Now that the No on I-502 PAC is officially taking contributions to help the Drug Czar defeat legalization, it’s time for me to review the latest half-truths, scaremongering, junk science, and outright lies being propagated by those who feel this legalization isn’t perfect enough.
One of our Drug Czar’s top national policies is encouraging states throughout the nation to adopt a per se DUID policy
MISDIRECTION. The TOP national policy of the Drug Czar is to “take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of” marijuana. I recently debated Kevin Sabet, who was a top advisor to Gil Kerlikowske (2009-2011) in the Drug Czar’s office. I asked him if they’d be happy to see I-502 pass, since it has a per se DUID in it. He laughed at me and said, “hardly”.
the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has warned us about these types of limits (and are currently doing a nation-wide alert to stop the same limit in Colorado)
INACCURATE. Our alert in Colorado is not “nation-wide”; it is issued to our Colorado subscribers only. HALF-TRUTH. The DUID limit in Colorado is a stand-alone bill that doesn’t also include legalization. Per se DUID is bad enough to oppose on its own, but not so bad as to reject legalization. It’s like asking whether you favor eating dog shit. If someone just asked you to eat dog shit, you’d reject them. But if that someone was keeping you and your family and friends in a cage indefinitely and told you the only way you’d ever be released is to eat some dog shit, you’d eat some dog shit.
When voting to “legalize” cannabis, one doesn’t expect sharing (such as passing a joint in a circle) to continue as a class C felony, nor do they expect growing even a single plant to remain completely illegal.
IRRELEVANT. Passing a joint is illegal now, growing a plant is illegal now. Whether you think that is “legalization” is an argument of semantics. When I-502 passes, you could talk to a cop at your doorstep while smoking a joint and he could do nothing about it. Does that sound more “legalization” than what we have now?
I-502 mandates this [zero tolerance DUID] policy for those under 21, ignoring the fact that individuals can possess medical cannabis in our state under 21.
DIFFICULT. I don’t like it, either, but a legalization law that can pass is going to have a 21-year-old age limit. It is going to have to address fears of youth use and diversion and reckless driving. I don’t know how many Washington patients are of driving age but under 21, but I’m betting it is less than the 10,000 Washingtonians who’ll be busted for an ounce or less if I-502 fails.
Gives the Liquor Control Board the authority to control and regulate the amount of THC in the cannabis being sold in the proposed retail locations.
SO WHAT? If you’re a patient, you’re not shopping there anyway, you’re growing your own. If you’re not a patient and the store weed is too weak, you’ll get good weed from another source. No matter where you got it from, possession of an ounce of it will be legal.
the entire distribution system will be challenged and defeated in court as you can’t force a state to accept taxes from a federally illegal substance, as encoded into our Federal Controlled Substances Act).
IRRELEVANT. That is the exact same argument we can make for any medical marijuana state, like Colorado or New Mexico or Rhode Island, that is currently accepting taxes from a federally illegal substance. That didn’t seem to compel any “No on I-692″ PACs back in 1998, or any complaints from medical marijuana activists when they were trying to pass dispensary language that Gov. Gregoire vetoed, did it?
Forces all business applicants (whether for growing or selling) to submit their fingerprints to the FBI, more than likely leading to harsh federal penalties placed upon those who may feel they’re protected under state law.
IRRELEVANT. The “harsh federal penalties” would come down on a pot grower regardless of whether the FBI has his fingerprints. And there are such fingerprinting requirements in many medical marijuana states, but I never heard any of those state’s activists forming PACs to defeat those “not perfect” bills.
Claims to address the issue of hemp, but they do so by mandating arbitrary restrictions, forcing farmers to keep hemp at or under 0.3% or risk state prosecution
HALF-TRUTH. The writer fails to mention that 0.3% as a standard for industrial hemp is an international standard, brought about by Hemp Industries Association as part of their “test pledge” program to make sure people who eat hemp products don’t trip a pee test for pot metabolites. Every country on earth growing industrial hemp is abiding by that mandate.
NAW currently claims that Initiative 502 won’t fall victim to federal preemption
UNTRUE. NAW has always provided the info that any of this can be pre-empted by the feds, which, again, holds true for Washington’s current medical marijuana law. Is the message here “don’t try legalization if it will make the feds mad?”
NAW claims that I-502 treats cannabis like alcohol. This is obviously a falsity.
SPLITTING HAIRS. Of course it isn’t treated like alcohol for all the reasons you listed and more. But right now, marijuana is treated like heroin, LSD, and PCP. I think being allowed to have an ounce of marijuana without any punishment whatsoever beats the current misdemeanor with a mandatory 1-day jail sentence that can be up to 90 days and a $1,000 fine.
Initiative 502 makes Washington State one of the only states in the country that have a per se DUID policy for cannabis without an exception for patients. Nevada is one of these other states, and the year after they instituted a per se limit for cannabis, there was a 76% increase in cannabis DUIs.
FAULTY RESEARCH AND CONCLUSION*. Apparently you didn’t read far enough down into the comments. Delaware and Michigan are two medical marijuana states with no exemption for patients. The scary “76% increase in cannabis DUIs” is wrong on two fronts: 1) it was an increase in “DUIs” of all types, including alcohol and other drugs and 2) the “increase” was due to the fact that in 2001, 31 law enforcement agencies reported DUIs to the FBI; in 2002 it was just 3 agencies; in 2003, they submitted incomplete data; and in 2004, they went back to 31 agencies reporting. So the 76% increase from 2002 (pre-per-se-DUID) to 2004 (post-per-se-DUID) is like noting that 31 soccer teams scored 76% more total goals in 2004 than 3 soccer teams did in 2002.
NAW claims that they have the science behind the mandated per se DUID limit. This is clearly not true, as there is absolutely no scientific consensus to support any per se limit, better yet a specific 5 ng/ml limit.
HALF-TRUTH. It is true that there is no specific number of THC in blood that will guarantee someone is too impaired to drive. However, the available science does show that most cannabis consumers are impaired to a point of creating additional risk when they are above 5ng/mL. Since newly-legalized marijuana is going to mean a bunch of new, inexperienced pot smokers, that would be a logical limit to apply to them. It is, as claimed, not accurate for experienced, heavy tokers… but the No on I-502 faction keeps claiming that these pot smokers wouldn’t be impaired at all, so why all the worry about getting pulled over?
(Ah, yes, the “broken tail light” or “failure to signal” or “expired tags” or any other simple mechanical failure that tokers would be wise to check before driving anyway. Which then leads to the cop suspecting the driver is impaired. Which then leads to a sobriety test. Which, if failed by this person who is supposedly unimpaired enough to drive, leads to a blood draw. Which then comes up >5ng/mL, which leads to a DUID conviction. But the problem with that scenario is that it is the exact same scenario the experienced, heavy toker is risking now. I have yet to hear of – and I have asked repeatedly – of a single pot smoker who’s ever beat a 5ng/mL blood test and failed sobriety test in court.)
NAW claims that we can easily change these problems later, when clearly this is disingenuous, or at the best naive. As for the per se limit, “drugged” driving laws are essentially never decreased, and altering it would be a political impossibility, at least for the near future
SPECULATION AND INACCURATE. Drugged driving laws have been decreased in those cases where states like Arizona and Rhode Island instituted exceptions to per se DUID for cannabis patients, and where the Georgia and Michigan courts have ruled against the introduction of metabolites in DUID trials. Alcohol DUID, it is true, has decreased from .10 to .08 and there are calls for even lower limits – but this is irrelevant as there is solid science linking blood-alcohol levels to accident risk and impairment.
Whether anything can be “fixed” is entirely speculative, but I’m willing to bet it is easier for citizens with a right to possess and use an ounce of legal cannabis to lobby for positive changes than it is for criminals to make changes.
The truth is, whether you’re in support of it or not, it’s hard to deny that Initiative 502 is riddled with faults, inconsistencies and dangerous policies. Washington State is one of the strongest supporters of legalized cannabis. We can do better. We encourage you to vote NO on Initiative 502, or, at the very least, beware of what you’re getting; which is not what it’s being presented as.
DIVERSION. All legalization initiatives and bills are riddled with faults, inconsistencies, and dangerous policies. I-692 legalized a “60 day supply” of medical marijuana, yet there was no No on I-692 PAC warning people how dangerous that would be, “more than likely leading to harsh federal penalties placed upon those who may feel they’re protected under state law” when the “60 day supply” that was OK in Seattle turned out to be criminal possession in Yakima. I never saw a No on I-692 PAC that warned medical marijuana would “lead to any meaningful change to our cannabis policies getting pushed off for years, as the citizens of our state will feel like they’ve already” taken care of the sick and disabled. I never heard No on I-692 PAC warn that allowing the state to increase limits to 24 ounces and 15 plants would “set a negative example that could turn people away from [medical marijuana] throughout the state and country”, when abuse of these high limits on the West Coast has done just that by killing home grow in the East Coast medical marijuana states. I never heard No on I-692 PAC refer to the absence of protection for PTSD, anxiety, and depression as “not the route we should be taking with [medical marijuana]” because of the terrible example it would set.
Yeah, it seems that when it comes to medical marijuana, any bill is a good bill, regardless of faults, but when it comes to legalizing for the rest of us healthy tokers, either “a 5′x5′ garden is too small” (CA: Prop 19 2010) or “it doesn’t fully protect medical” (OR: OCTA 2008) or “it’s not true legalization” (CO: A64 2012) or “growing and sharing are still illegal” (WA: I-502 2012) or some other crazed speculation of federal/corporate take-overs, Machiavellian asshole cops, incredibly unlucky perfectly-unimpaired drivers who somehow fail sobriety tests, or federal officials who come down hard on legalization as they haven’t done on medical.
* This is what you get when you rely on bloggers paid by alleged sex trafficking enablers for your marijuana research…