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Washington I-502 marijuana legalization qualifies for ballot, if legislature doesn’t make it law first | The NORML Stash Blog

I am the producer of The NORML Network, the host of the NORML SHOW LIVE and The NORML Stash Blog, and NORML's Outreach Coordinator. I'm married, live in Portland, Oregon, and I am a registered medical marijuana caregiver in this state. I've worked days as an IT geek and nights as a professional musician. Previously, I have been the host of my own political talk radio show on satellite radio. I've been the High Times "Freedom Fighter of the Month" and I travel across the country to educate people on marijuana reform. I've dedicated my life to bringing an end to adult marijuana prohibition and re-legalizing cannabis hemp, and I'm honored to be chosen by NORML to give voice to the Marijuana Nation and to speak for those who can't speak up.


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31 responses to “Washington I-502 marijuana legalization qualifies for ballot, if legislature doesn’t make it law first”

  1. Adrian Ritter

    I would like to apply for to start a marijuana dispensary in my area:98520 please send application to : 805 joann way,aberdeen,WA,98520.. thanks

  2. Bobriley

    I heard every dispensary is now required to send a sample into a laboratory for testing and If it doesn’t meet standards it is destroyed. Does anyone know what these standards are?! What if they make every strain have a lower thc count?

  3. colorado legalizes. mns members smile! - MNS Forums

    [...] THC metabolites in blood or urine would not qualify as a violation under the proposed law.) The controversial provision would lower the legal standard necessary in Washington for a criminal DUI cannabis conviction from [...]

  4. jack smith

    the thing i dont get, is the medical mj crowd, the 10%, dont give a damn about the rest of us. they maybe could have claimed they were helping medical patients, but not anymore, it is all about money, just like the DEA gets to enforce. dispensary owner are pure capitalist, that is the reason they take the risk they do right now. MONEY!

    another thing. just how often do u think this opportunity will come along, and make history to boot. all u have to do is look south to calif., where they found out, that it is not a guarantee to be on the ballot at all.

    i think the 10% are extremely selfish, and dont realize that u have to win the battles, to win the war. their all or nothing (perfection) is non-sense. no initiative or bill is perfect, thus the legislature refines them all the time. and, right now, we live under a no tolerance policy, so where is the problem? seems to me that the THC issue will be around a while, getting refined. but,, that is no reason to turn yur back on I 502. like i said before, it is the GREED that is in play with the medical mj crowd. just us, or nothing at all, is a childish creed and position, and a glaring defect in their psyche. have the 10% heard of the golden rule? peace.

  5. NORML Endorses Washington’s I-502 Legalization Initiative

    [...] primary concerns with I-502 is the oft-discussed-on-this-blog 5ng/mL per se DUID standard of THC in blood, the zero tolerance DUID for those under 21, and the [...]

  6. NORML Endorses Washington’s I-502 Legalization Initiative | The NORML Stash Blog

    [...] primary concerns with I-502 is the oft-discussed-on-this-blog 5ng/mL per se DUID standard of THC in blood, the zero tolerance DUID for those under 21, and the [...]

  7. Opinion: Just Say No To I-502, Or At Least I Will « My MMMP

    [...] Johnny and Radical Russ, I use to feel any form of legalization is a good form of legalization but after receiving my [...]

  8. Washington: Marijuana Regulation Measure Certified For 2012 Ballot

    [...] THC metabolites in blood or urine would not qualify as a violation under the proposed law.) Thecontroversial provision would lower the legal standard necessary in Washington for a criminal DUI cannabis conviction from [...]

  9. Allison Bigelow

    First, many casual consumers, free to possess and legally consume 28 grams of cannabis, will perhaps begin to become daily consumers, as they choose to use cannabis rather than alcohol to relax in the evening, because now it is not illegal for their choice. They will test over 5ng.

    Second, are you serious, Russ? You are saying “If a person is legally entitled to possess an ounce, how is smell probable cause to investigate further? Does two ounces smell differently than one ounce? This notion that cops will shake down all weed smokers to see if they have more than an ounce is ridiculous….”

    How is smell not probable cause for further investigation? Do you think the the symbolic gesture of calling this decrim of 28 grams “Legalization” will cause the police to stop investigating the cannabis community? Casual smokers will be in the crossfire, not realizing when they light up daily in their home and not worrying about police because they possess less than 28 grams, that their neighbor may think they have a grow op going and report them. Will they be investigated or not? I think they will, by some law enforcement that do not respect cannabis users, and they will not by some law enforcement that respect the will of the people.

    Third, thankyou for pointing out the penalty of possession of 28gms or less (24 hours in jail with a possible maximum of 90 days, plus a mandatory minimum fine of $250, up to a $500 fine). You can see that it is far less expensive and less problematic for a person to get out of that trouble than it is to deal with a DUIC ( fine of $865.-$5000.00, minimum 1 day- 365 days in jail, 90 day suspension – 3 year revocation of driver’s liscence) And there is no way that you can get reduced to a lower charge, like neg 1 by showing there has been some tolerance, and the blood testing is unscientific and inaccurate. Worse, people under the age of 21 are allowed 0 ng THC, which could ensnare second hand smoke drivers, in other words, non intoxicated people. Casual smokers, patients, and people under the age of 21 will lose their right to a defense to a much more expensive crime. i just don’t understand how this is so attractive to you.

  10. Allison Bigelow

    Russ, do you know what the current penalty is in WA for possession of 28 grams? Do you think that if a police officer smells cannabis after I502 passes that he will leave the person alone or investigate? What will happen if the officer finds more than 28 grams? Do you know what the penalty is for DUI in WA? Since the per se law makes you guilty of DUIC over 5ng, it takes away the ability for your lawyer to get your charges reduced to a less expensive charge. Many casual cannabis users may test over 5ng. and will regret the trade off that they accepted when they see that they can still have their homes investigated for smelling like cannabis and be prosecuted for possessing a crumb more than 28 gms. Current penalty for possession of 28 grams is less than the penalty for DUI. Where is the benefit? The only one I can see would be symbolic, but would law enforcement respect it, or just use those guidelines as they investigate everyone that begins to smell like cannabis looking to make sure they don’t possess more than they should.

  11. Mike Dar

    There are ‘Swab tests already. But testing materials could use some developement. As such it becomes a Chicken or egg first situation.
    I’m preety sure large amounts of rearch spending won’t happen without a good indicatior the end product(testing materials) won’t be needed.
    Of course the products will become better or worse as time passes, but the need, imo, comes first.

  12. Cory

    After California’s Prop 19 failed, you wrote an excellent analysis called “10 Lessons Learned from Marijuana Election Defeats” (dated Nov 8, 2010). But at one point you had said, “The next initiative must work with the ‘treat it like alcohol’ frame by providing a ‘breathalyzer’ equivalent for the stoned driver.” You made it abundantly clear, as now, of your loathing hatred for drug testing, but “Since the public believes in the breathalyzer as a magical scientific instrument than can detect and help punish drunk drivers, and since we’re engaging them in the ‘treat it like alcohol’ frame, they need something more tangible than ‘we’ll just bust them like we do now.’”

    My question is this: do you still stand behind your analysis of the expressed need for an explicit “breathalyzer equivalent?” It would appear I-502 is following your political advice.

    I’ve been paying attention to Colorado’s initiative, which is supported by NORML, DPA, MPP, etc., so it seems to be considered the Big Ticket for this year. It makes explicitly clear that DUID would still remain illegal but without a breathalyzer equivalent, and that would be a much greater precedent for others states to be guided. Hopefully it wins and your analysis on this one point turns out to be wrong. I know you will agree.

  13. Matterofliberty

    Honestly Steve, the whole Cannabis reform movement needs to strike while the iron is hot….Dont forget as soon as the next DOJ administration takes power, MMJ as you know it may not exist. If you think the Obama administration is being too persecutory on Patients & caregivers now, weight till you get a Mitt Romney or a Newt Gingrich DOJ…..Its sad, I just hope it doesnt take the whole dismantling of states MMJ programs by future Fed action before we see Patients take steps for their fellow healthy tokers. Furthermore, the proverbial “Cat is out of the bag”, some sort of per se standard is now going to be pushed by the Anti-Cannabis crowd regardless of Cannabis legal status. You may as well see some level of positive reform coincide if its going to happen anyways.

  14. xcannabis.com

    Carl Olsen is crass, and not a very good guest. I have had him on my own show Steve. No thanks to any more of that barrage of petty insults.

    http://xcannabis.com/2011/05/carls-cannabis-corner-radio-show-may-22-rescheduling-cannabis/

    Your choice of friends sheds light on your agenda.

    Rescheduling cannabis gives cannabis to big pharma. Any drug on the CSA from schedule 2 through 5 are not manufactured by anyone but big pharma, and not sold retail by anyone but licensed pharmacists. Surely you understand that by now, dont you Steve?

  15. xcannabis.com

    I think I-502 is very dangerous to the MMJ patient community, to the legalization movement, and to liberty in general. I personal am in favor of the Regulate Marijuana like Wine Initiative in CA and I get some heat from a small group of greedy patient/provides. But the RMLW2012 initiative is a far site better than I-502. In fact, all of the benefits of RMLW2012 meet your 3 requirements for ‘legalization’. But I-502 is just prohibition in disguise.

    I recently wrote an article called “Patient Rights Vs. Affirmative Defense in California” which I would like to share with you. I hope you get some time to read it. I have also wrote a dozen or so articles on I-502, which is now just an echo of what most everyone else is saying in Washington who are true stakeholders in this situation. But the voices are certainly echoing in opposition to this initiative.
    I addressed you specifically in one of my articles titled “Stoners Against Legalization vs. Voters Against New Prohibitions”.

    Anyway here is my article on patient rights, which I am sure most of this you will probably agree with:

    http://xcannabis.com/2012/01/patient-rights-vs-affirmative-defense-in-california/

  16. Steve Sarich

    So let’s put the DUID issue aside for just a moment, Russ. We can argue that later.

    What happened to number 2 and 3 on your list? Are you satisfied that someone in Washington can buy pot, no matter how crazy expensive it might be, and give up 2/3 rds of you requirements for a “legalization” bill?

    Are you now going to settle for whatever the fuck you can get and give up all the rest of your principles?

    Funny how NORML management will make you compromise things like “principles” in order to keep your job. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again. You aren’t part of a “free speech” organization….which is why you cancelled Carl Olsen’s appearance on your radio show. This isn’t about free speech….this is totally about supporting NORML and raising money for them. Let’s call a spade a spade. For you….this is all about a paycheck from NORML.

    I wish you had a heart. You might be a great spokesman for the cause, but you’re bought and paid for by Keith Stroup….and we both know it.

    Steve Sarich

  17. Dad

    Yeah, it seems very unlikely. It’s concerning that it’s even possible, even if it is unlikely. As I said (or almost said – damn typo), were I in Washington I would probably vote for it. But it’s just not as big a step as I’d like to see. No cultivation and the per se dui clause both suck a lot.

    I guess after prop 19 failed last year, everybody wants to be a little more careful now. Show that the sky doesn’t fall, and maybe in a few years WA can add in more liberties?

  18. Washington I-502 marijuana legalization qualifies for ballot, if legislature doesn’t make it law first | Washington Dispensaries

    [...] full post on The NORML Stash Blog Find a [...]

  19. Wil

    I understand your point, and I’m sure there’s be a few cops out there that just want to give somebody a hard time, but I find it hard to believe that traffic cops are gonna want to spend the majority of their day taking drivers down to the station and filling out paperwork just to see if the guy that had a traffic violation was over the nangram limits but otherwise tested out just fine during a field sobriety test. Sorry for the run-on sentence.

  20. Dad

    I was not aware – that’s definitely good to know.

  21. Washington I-502 marijuana legalization qualifies for ballot, if legislature doesn’t make it law first | Colorado Dispensaries

    [...] full post on The NORML Stash Blog Find a [...]

  22. Dad

    I, too, am undecided on this issue. The per se limits could become a disaster with cops out to try and prove how many “dangerous” stoners are on the road. With medical marijuana patients registered with the state, corrupt legislators could easily use the information to target per-se users, getting a bunch of free arrests and a lot of “proof” that legalization is a failure.

    On the other hand, having made it to the ballot, were I win Washington I would personally probably vote for it, because as Matterofliberty says, “Winning incrementally is still winning”

  23. Steve Sarich

    To Matterofliberty….giving up our fundamental rights for incremental victories is hardly “winning”. Accepting a DUID law that will punish every patient in the State of Washington with an unwarranted DUI for intoxication whenever they’re pulled over can hardly be considered a “victory”. Throw yourself under the bus if you like, but you have no right to pull me along with you in the name of incrementalism.

    Russ is sadly incorrect. The bill proposed by Senator Kohl-Welles, even if passed, will absolutely not protect the patients in Washington State if I-502 becomes law. Under Washington law, the newest legislation would supercede previous legislation. As Kohl-Welles, an experienced Senator, knows, if her bill were to pass in this session of the legislature (which ends in early March), it would be thrown in the trash bin the second I-502 was passed (in November) and the DUID provision would again apply to patients. She surely knows this. This is nothing but a “save I-502 feel good bill”. This is not simply my personal interpretation of the law. This is the interpretation that was published by a spokesman for the Washington Secretary of State’s office over a week ago.

    The “average voter”, as we all know, is ignorant about most things cannabis related. Giving up our rights and freedoms because they’re stupid (but we need their votes) is not an acceptable trade-off. It’s certainly not a sacrifice that the medical cannabis patients are willing to make simply to get SOMETHING passed this year.

    Passing terrible legislation is never a winning strategy.

    Steve Sarich
    Executive Director
    CannaCare

  24. Matterofliberty

    You seem undecided still Russ. Dont forget this version is what the “Average Voter” can stomach, which is about the only thing that matters at the polls. The fight for Cannabis Liberty will always need fought, but along the way, remember ; Winning incrementally is still winning :)

  25. Wavy & Pink Is The Tao of Da Walk

    It’s a bit much to have the study points summarized as though I can’t understand the words as written. Other than that, nice piece even though I’ve been known to drive after smoking and often at interstate speeds, late at night in rural areas. :D Bloody good fun but I wouldn’t suggest anyone else do it though. Each person needs to figure out for themselves what ‘dangerous’ (driving definitely counts at times) activities they are comfortable with and can handle.

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