Posts Tagged ‘legalizing medical marijuana’

Willie Nelson/NORML PSA For Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition – NORML Advisory Board Member Willie Nelson speaks out in support of the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.” This legislation, if passed, would allow states the freedom to set their own marijuana laws independent of the federal government and pursue legalization.

Fight Anti Medical Marijuana Legislation in California

Marijuana & Fist

TODAY we need your help to fight two alarming bills before the California state legislature that jeopardize collectives and dispensaries from being able to stay open and operate. These bills, SB847 and AB1300 affect all of California’s cities and counties, further restricting zoning and allowing those cities and counties to ban safe access entirely.  The votes on these bills are coming up quick. Time is of the essence and we need your help TODAY!

Right now we are asking that you call one or more of the Assembly members on the list below and utilizing the script below ask them to support an amendment to SB 847 that would exclude small collectives from the requirements of this bill.

We also ask that you email this information to your contact lists, social media accounts and reach out to other patients and caregivers – We ALL need to contact our Assembly Members today. Using the script below, call one or more Assembly members from the list below. When your call is answered, simply read the script (feel free to embellish it in any you wish) and thank them for providing your information to the Assembly member. Then call another assembly member on the list until you have called as many as you can.

Will you contact your Assembly members on this bill TODAY?

Thank you again so much for your time. If you have any questions you can contact Lanny at 760-799-2055 for more information. Please help pass this information along!

Here’s the script:

Hello, My name is ____________________ and I am calling ____(name of Assembly member)________ about SB 847 that will make illegal the small collectives patients form to cultivate at someone’s home. This will force patients to obtain their medicinal marijuana from illegal sources. Would you please ask ________(name of assemblymember)________ to add and support an amendment to SB 847 saying that this bill does not apply to small collectives with 10 or fewer members. Thank you.

Assembly members to call:

Cameron Smyth – Chair

Rep-38 (Santa Clarita)

(916) 319-2038

Luis A. Alejo – Vice Chair

Dem-28 (Salinas)

(916) 319-2028

Steven Bradford

Dem-51 (Inglewood)

(916) 319-2051

Nora Campos

Dem-23 (San Jose)

(916) 319-2023

Mike Davis

Dem-48 (East LA)

(916) 319-2048

Richard S. Gordon

Dem-21 (Los Altos)

(916) 319-2021

Ben Hueso

Dem-79 (Chula Vista)

(916) 319-2079

– Courtney Sheats
Community Liaison, Sacramento

Americans for Safe Access

C: (916) 588.8672
O: (510) 251.1856 x322

To Weed Or Not To Weed?

By Miggy420

We’ve never said marijuana gives you super powers, makes you smarter or dumber. We’ve never said it’d be cooler if you had some, even though it would be. We never said everyone should smoke (though it might make politicians a little more honest). My whole reason (besides all the unjust imprisonments and lost opportunities) of being an active voice in the legalization is not to make everyone high, I just  want marijuana legal so I can be left alone while doing mine.

To live in a world where you don’t have to worry about cops or shitty pious neighbors, a world where my job and kids can’t be taken away from me. Instead we live in a world where a pothead/stoner/whatever you want to call yourself is a criminal. Instead we live in a world where self proclaimed alcoholics survive and thrive.

I blame the drug war proponents for lives lost; lost due to the inability to qualify for scholarships and other government programs that drug convictions dismiss you from. Lives literally lost in attempts to experiment with something legal for a high.

It’s human nature to want to escape, I remember being in the military trying the “legal weed” just to see what it would do for me – I was not impressed, natural is always the way to go. Within the past year or so there have been a rash of deaths as a result of the “the legal weed” – I blame the drug war proponents. Even the creator of “the legal weed” has come out for the legalization of marijuana.

Legalize it!

Smoking for pleasure is nothing new; Researchers debate Shakespeare’s use of “that noted weed” mentioned in his sonnets. For hard facts it has recently been found in the Gobi desert dating back 2700 yrs ago. So why is something so old made illegal and has remained that way fairly recently?

The times are changing but not soon enough for us die hard, not wanting to go to jail, not wanting the police to raid our homes, not wanting my children taken away, not wanting to fear the police while holding, stoner types. Marijuana has and is again taking a hold in pop culture once again. Take for instance the Late Night munchies Taco Bell commercial; who are they really gunning for? (note to Taco Bell: Sell here!)

As allergy seasons come and go I get more irritated about the law. Have you ever taken a Benadryl? At 6ft 230lbs it’s an uncontrollable high I don’t enjoy and this shit is legal. As our big brother society grows and grows it becomes clearer our signals are all mixed up. The FDA just released what a new pack of cigarettes will look like. A box with images caused by cigarette smoke, I say legalize marijuana and post images of couch potatoes and late night binging on the pack, I’d still buy.

So again why is this natural beautiful thing illegal? State by state, hope develops and then quickly dwindles away when the legislature doesn’t pass or is stuck in some proverbial red tape. Is it because not enough people care? Maybe. Is it because more people feel it should be illegal than not? I don’t think so. For the most part I think the majority of America is okay with knowing a stoner, unless of course that stoner is family mooching off of you, than all you see is a p.o.s not doing what it takes to get a job.

We’re so distracted by the daily inundation of shitty news that we get sidetracked about what really is bad, harmful, or in the end will effect my life Mr. Joe Nobody. Jon Stewart explains it best on a Fox News show that all media is simply laziness and sensationalism. Magazines like High Times took the sting out of the marijuana culture shock back in the day; but now its up to websites like theweedblog, tokeofthetown, and Hailmaryjane taking a bite out of the government crime. We are not criminals, those arrested for a gram up to hundreds of pounds are not criminals and the world has to be kept aware of this.

I recently stopped in one of the most amazing pro-marijuana towns in the world called Big Sky, Montana. The whole thing was happenstance, on my way from Bozeman, Mt. to my next job I picked up a hitchhiker, who turned out to be a seasonal worker in one of the big money resorts. Along the way to Big Sky he invited me to hangout for the night; this is where my adventure began. Here I acquired some local agriculture known as Chanel No#5 which was just as intoxicating as her real name counterpart. Bag in hand; we hopped from local to local seizing the day smoking, drinking, and joking: I met a pretty young woman facing federal charges because she was caught with 14 grams in Yellowstone Park (which is Federal land). During that night she smoked like a champ and knew of the penalties that she faces. We do what we do and know the penalties we face; this ought to tell somebody something of one plant.

On days when I discourage not by the movement but by the politicians I ponder “To weed or not to weed?” and its places like Big Sky, Mt. that tell me “To weed forever”.

Medical Marijuana Industry Should Have Same Rules As Other Businesses

Weed and Cash
Don’t Undermine the Medical Marijuana Industry

It’s hard for legal dispensaries to get bank loans, and they can’t deduct expenses from their taxes. Let’s back legislation to fix that

By Scott Shane

Consider two small business owners: One sells a product that medical researchers have shown is a major cause of health problems, from cancer to heart disease. The other provides a medical treatment that doctors prescribe for glaucoma, pain, and the side effects of chemotherapy. Which owner can borrow from a bank and deduct expenses on income tax returns? The answer is the first, who sells cigarettes; the second, who sells medical marijuana, cannot. (To be clear, dispensary owners aren’t prohibited from applying for bank credit. The trouble is anti-money laundering statutes intended to stop illegal drug dealers make banks reluctant to do business with legal dealers.)

In late May, two Democratic congressmen, Jared Polis of Colorado and Pete Stark of California, introduced bills to remedy the federal government’s bias against the owners of medical marijuana dispensaries. Representative Polis’s bill would permit medical marijuana sellers to borrow money from banks, while Congressman Stark’s bill would allow them to deduct business expenses from their taxes. Passage of these bills makes sense for four reasons.

The first is fairness. No small business owners should be denied access to financing or be subject to unfair tax rules simply because they run a business that some in government don’t like. The government should create a level playing field for all business owners. As Polis explained when introducing his bill, “It is simply wrong for the federal government to intrude and threaten banks that are involved in legal transactions.” Using a law designed to root out illegal drug dealers, terrorists, fraudsters, and money launderers as a back-door way to make life difficult for the operators of medical marijuana dispensaries is simply unfair. If Congress doesn’t like state medical marijuana laws, it needs to challenge the legality of these laws directly rather than stack the rules against them.


But fairness isn’t the only reason I support these bills. I also find it perverse that the government favors the tobacco business over the medical marijuana industry when the former is responsible for several costly medical problems and the latter provides a medically prescribed treatment. Not only does the government’s approach makes it difficult for people who need physician-prescribed marijuana to get the treatments they need, imposing pain and hardship, but the approach is also backwards. The government supports the sale of cigarettes, which cause cancer, but discourages the sale of medical marijuana, which is used to manage the side effects of the chemotherapy that these cancer patients must endure. As for healthy individuals who abuse the system to get high, isn’t that why we spend large sums of money to stop the illegal drug trade?

By blocking the growth of the medical marijuana industry, federal policy makers are missing a golden opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship. Government officials often speak of finding new, high-growth industries, which are rare. Consultancy See Change Strategy in Olney, Md., forecasts that medical marijuana, currently a $2 billion industry, will reach nearly $9 billion in five years. That’s about the same size as the dry cleaning and laundry service industry.

Finally, by opposing the medical marijuana industry, the federal government is missing the chance to cut government expenditures and raise taxes in one of the few areas where such actions would face little opposition by business owners. Unlike virtually every other industry, where higher taxes are vehemently opposed, the medical marijuana industry welcomes higher taxes. In Oakland, for example, the industry drove the effort to impose a 1.8 percent tax on gross sales from medical marijuana sellers.

The potential economic gains from the legalization of marijuana are far from trivial. A 2005 study by Jeffrey Miron, then a visiting economics professor at Harvard, found that government spending could be cut by $7.7 billion and tax revenue increased by $6.2 billion if marijuana sales were legal and taxed at the same rate as alcohol and tobacco. A $14 billion improvement in the government budget isn’t something to ignore, especially in the current environment of paralysis over how to reduce high deficits.

Allowing owners of medical marijuana dispensaries to borrow money and deduct their business expenses from their taxes seems like a way to make policy fairer, encourage a high-growth industry, and reduce government expenditures and raise tax revenues without much opposition. Those seem to me like the kinds of objectives our elected officials should be striving for when introducing bills into Congress.

Scott Shane is the A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University.

Goodman Runs For Congress On Cannabis Legalization Platform

Photo: KOMO News
Congressional candidate Roger Goodman, left,
advocates the legalization of marijuana and protecting the planet.

​What if we could elect a real, live drug policy reformerto Congress? A candidate who has that background — and unabashedly advocates the legalization of cannabis nationwide — is running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington state, and he has an excellent chance to win.

Washington state Rep. Roger Goodman had in February initially announced he would run in the 8th District against Rep. Dave Reichert, a right-wing Republican, but now that Rep. Jay Inslee is vacating his seat in the House to run for Governor, Goodman will be running for that open seat in the reliably liberal 1st District where he lives, the candidate told Toke of the Town in an exclusive interview Friday afternoon.
“My number one priority is planetary health,” Goodman told me. “We need to pay attention to that, and we need to foster justice in our society.
“Cannabis policy reform is actually a part of both of those major issues, and my training as a lawyer, an environmentalist, a former Congressional chief of staff, a state agency director, and now as a legislator and reformer for years, qualifies me not just on cannabis reform but on qualify of life issues and on true progressive leadership,” he said.

“Drug policy so strategically connects to other policies, and people don’t realize it,” Goodman said. “Safe streets, good education, reasonable taxes…
Roger Goodman forest flip.jpg
Photo: Roger Goodman For Congress
Roger Goodman: “We need to pay attention to planetary health”

“Nationwide, about 7 or 8 billion dollars is spent just on marijuana enforcement,” he told me. “That money could certainly be better used. But I don’t stress the savings; I’m really more concerned about public safety, children and families.
“Our marijuana policies allow illegal markets to deliver an unregulated product, and that’s just not safe, for patients or for anyone else who might want to use it,” Goodman said. “My primary concern is public safety, health care, and wellness.
“And yes, let’s make some money from this,” Goodman said. “Let’s tax it and use some of that money for health care.”
Roger’s Got A Killer Resumé
Rep. Goodman isn’t just frontin’ when he talks about drug policy reform. The man served as the executive director of the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission in the late 1990s and was elected to the National Association of Sentencing Commissions. While with the state commission, he published reports on prison capacity and sentencing policy, helped increased the availability of drug treatment in prisons, and guided 14 other sentencing-related bills through the Washington Legislature.

Reformer Roger Goodman shows his stash.jpeg
Photo: Pete Kuhns/Seattle Weekly
Rep. Roger Goodman shows off a stash of his drug of choice: chocolate.

“In Washington state, we put about 8,000 people in cages every year who either should just be left alone, or should be receiving mental health or substance abuse treatment,” Goodman said. “We have a lot of progress that needs to be made.”
Goodman is very acquainted with our drug policies, and the fact that they need fixing. He next led the King County Bar Association’s Drug Policy Project, which coordinated a groundbreaking initiative to critically look at drug laws and promote cheaper, more effective, and more humane policies. In doing so, Goodman helped create a coalition of more than 20 professional and civic organizations that has spurred the Legislature to reduce sentences for drug offenders and shift funding away from incarceration and into drug treatment.
Medical Marijuana In Crisis
A state representative since 2008, Goodman cosponsored a marijuana legalization bill in the just-completed session of the Legislature, and also supported a bill which would have explicitly legalized dispensaries in Washington state. That bill, SB 5073, passed both houses of the Legislature, but in a stunning failure of leadership, hen-hearted Gov. Christine Gregoire used her line-item veto to eviscerate the measure.

Photo: The Stranger
Rep. Roger Goodman:
“We’ve driven patients back to the streets.
Do we want the drug dealer model, or do we want the safe access point model?”
​”Our medical marijuana program is in crisis right now,” Goodman told Toke of the Town. “It’s worse than it was before the Governor partially vetoed the bill. What was left over made it worse.”
“We’ve now driven patients back to the streets,” Goodman said. “Do we want the drug dealer model, or do we want the safe access point model?
“There’s a lot of politics going on behind the scenes, and extraneous political interests,” Goodman acknowledged. “It’s not a pure thing.”
Calling state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, sponsor of SB 5073, “the undisputed champion on this issue,” Goodman said safe access for medical marijuana patients “a very important thing we have to get done.”
“I do fear that patients will have problems getting access safely, because dispensaries as we now understand them will be actually prohibited, and the limit of one provider to one patient and the 15-day waiting period are going to hamper access,” he said.
At the same time, Goodman is holding out hope that patients in the Seattle area, at least, can preserve some sort of safe access. “King County is going to look at various zoning ordinances that came out of this bill,” he told me.
Goodman is backing a new bill, HB 2118, which he says is “from the patient’s perspective.” According to the legislator, it allows for dispensaries to get business licenses and allows localities to zone to specifically allow for the shops.
Roger Goodman For Congress.jpg
Graphic: Roger Goodman For Congress
“It’s a starting point,” he told me, “but it’s what the patients would like. There’s no registry, and there’s no need for a registry. If you have the authentic documentation, that’s all you need.
“This is about health care, not crime,” Goodman said. “I actually have a very good relationship with law enforcement. I legislated against domestic violence and helped get drunk drivers off the road.”
Speaking of impaired driving, Roger Goodman is one of the few politicians I have ever heard admit he was wrong. He incurred the wrath of many marijuana activists when he sponsored a DUI marijuana bill in the Legislature; his bill would have set a THC blood limit of 8 ng/ml as the definition of being impaired by cannabis.
But after hearing from a lot of constituents and checking out the available information, Goodman realized there are no definitive answers showing that 8 ng/ml or any other particular cut-off level for blood THC is necessarily indicative of impairment.
“When I learned there was no good science on the subject, I actually withdrew that proposal, and I helped Colorado defeat that same marijuana DUI proposal,” Goodman told me.
‘Some Concerns’ With New Approach Washington
Which brings us to New Approach Washington, a legalization initiative announced just this week which is backed by some major names including former U.S. Attorney John McKay, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and travel writer Rick Steves.
The language of that measure specifies the low limit of 5 ng/ml as the cutoff point for defining cannabis impairment while driving. That level would effectively outlaw any driving, ever, for many medical marijuana patients who must use large amounts of cannabis every day, because they’d show up over the limit even when completely unimpaired.

Roger Goodman and family.jpg
Photo: Roger Goodman For Congress

Another big concern for marijuana activists in the New Approach Washington measure’s language is the fact that while it would allow adults to buy pot at state-run stores, it still wouldn’t allow home cultivation of recreational cannabis.
“I’ve heard quite a number of concerns from people who’ve called me about the nanogram limit for driving, and about the fact there’s nothing about home growing,” he told me.
“I will be ready to receive it enthusiastically in the Legislature, anticipating the ability to amend it,” Goodman said. “The problem is if the Legislature does not amend it, the way it is drafted today, it would appear on the ballot in November 2012. There are some concerns, and we need to tweak it or re-draft the language quite soon.
“The other thing is this home growing,” Goodman said. “People need to be able to produce and consume, and have non-commercial gift exchanges perhaps of small amounts.”
But even in its imperfect form, the New Approach Washington initiative represents enormous progress, according to Goodman. “I have to say this is a huge step where we have a bipartisan group of prominent people putting it forward,” he told me. “I’ll do what I can to move it through the Legislature.”
Tipping The Balance, $4.20 At A Time
At any pivotal point in our nation’s history — and look around you, man, we’re in one of those — one well-informed politician can help tip the balance back towards sanity when it comes to drug policy, environmental policy, public safety, and health care, and Goodman said he wants to be a part of that.

Graphic: CTI

The presence of a man like Roger Goodman in Congress could make a major difference going forward as our nation discovers the way to a saner approach on marijuana.
“We’re so close to the tipping point,” Goodman told me. “I want to offer some experienced leadership in drug policy reform; to join Jared Polis, Barney Frank and others who are making a difference on the Hill.
“Getting me there will get us all one step closer to loosening the federal Controlled Substances Act, for the health, welfare and safety of the people,” Goodman said.
“The number one thing I need at the moment is for people to go to and help elect me,” Goodman said.
“I know that people are mostly, including myself here, of very modest means,” he said. “I’m not asking for a lot of money. But I do need $4.20 from as many people as possible by next week. We’re doing well; we’ve reached our target for the first quarter and we are being taken very seriously.”
Summing It Up
I have to tell you, it’s a blast to speak with a politician who seems to be more concerned about the people and the environment than about the corporations. Goodman is definitely that guy.
“We need to pay attention to planetary health,” Goodman told me. “We need to foster justice in our society.
“When I was a Congressional staffer, I had to be quote-unquote ‘professional,’ ” Goodman said. “Now I can speak the truth, and it’s just so refreshing — and people can sense that.
“That’s given me the inner strength to lead,” Goodman said. “Simply to lead.”
To learn more about the Roger Goodman for Congress campaign, or to contribute, visit You can also “Like” the Roger Goodman For Congress Facebook page

‘New Approach Washington’ Files Initiative To Legalize Marijuana

new approach wa 009.jpg
Photo: Don Skakie
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes:
“Ending marijuana prohibition and focusing on rational regulation and taxation will free up law enforcement resources to combat violent and property crimes, and it will restore respect for government and the law”

​There’s a new move afoot to legalize cannabis in Washington state. The newly formed political action committee New Approach Washington on Wednesday filed an initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in the state. Sponsoring the measure are prominent civic leaders, along with members of the public health and legal communities.

The initiative would authorize the Washington State Liquor Control Board to regulate the production and distribution of marijuana for sale to adults 21 and older through state-licensed stores. A new marijuana excise tax would be earmarked for prevention, research, education, and health care. State and local retail sales taxes would be directed to the general fund and location budgets.
Unfortunately, the initiative would not allow the cultivation of marijuana by recreational users (medical marijuana patients in Washington are already allowed 15 plants). Cannabis users would be required to buy their supply at state-licensed stores. Another possible sticking point is the codification a THC blood level of of 5 ng/ml as per se driving under the influence; that would criminalize any driving by most medical marijuana patients, although very few daily medicinal users would be impaired at that level.

new approach wa 010 med crop.jpg
Photo: Don Skakie
From left, Mark Johnson, Bob Wood, Rick Steves, and Alison Holcomb are among the sponsors of the New Approach Washington initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Washington state
​Sponsors of the initiative are:
• Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes
• John McKay, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, 2001-2007
• Travel writer Rick Steves
• Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, Washington state legislator, 36th District
• Kim Marie Thorburn, M.D., MPH, former director of the Spokane Regional Health District, 1997-2006
• Salvador A. Mungia, immediate past president of the Washington State Bar Association
• Mark Johnson, past president of the Washington State Bar Association, 2008-2009
• Robert W. Wood, MD, former director of the HIV/AIDS Program of Public Health – Seattle & King County, 1986-2010
• Roger Roffman, DSW, professor emeritus, University of Washington School of Social Work
• Alison Holcomb, New Approach Washington campaign director
The campaign has until December 30 to collect 241,153 signatures to qualify for the ballot. If and when those signatures are filed, the initiative will go to the Legislature for consideration during the 2012 session. If the Legislature takes no action, the proposal will go before the voters in the November 2012 election.
new approach wa 023 alison crop.jpg
Photo: Don Skakie
Alison Holcomb, New Approach Washington campaign director

“Ending marijuana prohibition and focusing on rational regulation and taxation will free up law enforcement resources to combat violent and property crimes, and it will restore respect for government and the law,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.
More than 8,200 Washington adults were arrested for simple possession of marijuana in 2008 — more than 20 a day — with more than 3,200 convictions, costing the state millions of taxpayer dollars.
Marijuana is already one of Washington’s largest cash crops — second only to its famed apples — and billions of dollars go into the illegal market untaxed.
“We cannot afford to ignore an enormous source of untaxed revenue, and we must stop the financing of drug cartels,” said Mark Johnson, former Washington State Bar Association president.
“These are revenues we could capture and direct to effective programs that protect youth from risk factors that contribute to early use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana,” said Roger Roffman, a “marijuana dependency” treatment expert.
“As a parent and as someone who cares deeply for my community, I’ve seen how Europe treats drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal one,” said travel writer Rick Steves. “The fascinating result: per capita, Europeans consume far less marijuana and have far fewer people in prison than we do.”
Initiative sponsors pointed out the serious impacts that current marijuana laws have on people. “Criminalizing marijuana use disrupts families and cannot be justified when marijuana is compared to alcohol and tobacco,” said public health doctor Kim Thorburn.
“The public health impacts of alcohol and tobacco and more serious than marijuana, but we do not criminalize the use of those substances,” said Bob Wood, a public health doctor. “It is time for Washington to take a new approach to marijuana focused on regulation and education rather than punishment.”
Further, marijuana laws are enforced disproportionately against people of color. In Washington, an African American is three times as likely to be arrested, three times as likely to be charged, and three times as likely to be convicted for marijuana possession as a white Washingtonian, despite the fact that whites use cannabis at higher rates.
“Even a misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession can permanently alter the trajectory of a person’s life,” former bar association president Sal Mungia said.
The campaign expects petitions to be ready for signature gathering beginning in August, giving New Approach Washington a five-month window within which the gather the 241,153 signatures.

Key Features of New Approach Washington
2012 Marijuana Law Reform Initiative

  • Distribution to adults 21 and over through state-licensed, marijuana-only stores; production and distribution licensed and regulated by Liquor Control Board (LCB)
  • Severable provision decriminalizing adult possession of marijuana; possession by persons under 21 remains a misdemeanor
  • Stringent advertising, location, and license eligibility restrictions enforced by LCB
  • Home growing remains prohibited; except, initiative does not affect Washington’s medical marijuana law
  • Estimated $215 million in new state revenue each year1, with roughly $40 million going to state general fund (B&O and retail sales tax) and $175 million (new marijuana excise tax) earmarked:
    • Evidence-based prevention strategies targeting youth, chosen in consultation with UW Social Development Research Group2
    • Dedicated funding stream for Healthy Youth Survey3
    • Washington’s Building Bridges program for at-risk youth4
    • Science-based public education materials regarding health risks of marijuana use hosted by UW Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute5
    • Research by UW and WSU into the short- and long-term effects of marijuana use, including driving impairment
    • Dedicated marijuana Quitline analogous to tobacco Quitline operated by state Department of Health6
    • Additional marijuana-related public health educational programs administered by Department of Health at the state and local level
    • Biennial evaluation of impacts of law by Washington State Institute for Public Policy7
    • Washington’s Basic Health Plan
    • Community health centers
  • THC blood concentration  of 5 ng/mL  or higher  is per se Driving Under the Influence8
  • Remedy provision that stays implementation of any provision found to be preempted by federal law until federal law changes


Download the complete text of the initiative.

For more information, visit New Approach Washington.

Has Marijuana Legalization Gone Mainstream?

Legalize it!
Has the Movement Opposing America’s Drug War Broken Through to the Mainstream?

By Jesse Levin

Call off The Drug War” says former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in an op-ed for the New York Times. His article is released on the 40th anniversary of the day that President Nixon declared America in a “war on drugs.”

Carter aligns himself with a report released this month by the Global Commission on Drug Policy. That report argues that current strategies of imprisoning non-violent drug users and small time dealers has cost one trillion dollars, and led to 40 million arrests, but not reduced the availability or use of drugs. In short, the report says the drug war failed.

The report was endorsed by 16 world leaders, including former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, former US Secretary George Shultz, and the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The 40th anniversary of the Drug War might well be remembered as the moment when the debate about Drug Policy shifted, and opposition to the drug war became main stream.

African American leaders have been historically conservative about the drug war but that seems to be changing. Jesse Jackson, a long time supporter of the drug war shifted sides and wrote in support of the Global Commission on Drug Policy’s report this month. Regarding the drug war, he writes in the Chicago Sun, “it would be impossible to invent a more complete failure.”

Leaders from African American and religious communities, including Rev. Jesse Jackson and Dr. Ron Daniels, held a forum Friday at the National Press Club in Washington DC to denounce current drug war policies and their racial bias. Despite the fact that the use and sale of drugs is no higher among African Americans than among white Americans, black men are sometimes jailed at rates 20 to 50 times higher than white men – for the same nonviolent drug offenses.

In his op-ed, Jimmy Carter explains how the prison population jumped from 500,000 when he left office in 1981 to 2.3 million in 2009. Carter blames the war on drugs for this trend. He says, “The single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelve fold since 1980.”

In 1977 President Carter told congress, “the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana” and he “cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society.”

Today, in places like New York City the police are arresting record breaking numbers of young people for simple possession of marijuana. New York City has arrested 350,000 people for marijuana possession since 2002. About 70% percent of those arrested were under 30 years old.

A woman named Alika, a 26-year-old single mother in Brooklyn made news this week after being fired from her job with the New York City Housing Authority as a result of being arrested for possessing a small bag of marijuana in her purse. Criminal records are instantly accessible on the internet and the collateral consequences of drug arrests — like job loss and deportation — are routine and severe.

The drug war is deeply entrenched in our society. Systematic reforms will require support and courage from current politicians and not just former ones like Jimmy Carter. And our elected officials will not budge until the people who vote for them make their opposition to the drug war heard clearly.

The 40th anniversary of the war on drugs became an opportunity for leaders from diverse backgrounds to emerge with the unified message that the drug war failed. It is unusual and thrilling to see support for an issue that has been taboo for so long. We are witnessing a shift of opinion on drug policy. Is it too much to believe that we may also be seeing the beginning of a social movement?

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