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Will The Grass Be Greener On The Other Side? One Smoker Still No On Washington I-502

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soapboxIs this the year for marijuana legalization, anywhere? More lives are ruined and redirected, not because they smoked a joint and did something corrupt, but because they smoked a joint and got caught.

The marijuana stigma that lives is real, and yet sometimes we help provoke it by just being us. Provoked when on the road all I want is to smoke a joint or bowl to call it a day, so I have to sit in my car or find a corner to take a toke. A joint isn’t so bad, but when I smoke a bowl, images of a weathered crack head run through my head and I ‘am non of that: As I lean down to spark my bowl out of sight, I can only imagine what a passerby would think of if they saw me.

I know my flaws and marijuana is not the cause for them, it just helps me accept them at the end of the day; like Prozac but safer. Smoking weed is medicine, medicine for your soul and body; just because it doesn’t come in a pill with the name Pfizer on it doesn’t make it not so.

I’m and idiot, man, but marijuana didn’t do that to me.

As we get closer to voting for or against I-502 in Washington State, tempers are flaring amongst pro-pot activists (ever hear of a strictly anti-pot activist? I haven’t). There are those against it for the D.U.I clause and/or the commercialization of marijuana and then there are those that say they’re there in it to make it better for everyone else.

Personally I would love nothing more than to see the legalization of marijuana, but I believe this is not it. What the pro-502 people are calling the gray legal market, I’ll call the green market; as in, after I get my groceries I stop at the green market and pick up my medicine. I get the medical format isn’t perfect but nor would be the supposed state legalization of it, simply because the D.E.A will not stop raiding dispensaries, even if its a state run store. Though that would be kind of awesome to see, the case of The State vs. The Fed.

Since medical marijuana dispensaries here in Seattle aren’t picketed and have blossomed and prospered in surrounding areas, I think says something: People realize marijuana is safer than booze – cigarettes to for that matter.

Pro-502 proponents will ‘gaff off’ what I have to say as “Well, you like hiding behind your medical card while hundreds will get arrested.” I say yup. I say lead by example when it comes to marijuana. Having yet to make a dollar in any aspect of doing this, I feel pretty confident coming from a smokers point of view, instead of dollars I’ve made a name and some pretty cool bragging rights. Fact is, every ‘wanna’ smoker can acquire pot, legally or not. And that every ‘wanna-be’ be legal smoker can go to a medicinal practitioner and pretty much get a qualifying diagnosis simply because of the shit in our drinking water and/or that last Big Mac they ate.

If the ones advocating for this state legalization are so hell bent on it, why can’t we focus more on justice? I’m not worried about future arrest; I’m more concerned about the past ones. If this bill becomes legal, will it expunge all those persons who have been and/or are incarcerated in jail? No. Will a person that was caught transporting a kilo be released or will they have to sit in jail while the system gets it shit straight?

washington medical marijuanaThe turmoil going on in the medical scene is enough to make one sick. Six months ago on my travels through Montana, medical marijuana flourished like wildfire. There was a point where I was driving on main roads seeing billboards for the best bud in town. Now those signs are gone simply because the medical side wasn’t strong enough to fight or just wasn’t united. That I can’t tell you, but this is the thing I want to avoid in Washington State.

Right now as a Washington State resident, I can travel anywhere from North to South, East to West, and acquire medical marijuana legally and safely by using WeedMaps or Kush Magazine to find quality marijuana.

Being arrested for a under an ounce, cited, or fine is not the end of a persons’ life in states that have determined it to be a low priority. I should know, in the early 90’s I had 3 separate incidents in sunny Southern California. Long before medical marijuana existed, marijuana wasn’t a concern for the average cop.

The first incident occurred at a concert in San Diego called the May Day Festival. Since my friends and I didn’t want to get caught smoking in the open amphitheater, we went to my car and proceeded to smoke a joint. Being the super alert smokers we were, nobody noticed the cops on bikes rolling up to us. There was no time to hide anything and luckily it was just only a couple of joints, I claimed everything as mine and was soon handed a $250 ticket.

The second time, I was hot boxing with my friend celebrating his birthday while cruising the strand in Oceanside, Ca. We came to a light and I made a left on a no left turn light. Soon I saw red and blue lights flashing behind me, as well as felt my heart drop. I had my friend put the bag in his pants and I put the pipe in mine. When I rolled down my window I knew there was no escaping the obvious as smoke billowed out as if there was a fire in the car. The officer asked if we had any drugs and I told him only marijuana sir. He inquired about meth and we adamantly said no (meth is a huge issue as most of you know, especially for me and my family, when you see what that drug can do; you really want no part of it). The officer asked to see our weed so I had my friend pull it out. The cop took the weed than sprinkled the bag out onto the sidewalk than he asked “How did you smoke this? Let me see what you used.” I than pulled my special little tool out with hidden bud chamber and all. The cop open the bowl (it was one of those steel pipes with various attachments) and dumped what was inside as well as he sniffed it just to make sure it was only weed. He then (to everyone’s dismay) handed me back my pipe and told me not to smoke and drive. Like a bunch of chorus girls in unison we were “Yes, sir” and took off with no ticket and little bit of celebratory bud that was in the pipes chamber.

So what good is this statewide legal bullshit anyways? If those who have taken a chance and gotten burn stay burn, why change what is good now? Can’t we build off of it? Sure the medical marijuana business is profitable, but so is the Viagra business. Who is curtailing that?

Cannabis is medicine. It’s also a spiritual right and a recreational tool. These are the things most people can’t wrap their minds around while they drink their beer and smoke their cigarettes.

The fight amongst cannabis is turning ugly with a writer from Seattle’s local indie rag mocking the anti-502 crowd and fucked up Facebook pages posting images and slandering the ones just trying to keep what we have good.

I side with the people of Sensible Washington and the Washington State Cannabis act, not only are they fighting against what could possibly be a bad law but they’re also offering alternatives like I-1208.

Is the grass is greener on the other side?

The fight is and has been a good one, but I don’t think settling for this state structured control of marijuana is the right one. I hate to be selfish (and really, isn’t that what we’re all doing), but I really like what Washington (specifically what surrounding Seattle area has) and I believe the new law could degrade what we have. Cry that the state will let the same growers grow, but now we’re going to have the department of agriculture involved in the quality of the farming and I really don’t want to have to remember when herb was organic like meat.

As much as it should be legal there should be no governmental body controlling it for profit.

In the end, what are we fighting for? Is it the automatic legalization of marijuana? If so, shouldn’t the schedule 1 drug thing be changed first? Or are we fighting for the respect and confidence of the future, for the general acceptance to no longer live in a virtual closet. As we see more and more marijuana in the mainstream, I believe we’re getting closer to that acceptance now. it’s a matter of the law following and innocent people to be freed, like the Marc Emerys and Eddy Lepps of our world.

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9 Comments

  1. Some Random Guy on

    The limit is so low, it will be illegal for you to drive for days to weeks after using cannabis. We’re just trading one crime (possession) for another (DUI). For perspective, the threshold for a positive on a urinanalysis is typically 20mg/nl. This law is 5mg/nl. So you can be clean enough to pass a piss test but still dirty enough to be guilty of a DUI. Sense, this does not make. I’m voting no.

  2. You mean why the author is advocating that people go out and falsely claim they need medical marijuana? Honestly, I just can’t listen to someone who’s telling me to go out and break multiple crimes when if I-502 passes I’ll be fine.

    My stance is, I’ll vote on all legalization initiatives and hope that one of them passes, haha. The bottom line is, non of these initiatives are perfect for everyone. However, they will begin the dialogue we need to continue breaking apart the draconian laws that we have in place now.

  3. “Fact is, every ‘wanna’ smoker can acquire pot, legally or not. And that every ‘wanna-be’ be legal smoker can go to a medicinal practitioner and pretty much get a qualifying diagnosis simply because of the shit in our drinking water and/or that last Big Mac they ate.”

    It makes one wonder why there is such a backlash against “medical cannabis” used by “patients.” Next thing you know, folks will say, “Hey, that’s not what I voted for” and will call medical marijuana a “sham.” Then the feds will get upset and enlist SWAT teams to close down the dispensaries, strip users of their constitutional gun rights, seize the property of the buildings housing dispensaries, go after the bank accounts of the financially struggling dispensaries, use the IRS to press tax evasion charges, pass ZERO nanogram driving laws, not allow for a medical defense in federal court and send people to the federal penitentiary,  etc. It could actually get ugly.

    It’s good we have a president who supports medical cannabis. And if we end of with a Mormon president I’m sure there will be no change in the highly supportive atmosphere that currently exists.

    And to those who worry about being arrested for marijuana, it is a relief  to hear that, “Being arrested for a [sic] under an ounce, cited, or fine [sic] is not the end of a persons’ [sic] life in states that have determined it to be a low priority.” No more being fired by employers, no loss of college scholarships, no more being arrested for marijuana being used in child custody disputes…

    But Seattle and its dispensaries will be safe. The feds know better than to mess with Washington. That would be as krazy as trying to shut down the dispensaries in California and Colorado, and we know that would never happen. And if they do, it’s not like you can’t get 25 people to go and march on the federal building in Seattle to show your irritation.

    I’m happy that we will have numerous petition options on the ballot in November. It couldn’t be that hard to get them on the ballot. Look how well it went for I-1068 and I-1149.

    Hopefully the mainstream voters will read your article and be comforted by your stories of driving down the road smoking marijuana and realize that the concerns that have kept marijuana illegal will fall away.

    Thanks for your well thought out post and advocacy. It reminds me of the quote from one of my childhood heroes, Alfred E Neuman, “What, me worry?”

  4. DarkerMatter on

    I can’t believe no one has asked the obvious question, a question that would burn the premise of this article to the ground. Oh well, if you stoners don’t get it, who am I to point it out? 

  5. The DUI piece may not be ideal but I don’t understand how someone would be against it because of that. I’d rather have it legal with the DUI rule than risk getting arrested. As it is now I’ve never been pulled over high so there is no reason I’d ever fail a blood test after the law is passed. Medical users won’t be tested just because they are behind the wheel, if they drive fine they will never have anything to worry about. Sure it’s not perfect but it’s soooooo much better than it is now.

  6. Steve Sarich on

    I’m in communication with Eddy Lepp nearly every day via email.  I’m forwarding him your article.  We’ve been discussing I-502 and he’s co-writing an article with me on the initiative.  We are in complete agreement with your assessment.  Great job!  Let’s keep the government as far away from cannabis as possible.  

    Forget not that Marc Emery is in a US Federal prison thanks to John McKay, a prime sponsor of this terrible initiative….and McKay proudly states that he’d do it again if he had the chance.  Shame!

    Steve Sarich

  7. I think you underestimate the potential cost to the state of I-502. It contains a great deal of addition spending even if no tax revenue is created. The likely hood of getting much tax revenue seems low as it is unlikely stores that sell it legally will materialize. The financial costs to the state of fighting the federal government in court will likely be tremendous. In the end it is possible all Washingtonian’s will get left with is an unbeatable DUI.
     
    Along with the article author, I also support I-1208 over I-502, but prefer 1215 to either of them
     
    Why don’t we just end civil and criminal penalties for adults and leave them in place for minors and the people that sell to them.
     
    That is what 1215 does.

    http://sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/FinalText_228.pdf

  8. I think you underestimate the potential of this law, and specifically the potential for conflicts with the DEA. The idea of Washington v the United States in court over cannabis is more than interesting. It has the potential to go to the Supreme Court and possibly even strike down cannabis’ schedule I status.

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