks after using cannabis and you might realize how bad I-502 is for all of washington residents and visitors alike. its a trap for uneducated people who refuse to research what they are voting for?

  23. real people for real reform on

    why dont you quit with the spell check and read the actual prop I-502 and you might realize our rights are at stake here…you can save your proper english for the cop that takes you to jail for a joint you smoked days prior to his bullshit 5NG test.

  24. real people for real reform on

    alright mr. uniformed who’s going to f**k all of Washington residents …what are you going to do when you get pulled over and get a DUI from a joint you smoked days before?…that will really help your precious career, think about the fact Colorado has voted against the same 5ng dui limit 3 times in a row!

  25. Seriously? Your age is on your license. They won’t have any trouble identifying who’s under 21.

  26. Its pretty hard to take someone seriously when they can’t even string together a sentence..

  27. Read all of I 502 . You need to be informed before you run your mouth … Look up I502 in full and read full prop . Then come back here and apologize mis informed one !!! You are the traitor giving our rights away for false freedom fool ! We need to write a new prop without thrown in stipulations : ) Do not f patients right we have fought so hard to establish because you are to juvinile to read the whole prop please : )

  28. “I-502 also fails to legalize hemp, which would open a $430 million domestic hemp market currently supplied primarily by China.”
    This is also a lie. I-502 legalizes hemp by redefining what marijuana is. It’s on page 5 and Hiatt must know this since he clownishly carries around a copy of I-502 (padded to make it look even larger than it is) and tells people they need to read it. It says that only cannabis with a THC content greater than 0.3% is considered “marijuana” for purposes of state law. This is the worldwide standard for hemp and the same way other countries have decriminalized it, including Canada.

  29. If the conviction rates are so high without a per se standard, then what on Earth are you so upset about? This is exactly what the I-502 supporters have been arguing for months. Thanks for undermining your own bullshit. Prosecutors have no difficulty convicting people of DUI now for LESS than 5ng of active THC. People are prosecuted now based on inactive metabolites! Also, you can not lose your ability to defend yourself in court! It’s a constitutional right, and the jury gets to m ake the final decision.
    Hiatt is reaching Sarich levels of dishonesty here.

  30. Even the longest march begins with the first step. Just because that first step will not take you all the way – that is no reason not to take it

  31. The only reason advocates post anonymously is because of the state-sponsored persecution you support. – After re-legalization, it will be American Spring.

  32. They ALREADY arrest people under 21. After re-legalization, there will be less of those arrests, because most police will not bother trying to distinguish between 21-year-olds and 20-year-olds.

  33. What juvenile attempts to deceive. They ALREADY arrest people under 21. After re-legalization, there will be less of those arrests, because most police will not bother trying to distinguish between 21-year-olds and 20-year-olds.

    I-502 will cause the quick collapse of the shaky federal prohibition. After the dust settles, average quality marijuana will sell for around $50 an ounce. – It’s just a plant.

  34. So what are you going to call recreational growers since they will be charging more. Collective gardens are for greedy people and pot stores are legit business people?

    Yay! Let’s give a voter approved mandate to the cops to go around busting all the people under age 21! Whoohoo! Screw those meddling kids. I want my legal ounce!

    Legalization my ass.

  35. Yay! Let’s give a voter approved mandate to the cops to go around busting all the people under age 21! Whoohoo! Screw those meddling kids. I want my legal ounce!

    Legalization my ass.

  36. I am not part of any group but I will be voting yes on I-502. I want the no crowd to answer this: what is better for me, a non disabled veteran who would like to smoke recreationally once in a while but doesn’t want to jeopardize my career or my wife and kids’ well being. Is the system in place now better for someone like me? I didn’t think so! Not legalization my ass…

  37. The Get-Sarich Conspriacy on

    Pure fact-less drivel.

    Not a single claim in this article has even the most tenuous connection to reality.

    Its made all the more insulting by the fact that the moment 502 passes, Hiatt and the rest of the “medical marijuana lawyers” will start positioning themselves to be the go-to attorneys for the retail-cannabis shops and producers.

    Traitor.

  38. The Get-Sarich Conspiracy on

    That’s right Steve, everyone who disagrees with you is just a paid shill for your enemies.

    The world is out to get you, and your the only honest man alive.

    Seriously!?! Just how thoroughly do you believe your own horseshit?

  39. I see the little anonymous Yes on 502 crowd have made up a couple of new fake names to use to throw around insults and innuendo. What creative little trolls. Where would they be without the anonymity of the internet?

    They truly prove that internet is so easy to use, that any idiot can participate.

  40. What an absolute joke of missinformation from yet more greedy profiteers of the cannabis movement, in bed with the feds and the prohibitionists, barely debating hypotheticals,and certainly not logically debating anything. NEVER FORGET THE TRAITORS!!!!! Yes on I-502!!!!!!!!!

  41. Ms. Cannabistan on

    whine whine whine…
    Mr. Hiatta whines because his own initiative failed…
    whine whine whine
    drama drama drama

    the fact is when Mr. Hiatt gets pulled over for a DWI it won’t be just pot they find in his blood and that is the real reason behind Mr. Hiatt’s whining and drama.