Stoners Against Initiative 502, Part 1

I started blogging just shy of a year ago. I was looking for a place to both keep a public journal of my growth as a human as well as publish writings on political issues that were important to me. The first draft I have saved under another blog is “Legalization, a different perspective.” It was supposed to be about why I, as a pot head, did not want marijuana to be legal. No matter how many times it was written, rewritten, edited or revised, I could not make it a cohesive argument. Partially due to not really having starting point that made sense and partially because I am not the strongest writer.

This week (a month ago) I was inspired to start the article again thanks to Washington’s Initiative 502. This initiative is regarding the legalization of marijuana, the establishing of state run dispensaries and the altering of existing laws regarding marijuana. I have read through this initiative and am exceptionally concerned for the future of marijuana in this state.

The root of my concern is people who vote on topics without any direct interest and understanding of the legislation at hand. Now normally this is a problem because people vote yes or no to a tax that was going to provide something desirable or undesirable for a community based upon their judgement at the polls. Say the initiative is to put a toll on a road to fund highway construction. The legislation could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how it is written, and the only way to know is to read or scan the legislation and read balanced interpretations of long term effects. And whether it gets passed or not depends on how many people educated themselves v how many people made up their mind on the spot.

Now times that by stoner.

Pot heads are the worst people to talk to about legalization. When I started smoking at 18 – yes I waited until I was 18 because I didn’t want to have my parents in any way held responsible for my decision/have to move into foster care in the event I was caught – I was all about legalization. Totally an irresponsible stoner, this shit should be legal, it’s not even harmful, it’s medicine ect ect ect. Then around the age of 20 something happened.I became aware of the corporate influence in tobacco, in genetically modified crops, in pharmaceutics, in drug regulation, in privatized prison, and it worried me.

Right now the way our system is set up as a nation is to make profit keeping marijuana illegal. However, marijuana is a profitable drug with endless uses. If done right, the profit of marijuana can be kept out of the greedy hands of the state or the corporate world without carrying a jail sentence. If not done right the profit of marijuana can be snatched up in taxes and regulations, and the medicinal value of it can be bastardized, modified genetically, chemically altered and ultimately destroyed. That pot heads by and large refuse to acknowledge this potential reality, this is why I am nervous for the future of marijuana in Washington.

People who just want to be able to buy marijuana either pre-rolled or prepackaged 8ths have some harsh realities a head if they vote yes on Initiative 502. First, there is the fact that it is a state monopoly. Any marijuana growing, processing or selling is ONLY legal if it is through the state. If you buy your pot from the hippy down the street you are both in violation of state law and may be arrested and convicted. They think the current decriminalized status will protect them after it’s legal. NOT NECESSARILY. It is very likely that as the state will have a profit incentive in ending black market marijuana trafficking. That means it could more frequently carry a fine and likely some jail time.

Next is the reality that there will be a strict DUI law in place. I say strict because the limits are currently debatable as scientifically valid but are written in stone. The application of testing got a little more skewed, something I am sure will benefit DUI attorneys (and relatively anticipated based on the number of DUI attorney fliers being handed out at this year’s Hempfest.) But regardless of if the legal limit for “adults” is scientifically questionable, the limit for minors is zero. Yep zero tolerance for all minors. A minor who has been around secondhand marijuana smoke may test above the 0.0 ng/ml limit and have a DUI for years. Imagine the debt a youth could incur trying to beat a bogus DUI charge, right at the beginning of his life.

Oh that’s right. The age of legal marijuana consumption will be 21. Poor unfortunate souls trapped between 18 and 21 will have one more limit placed on them to alienate them even more from having a social life that doesn’t involve their parents.

My favorite stipulation in this law is the one that will smack all the impulse voters in the face. The TAX on marijuana. Just like the liquor tax, the marijuana tax will start at the growers, 25% to transfer the weed to the processors. The processors, the people who trim it or turn it into edibles, will incur a 25% tax to get their products to the retailer. The retailer will then have another 25% tax placed on the product. Then the lowly customer must now pay sales tax. All that tax compounded, so much cash for the state. And don’t forget all the fees if someone wants to apply to be a grower, a processor or a retailer. Congratulations impulse voter, you just increased the cost of getting high, all because it was more important to have it legal RIGHT NOW.

Part 2 of this will focus a little more on supporting my argument and all that other stuff that actually makes good, cited and thought out writings. I hope to ultimately convince people that we need to protect our marijuana rights for the better interest of EVERYONE. In the mean time here is the link to the full text of Initiative 502.


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