Posts Tagged ‘initiative 502’
by KOMO Staff, KOMO News
SEATTLE — Backers of an effort to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use in Washington state submitted more than 340,000 signatures to try to qualify their initiative on Thursday, a move protested by some legalization supporters who say the proposal harms medical marijuana patients.
About a dozen protesters carried signs that read “Legalize, not penalize,” and shouted as members of New Approach turned in signatures for Initiative 502 to the Legislature.
“New Approach, telling lies, we don’t want your DUIs,” the protesters chanted, occasionally interrupting the supporters’ efforts to speak to reporters.
The protesters, especially medicinal marijuana users, took issue with an element of the initiative that would make it illegal for a motorist to have more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in their system. THC is the active ingredient of cannabis.
“I don’t care if they legalize it, put it in liquor stores. I don’t care if they sell it on street corners and I have to work for a living, that’s cool. What bothers me is they make me a criminal every time I get behind the wheel,” said Michael Allison of Left Coast Cannabis.
Ric Smith is using marijuana while he undergoes dialysis. He had his blood tested after treatment.
“I go to dialysis. I take marijuana because of the cramping and the nausea,” he said. “So after the 5 hour abstinence, I was still 33. Illegal to drive home.”
Proponents insists this is a correctable problem and hope it doesn’t derail the entire initiative.
“What Americans realize is that the war on drugs is not working, we know that it’s a failure,” said Alison Holcomb of New Approach.
Holcomb and fellow proponents of the initiative say not only would legalizing marijuana allow police to concentrate on more important matters, it would also bring in about $215 million a year for the state budget.
Once the initiative goes to the Legislature, lawmakers have to take action during the upcoming 60-day legislative session that begins Jan. 9 or the measure automatically goes to the November ballot.
According to a release early this morning from Cannabis Science, Inc. a self-described American “biotech company specializing in the development of pharmaceutical cannabis products.” CSI (haha) says two former US Attorneys, and the former head of Seattle FBI, are in favor of Washington State Initiative 502 to legalize marijuana.
On Seattle television King 5 News, two former US attorneys, John McKay and Kate Pflaumer and the former head of Seattle FBI, Charles Mandigo, spoke out on why they think it’s time to change the federal law and to legalize of marijuana.
Pflaumer stated, “It’s a policy position that has become obvious to me over 35 years working in criminal law enforcement and criminal law defense.”
Even though both US attorneys agree that it’s a bad policy, they said it was their job to enforce the law.
Former head of Seattle FBI, Charles Mandigo says he does not condone the use of marijuana, but he supports the initiative, because he feels strongly that the illegal drug trade and the resulting violence is destroying to our society.
Washington State’s Initiative 502 would allow persons 21 and over to have in their possession either 1 ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana infused food, or 72 ounces in a liquid form. The state’s Liquor Control Board would manage the system and the estimated income could be over $215 million per year. The state’s DUI laws would be extended to cover driving under the influence of marijuana.
Regarding concerns that the taxes being imposed would so high that this new law would not end the black market for sales, Mandigo replied, “I don’t think that’s the case, I think that most American people want to be law abiding, and given an opportunity to purchase marijuana in a regulated scheme, and not violate the law, that they would choose that as an option. Further if you are selling it under a regulated scheme, you have quality control and you know exactly what the substance is that is being sold and… at a regulated point-of-sale, that you can impose warning labels like you do for the sale of alcohol or tobacco.”
Some people fear that legalization might lead to marijuana becoming available in other places such as grocery stores, as did alcohol. Former US Attorney John McKay said, “The question is whether we should continue criminal prohibition of marijuana… for any amount for any reason. Is that successful? I don’t think so. We have a huge number of persons who smoke marijuana and obtain it illegally and the proceeds go to drug cartels. Better for us to look now at a scheme that we regulate, that we tax, and maintain criminal penalties.”