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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Did the Medical-Marijuana Industry Go Too Far Campaigning Against Pot Legalization Initiative 502 at Hempfest this Weekend?

Posted by on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 4:54 PM

This flyer credits the designer, Art Chantry, but doesnt explain who paid for it.
  • This flyer credits the designer, Art Chantry, but doesn't explain who paid for it.

First let me say: I'm a bad man for criticizing anything about Hempfest. The organizers are volunteers, and only a bad man would criticize them. I'm also a total dick for saying that Hempfest could be more politically effective, because—admittedly—pulling off a giant pot rally is an admirable feat in itself. And I'm just a royal fucker for gleefully linking to photo #60 of this Hempfest bro proudly holding up his bag of Doritos. Finally, I should have written this post yesterday, when I was putting out the paper instead. But some not-super-nice stuff needs to be said, so I'll say it, even if that makes me a bad man, a dick, a total fucker, and lazy to boot.

With that out of the way... I went to Hempfest over the weekend.

Over 100,000 people were there, once again securing Hempfest's status as the world's largest pot rally. But for political purposes, it served primarily as a venue for dozens of medical pot dispensaries, several medical-pot-authorization groups, and countless Tim Eyman initiative petitioners to unite for a common cause: fighting a legalization initiative on the fall ballot. Sure, people talked broadly about ending the drug war, but Initiative 502 is the specific policy on the front burner. I-502 is the state's first chance to make it legal for adults to possess up to an ounce of pot, while regulating the cultivation of marijuana and licensing pot stores. Hempfest should be cooing for I-502. But instead, many Hempfest organizers oppose it and a medical-marijuana industry was out in force to kill it (I-502 would regulate a pot market that currently is unbridled). Which is to say, what used to be the biggest pot legalization gathering in the US earned the distinction last weekend, paradoxically, of also being the largest anti-pot-legalization gathering in the US.

The "No on I-502" signs, buttons, and pamphlets were thick from the front gates to the last stage, a mile down the waterfront. Some of I-502's critics clearly spent big money on campaign materials—in ways that may violate state election rules.

For example, two of the larger booths at Hempfest were run by 4Evergreen, a company that writes medical-marijuana authorizations. (Incidentally, two former 4Evergreen employees are also being charged by the state's department health for questionable practices selling authorizations at last year's Hempfest.) Throughout the festival, 4Evergreen displayed large banners and stacks of handbills declaring "No on 502." But they didn't identify who actually paid for these campaign materials. In the photo up at the top, for example, you'll see one of the flyers designed by Art Chantry that I picked up from the 4Evergreen booth—with no sponsor identification.

"All written political advertising, whether relating to candidates or ballot propositions, shall include the sponsor's name and address," says a state law concerning campaign reporting. Washington State Public Disclosure Commission spokeswoman Lori Anderson says that anyone making campaign literature qualifies as a sponsor. "The flyers need to have sponsor ID on them," Anderson explains by phone.

4Evergreen's director, Joshua Berman, says the his group worked "solo" on the anti-I-502 materials designed by Art Chantry and it doesn't need to include a sponsor ID because they qualified as "exempt" items (this is apparently according to his reading of list of exempt items in a state elections guide).

Indeed, there are exceptions to the sponsor-identification rules, including materials like yard signs, campaign swag like whistles, or newspaper articles. But Anderson says flyers produced by the hundreds opposing an initiative need to identify who paid for them. In addition, expenses for all campaign materials—t-shirts, signs, everythingmust be reported to the state within five days, Anderson says. Asked if he will report the expenses, Berman says by email, "I'll talk to my atty and CFO about it, they'll be able to advice [sic] us appropriately as to all of the in's and out's of proper reporting."

When did Berman's group begin spending money? He didn't answer that question when I asked him twice. As of today, five days after Hempfest vendors loaded into the event with their supplies, the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission's website shows no reports from 4Evergreen.

But 4Evergreen's booth was only one of dozens of medical marijuana businesses advocating that voters oppose I-502 at Hempfest. On the one hand, their opposition seems partly cultural. I-502 is sponsored by former US Attorney John McKay, and the arrival of mainstream political bigwigs like McKay may be seen as stepping on the toes of a counter-cultural movement. On the other hand, that may be too generous. There's big money being made right now in the gray areas of state medical marijuana law, because none of these dispensaries are explicitly legal. A recreational pot market—as the initiative would create—represents a new financial threat to these businesses.

They certainly wanted my money—but I had to be a "patient."

I walked past a booth for West Coast Wellness. I didn't identify myself as a reporter, but a woman named Ariel started spontaneously giving me her spiel, so I wrote down what she said. She told me West Coast Wellness is a dispensary "partnered" with 4Evergreen (Berman says his group is not partnered with any dispensary), and she insistently suggested I pay to become a patient at 4Evergreen (she gave me a $20 coupon, bringing the price down to $180). Once I was a patient, she said, I could buy marijuana from her cooperative.

But I'm perfectly healthy and couldn't be a medical pot patient, I told her twice.

"I know it is crazy to say this," Ariel replied, "but most of our patients aren't physically sick." She said I "don't need medical records" to get an authorization from 4Evergreen, but once I got my authorization I would "be safe driving."

And the big beef comes down to driving.

THRILLED: About opposing legalization at Hempfest.
  • The No on I-502 booth was opposing legalization at Hempfest.

On the issue of driving, I-502 critics were running around misleading people. At the official booth for No on I-502, a PAC run by medical marijuana dispensary operator Steve Sarich, a man who didn't give his name warned me that if I-502 passes, "They are going to bend us over and fuck us. All of us are going to be put in jail for DUI." He was hardly alone. A woman handing out paper fans with the logo of Conscious Care Collective, a dispensary in north Seattle, spontaneously warned me to vote against I-502, saying, "If you smoke, you can get a DUI the next day." Do you have any science to back up that claim, I asked? "I'm busy, I need to hand these out," she said, walking away with her fans.

Then there were the right-wing petitioners against I-502. Lots of them were petitioning for another pot initiative, I-514, but they said they were only being paid for gathering signatures for a separate Tim Eyman initiative. After they'd lure in voters with the pot petition, they'd give them the Eyman initiative, I-517. One such petitioner at the front gate told the throngs to oppose I-502 because, "If cops pull you over and you have any THC in your blood, you can go to jail." He also said people would get busted for driving the week after getting high.

None of that is true, of course. As I've reported ad nauseum, I-502 contains a DUI provision for adults driving with more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. That's far more than an undetectable level, and not one scientific study shows even the heaviest pot user above that level the next day. Most are below the level within a few hours. (Currently drivers can be convicted for any THC in their system while driving, so the initiative would actually be more progressive than current law.)

Medical marijuana activist Allison Bigelow campaigns against I-502.
  • Medical marijuana activist Allison Bigelow campaigns against I-502.
But it didn't stop pot dispensaries and right-wing initiative pushers from taking advantage of the crowd's political and legal naïveté—trying to convince them to oppose the best shot at legalization any state has ever seen.

There were more whoppers at the booth for a Bellingham dispensary, Northern Cross Collective, where a worker told a middle-aged woman that under I-502, "Medical marijuana patients would have to stop growing." That, too was dishonest: I-502 doesn't change the law for patients who grow under the state's Medical Use of Marijuana Act, passed in 1998. When I explained the law to the woman, she got got angry at the man, telling him, "People are being scared into thinking the world will come to an end if we pass this initiative, but that's not true."

The truth is, right now the medical marijuana law doesn't even protect patients from arrest. It only gives them a defense in court. I-502 would finally protect patients from being arrested. It would help patients more than any other law. The only thing it would hurt is the bottom line of the people making money off of them.

I finally made it to the Yes on I-502 booth.

"They heckle us, swear at us, and give us the finger," I-502 volunteer Nathaniel Donahue said of the I-502 critics. After Hempfest attendees had passed the countless anti-I-502 signs and buttons, "A lot of people don't know what they're voting on—they don't even know it's about legalization," he said.

Next to their booth, staff at Fweedom Collective kept yelling, "No on 502" at the people trying to have a conversation with the Yes on I-502 volunteers.

As someone who used to be a director of Hempfest, I must say, it was bizarre to see Hempfest cultivating this anti-legalization environment. The organizers have purportedly stayed neutral, in part because festival director Vivian McPeak opposes I-502, but many on staff seemed to agree with him.

One volunteer for I-502 was dismayed by the way Hempfest volunteers treated him: "Hempfest staff is anything but neutral," said the campaigner who asked to remain anonymous. "As we entered we were heckled by anyone who saw us carrying 'Yes on I-502' merchandise or signage and this continued all day. We were met with hostility by at least 90 percent of the Hempfest staff who would often times simply walk by screaming 'no on I-502.' One man just stood there screaming 'fuck you!'"

And it's too bad. Hempfest has claimed to be all about legalizing marijuana and creating a positive environment. It didn't. Instead, it gave opponents a platform, while Hempfest leaders cowered.

Sorry, Hempfest organizers, but legalization is going to come with big-kid, all-grown-up-now rules. That means rules for DUI, licenses for growers, taxes, and all that stuff that comes with regulating an agricultural commodity. And now that your movement finally made it to the big time, it seems to me that some greedy folks who prospered under prohibition are whining that they like the old system. Of course they do: They're making money hand over goddamn fist under the old system. And they will always come up with a complaint, just as specious as these dishonest complaints they raised at Hempfest this year. If another initiative comes around, they'll have more complaints about that one.

But Hempfest didn't stand up to those people when it counted most. When the sound, thoughtful, well-funded initiative was on the ballot in a presidential election year, Hempfest caved.

I hate to say it—because it makes me a bad man, a dick, a fucker, and all that—but if Hempfest can't stand up for legalization when it matters, it isn't a pot legalization rally. It's just a smoke-in.


Comments (144) RSS

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I'm terribly sad to hear the fuckwads harassed the pro-502 volunteers. Jesus fuck. Thanks for reporting on it.
Posted by gloomy gus on August 21, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Baconcat 2
Well, I'm sure it's a great idea to flout election laws when you're running against a campaign headed by the west coast's best legal minds. I'm sure nobody will get sue-y over this.
Posted by Baconcat on August 21, 2012 at 5:04 PM · Report this
The anti-502 crowd was also approaching and harassing anybody who took any sort of interest in the pro-502 side. Nothing makes me see your side of things like having you wag your finger in my face and shout NO as though I were a dog that just took a dump on your carpet.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on August 21, 2012 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Fnarf 4
And the "pot causes brain damage" crowd just gets more and more and more ammunition.
Posted by Fnarf on August 21, 2012 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Thanks so much for showing the true side of this years "protestival." It's a sad state of affairs! Yes on I-502!
Posted by Yes! on August 21, 2012 at 5:24 PM · Report this
It's rather heartening to see that even the staunchest of pro-pot activists, and and former director of Hempfest to boot, might eventually admit that the event really doesn't amount to anything more than a large public smoke-in.
Posted by robotslave on August 21, 2012 at 5:26 PM · Report this
Hmmmmm, when the potheads diss your legalization proposal like this I think it means we will IGNORE the bullshit law should it actially pass and be implemented. We currently IGNORE the other bullshit prohibition laws, so why would I 502 be different?

"If your laws are tolerable, I will tolerate them. If they are not tolerable, I will ignore them, for I alone am ultimately responsible."
Posted by SamWayneSmith on August 21, 2012 at 5:36 PM · Report this
Dougsf 8
Am I the only one thinking this poster needs more MC Skat Kat?
Posted by Dougsf on August 21, 2012 at 5:41 PM · Report this
Dougsf 9
Oh crap, I used my "one stupid crack per topic" allowance and THEN noticed there's a spokeswoman in this story named Lori Anderson. Crap.
Posted by Dougsf on August 21, 2012 at 5:46 PM · Report this
Hernandez 10
Yeah, well, this is America. Unbridled greed, paranoia, and outright lies always outweigh any moral concerns.

Who cares about getting the ball rolling on a legitimate challenge to federal drug laws? Who cares about the thousands jailed every year for possession? Who cares about the blatant immorality of the drug war that we should be trying ANY and ALL avenues to bring to an end?

No, it's more important to sell medical pot licenses to perfectly healthy people, thus preserving their profitable little fiefdom.

Plus? Ignorance. You'd be surprised how many of these folks, even in the Hempfest organization, are willing to believe any bullshit as long as it fits their preferred narrative. There's no "expanded consciousness" there, just a bunch of closed minds.
Posted by Hernandez on August 21, 2012 at 5:47 PM · Report this
If we have to wait for "big-kid, all-grown-up-now rules", legalization will take at least 3 generations... probably more than 10.

Sorry, I can't wait that long.
Posted by QCislander on August 21, 2012 at 5:53 PM · Report this
If we have to wait for "big-kid, all-grown-up-now rules", legalization will take at least 3 generations... probably more than 10.

Sorry, I can't wait that long.
Posted by QCislander on August 21, 2012 at 5:56 PM · Report this
icouldliveinhope 13
$200 is way too much. Little-known fact, apparently: authorizations are WAY CHEAPER anywhere else in the city, for the most part.
Posted by icouldliveinhope on August 21, 2012 at 5:58 PM · Report this
It's like the luddites, or the anti-foreign car backlash around 1980, except way more stoned. The law will bring a radical change to the market, and they fear for their survival. Not helpful, but understandable. Maybe some daring young reporter will write up a cheat sheet with factual bullet point responses so the rest of us could just drag our fearful friends eyeballs to a web page, or paper...

@7 Something tell me if 502 passes, you'll be ignored after your background check anyway.
Posted by Large Hardon Colluder on August 21, 2012 at 6:03 PM · Report this
JonnoN 15
Thanks for reporting this, you are not a dick.
Posted by JonnoN on August 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM · Report this
@7: You'll have LESS TO IGNORE, you ignoramus.
Posted by less risk, more freedom, save me! on August 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM · Report this
Sean Kinney 17
When ConAgra is growing your weed, will the profits be equitably distributed? Who will be working in those fields (migrant labor making pennies on the dollar)? I would like to convinced otherwise that the money generated in the current black/grey economy is less horizontally structured than a corporate system of production and distribution.
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on August 21, 2012 at 6:39 PM · Report this
willisreed 18
This is a bunch of dispensary owners trying to protect their profits at the expence of the larger good.

So it's really no different than what we see on any initiative campaign....
Posted by willisreed on August 21, 2012 at 6:43 PM · Report this
Great post Dominic. Very well done.
Posted by Bean on August 21, 2012 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Oh, Dominic.....YAWN. You have a better argument to make. You did not make it here. You continue to let your personal feelings get in the way. The argument is simple. I-502 is THE WORST "pro-cannabis legalization" initiative ever written. It is on the ballot, so voters hve a simple choice. Is THE WORST "pro cannabis legalization" initiative ever written better than no cannabis legalization initiative at all; BUT PLEASE STOP TRYING TO PUT LIPSTICK ON THAT PIG. It is a pig and it stinks.
Posted by MickeyMartin on August 21, 2012 at 7:05 PM · Report this
GhostDog 21
Ok, so what I'm seeing here is that I-502 is going to go the exact same route that Prop 19 did.

Which means that I-502 will not pass but will make enough of a splash to freak the Feds out, creating exactly the busts and closures that the MMJ people didn't want. Just like what's going on in California right now.

Which will knock the wind out of the legalization movement in Washington for at least around 6 years(realistically around 10 or 20).

Good job.
Posted by GhostDog on August 21, 2012 at 7:08 PM · Report this
So, I remember the dire predictions that circulated about the apocalypse that would come if Prop 19 failed.... Ugh, they were all absolutely wrong. I think the same is true of I502
It is really flawed ethically, legally and financially. I 502 is poor law, IMHHO and the Cannabis Movement success does NOT ride in it's passage. The sky will not fall Henny Penny, no matter what Chicken Little says. Do not legalize ignorance, work to end I502 now.
Posted by SamWayneSmith on August 21, 2012 at 7:10 PM · Report this
@20, thank you for pointing out specifically which parts of the initiative make it THE WORST whatever, and for specifically refuting whatever Dominic said that wasn't completely accurate. As you say, "The argument is simple."
Posted by aiff on August 21, 2012 at 7:11 PM · Report this
Oh, Dominic.....YAWN. You have a better argument to make. You did not make it here. You continue to let your personal feelings get in the way. The argument is simple. I-502 is THE WORST "pro-cannabis legalization" initiative ever written. It is on the ballot, so voters hve a simple choice. Is THE WORST "pro cannabis legalization" initiative ever written better than no cannabis legalization initiative at all; BUT PLEASE STOP TRYING TO PUT LIPSTICK ON THAT PIG. It is a pig and it stinks. Attacking your former comrades at Hempfest because you were not passionate or motivating enough to sell them on 502 is unbecoming.
Posted by MickeyMartin on August 21, 2012 at 7:12 PM · Report this
I think this is great.

I don't smoke, never have, and plan on voting for I-502. But now I'm off the hook.

When it doesn't pass, I can officially not give a fuck. You fucktards can continue being busted, beaten, and imprisoned, and I'll happily continue to pay the taxes to imprison your stupid, fucking asses and get on with my life.

I can't believe the bald-faced ignorance Saint Vivian and "MickeyMartin" above maintain in the face of the political process.

You know what? It's nothing to me. Fuck you, your felony record that keeps you from getting a job, your kids being taken away - all so sad! When 502 fails in part because you retards can't get your heads around political compromise, I just won't give a shit.
Posted by John Galt on August 21, 2012 at 7:15 PM · Report this
GhostDog 26


Are you sure?…

Really really sure?…

As in absolutely sure?…

And, in case you don't want to read, the first few links are articles outlining the backlash that happened because California came close to passing Prop 19. The last one is from San Francisco Weekly showing that legalization efforts in California are dead until at least 2014.

Posted by GhostDog on August 21, 2012 at 7:24 PM · Report this
Dom Dom Dom... you certainly are a one trick pony:

1) Don't worry about our reporting. Its straight.

2) 4evergreen Group was built for legalization and we are 100% for legalization. Anyone with an iota of business sense would be able to see this from a mile away. Do you think we would spend this much time on developing a brand without the foresight to think 'Gee, we're really screwed if this legalizes'. OF COURSE NOT. My CFO is kicking me for being against 1-502 because he understands the financial opportunity that would exist if it passed. THINK ABOUT IT.. we have the most recognizable brand in this space, do you honestly think that we wouldn't find a way to monetize it if the marker 10x'ed?? Seriously? I don't ever want to hear this shameful argument from you ever again. Frankly its pathetic. We decided to go against 502 because its THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Morals, you ever heard of them? Your track record certainly wouldn't show it.

2) 502 cannot be compared to Prop 19 because it is MUCH MUCH MUCH worse. They had home grows for all. We have a DUI component that WILL shift law enforcement revenue strategy from busting small distribution and possession charges into making 'routine' DUI busts. Don't believe me? I have quotes from law enforcement outside of Seattle that admit this. Don't believe that? Read PDA issue 3.

3) Unlike that downright RACIST ACLU backed advertisement that states that '502 will take marijuana out of the hands of the gangs' it is actually the exact opposite that will occur. Throughout history it has been proven that when you tax the shit out of commodity (502 comes with an 85% tax, thats right 85%) EVERYTHING moves back underground. You think that Wa St. has the ability to control that? Seriously? There has never been a time when obtaining liquor on the black market has been easier than it is now. Why do you think that is Dom? Your the smartass in the room. Answer the question. Dick.

4) Yes on 502'ers got their ass handed to them at Hempfest because a) we're right, b) we're more passionate, c) Holcomb has never been interested in the 'smokers' your ad proves that. Think Im lying? Ill wait to drop that one. You also failed to mention that I personally got assaulted by a 502'er AND the same asshole spit in my friends face (it really happened) when he stepped in to defend me.

I can go on and on and on and on about how terrible this bill will be for a) patients, b) minorities, c) people that dont live on capital hill d) everyone, but Im sick of trying to convince a bunch of people who would rather live in a vacuum.

ALL: READ THE BILL! have your lawyer read it. Notice that they COMPLETELY REWRITE THE DUI laws of washington state that will effect not only smokers but drinkers too. Its a trojan horse, and Dom is the jockey.

Keep riding it brother.. the truth is about to be revealed for ALL to see

Jb 4e
Posted by doeberman on August 21, 2012 at 7:33 PM · Report this
This is how it worked.

1) you guys did the polling.
2) you raised the money from out of state resources.
3) your polling showed that you didn't need the MMj community at all to pass the bill.

So you decided to COMPLETELY leave the entire legalization and MMJ community out of the process. EVERY SINGLE LEGALIZATION outfit in the state is against 502. Shouldn't we all ask why before we go ahead and just decide blindly that this is a great bill.

502 STOLE the momentum from the legalization movement and created a bill that fucks us all. This is not legalization, no one will go to a store and pay twice as much for bullshit pot. No one. Its one of the dumbest pieces of legislation ever written, which most lawyers will agree will never make it out of the State supreme court (Inslee and McKenna are both against it) and all we will be left with is this BULLSHIT DUI bill. Thats the truth right there. Rule number one in activism is DO NO HARM. This is very very harmful.

Legalization is inevitable. Why would we pass this CRAP this year when we can pass something great next year. It makes no sense. Its terrible precedent for the nationwide effort.

Lastly, if the science is so clear on the DUI provision THEN WHY DID COLORADO AND OREGON both decide to pull it out of there bill? I'll answer it for you, BECAUSE THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR IT. There is a perfectly fine DUI measure in place. This bill could take decades to undue if it ever happens. Be smart.. Read the bill, think about it, then decide.
Posted by doeberman on August 21, 2012 at 7:51 PM · Report this
Well written, Dominic. Y'know, some years ago I had a friend (elderly and now gone) who owned some property in Kentucky, which he went back to check on occasionally. The county that property was in is the biggest whiskey producer in the country; it's also a "dry" county where one can't legally buy liquor.

Every few years, according to my friend, an initiative would make it on the ballot to lift the prohibition in the county. And every time, the same two groups would get it defeated: the preachers and the moonshiners.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Posted by DonServo on August 21, 2012 at 7:51 PM · Report this
FYI, position is that I think the WORST "PRO-CANNABIS LEGALIZATION" initiative is better than none at all; but I do not have to live with the consequences either; nor do I get to vote for it. And I certainly could not stomach trying to sell this horseshit to the masses, as Dominick has decided to. I am actually theoretically on Dominic's side. The problem is, in his anger, Dominick has lost his fucking mind and actually now believes this is good law; to the point he is willing to slander those who have traveled with him on most of his journey. Sad fucking reality. You can honestly tell how scared Dominick, and who ever else is running the Yes campaign actually are in this piece. It is a plea for help.....and a pathetic one at that. "From one end of the park to the other they were kicking our ass with propaganda. We are losing everything. Write an article, Dom. Accuse them of something illegal."
Posted by MickeyMartin on August 21, 2012 at 7:54 PM · Report this
Honestly, Hempfest was fucking creepy. It was a bunch of 12 year olds, some pregnant women, and people with kids. They need new rules: 1) you have to be 18 to enter and 2) no pregnant women, the consumption of smoke, any smoke, should be explicitly looked down upon by all communities.

As for the bill, those arguing against it have yet to provide anything for discussion that's even remotely based on reality.
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on August 21, 2012 at 8:05 PM · Report this
@27 You guys could have offered up another initiative to amend the problems, or a competing plan. Instead, you want the state to stay in this legal limbo, as 26 so kindly pointed out, for even more years? It could be a better law, but it's much better than what we have now.

Posted by Large Hardon Colluder on August 21, 2012 at 8:06 PM · Report this
raku 33
I never could have imagined the pro-drunk driving lobby would be so open about it. These people need to have their licenses and cars taken away.
Posted by raku on August 21, 2012 at 8:13 PM · Report this
Hey Dom. Explain to everyone what 'SEVERBILITY' is and why it exist in 502?

Give up? It means that even if the feds come and strike some of this bill then the rest of it will hold. Why would we include it in this bill if we 1) didn't expect for some of the bill to be 'severed', 2) didn't want the DUI component to hold up regardless. Im no conspiracy theorist but shouldn't we all scratch are heads as to why this is in the bill at all? Shouldn't we all be a little bit concerned that its in there.

Ill tell you a factoid. A study that is set to be released later this year took 20 MMJ patients (in colorado) and quarantined them for 30 days. No smoking, not for any of them. They then tested there are active THC levels everyday and recorded the results. What they actually found was that the levels actually ROSE AND FELL throughout the various days without any relationship to impairment. There were certain patients that tested above a .25 NG/ML on the 15th day. There were still patients that tested above a .05 NG/ML on the 30th day.

Under 502 they would get a DUI.. after the 30th day.

There is a reason we are concerned. Not because we are stoned, or stupid, or greedy.. its because we are trying to create law on science that isn't real.

Most access point owners would normally be for this bill. They see what is happening in Cali, they watch it closer then you. They don't want to be raided, they would rather get a license. But what choice do we have? Bad legislation is bad legislation and we're not going to stand for it. Ultimately we have to make the same choice that we have made all the way up to this point. Fight like hell.
Posted by doeberman on August 21, 2012 at 8:17 PM · Report this
@32 I-517

There are other options already on the table. Our plan is to kill this piece of shit and pass the right thing in 12 months. Is that such a hard thing to understand?
Posted by doeberman on August 21, 2012 at 8:20 PM · Report this
raku 36
Give me a break #34. Name the professor and university who is sponsoring the phantom study you're talking about. You can't, because you're flat out lying. You want to drive drunk or you've been influenced by an asshole who does, end of story.
Posted by raku on August 21, 2012 at 8:22 PM · Report this
Just Jeff 37

Telling the truth doesn't make you a dick. It makes you a journalist.

Looking forward to more of the same.
Posted by Just Jeff on August 21, 2012 at 8:26 PM · Report this
If the anti-502 crowd has persuaded all of Hempfest to join their crusade, there's no need to worry. Hempfest is largely just a bunch of ineffectual Libertarian stoners who don't vote anyway.
Posted by Meat Weapon on August 21, 2012 at 8:37 PM · Report this
Interesting story. As a non smoker who doesn't really care one way or the other, this story makes me want to vote no. If weed is going to be legalized, then at least I'd like for all parties to be organized and on board. No way I'm voting for a bunch of chaotic stoners.
Posted by Duuuuuude on August 21, 2012 at 8:38 PM · Report this
@20: My, what a convincing argument you make... "It's bad because it's bad! Durr!"
Posted by suddenlyorcas on August 21, 2012 at 8:41 PM · Report this
@35 I should have been clearer, why not for this election cycle? There was time to get them listed, starting when 502 was announced. We all could be standing behind both right now. 517 is going to have a harder time during an off year election, especially if 502 gets shot down. I'll vote for it, but it's a day late and a dollar short. Better 502 this year, then 517, as we see what the feds do.

Posted by Large Hardon Colluder on August 21, 2012 at 8:42 PM · Report this
@35: What is the "right" thing? Please, enlighten us. Try to check your ad-hominem though.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on August 21, 2012 at 8:46 PM · Report this
#25, slow clap. You said exactly what was on my mind.
The DUI provision is the thing that seems to have stuck this initiative in the mud - and The Stranger, among other news and research outlets, has proven to my satisfaction that the required legal levels as stated in the plan are a)not common to moderate use, and b) likely constitute a justifiable level of intoxication and impairment. Meaning, someone that level of fucked up had sure as hell BETTER be off the road.
Right now, you can have not one drop of alcohol in your bloodstream and ANY amount of THC, and have a case made for a DUI charge. This bill would have set a bar of protection at a reasonable level, and the pro-pot community shit all over a reasonable revolution.
Posted by TrickyC on August 21, 2012 at 8:50 PM · Report this
Um, #34, a NG is a millionth the size of a MG. So .05 NG/ML is .00000005 MG/ML. That is far, far below 5 MG/ML
Posted by ubermaus on August 21, 2012 at 9:04 PM · Report this
Great article! As a non-pot smoker/non-voting (not an American Citizen) Seattle resident it's been interesting watching how this plays out.

Honestly I think it comes down to responsibility. Right now the only responsibility pot smokers have is to not get caught. And for most white people smoking pot that’s pretty easy. So minorities and the rare very unlucky white dude are the people that are really affected by the current pot laws. For the 99% white pot smokers things are great, they can get good pot cheap and not pay taxes and not worry about being busted. They also don’t have to worry about being of age. Really life is pretty good, as long as they don’t get caught (and for the few white pot smokers that do they usually get a slap on the wrist).

Now I-502 comes around and asks these people to take some social responsibility for their habit, similar to those who drink or smoke cigarettes. And what happens? The pot smokers lose their shit. What’s being asked of them? To pay taxes, this is an issue? Fuck not only do I have to pay a shit load of taxes on booze, I need to on most things. Guess what; paying taxes is part of being an acceptable legal commodity.

Then they complain about not being able to drive. Like you’ve said Dominic, the research shows that the limit in I-502 is reasonable. If guess what, if it turns out not to be it can always be changed. But the anti I-502 people are coming across as spoiled brats whinnying that they can’t drive stoned. And guess what, you can’t drive drunk. GET OVER IT. Also even though it’s a “medicine’ you still can’t legally drive if your meds impair your driving. If I’m taking Tylenol 3’s I can be charged with impaired driving. Pot isn’t special.

I’m willing to be a good percentage of the people at Hempfest (10-20%) where underage as well. Pot smokers have this attitude of they don’t own society anything and they don’t have to be responsible, they just don’t have to get caught. Well it’s time for them to grow up.

If I-502 tanks due to pot smokers tanking it I think most people who don’t smoke will stop caring about the legalization movement. Pot smokers will be seen as spoiled brats and the medical pot movement will be seen as less respectable. Pot smokers who are anti I-502 say they have a lot to lose if it passes, but I think they have a lot more to lose if it fails.
Posted by j2patter on August 21, 2012 at 9:26 PM · Report this

So this is an open air rally that any 11 year old could walk into and get drugs?

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 21, 2012 at 9:29 PM · Report this
WOW, I think it is really so interesting that a disorganized bunch of politically ignorant and inept stoners can persuade the city to give them the use of a whole park for a whole week.

It is fascinating how the Hempfest magic lulls an entire police force into ignoring rampant criminal activity year after year as their thousands of volunteers run an elaborate multi million dollar scam

Damn if it don't seem like lazy, stupid and stoned is winning over ambitious, smart and straight in this war..;-D
Posted by gottawinnaheah on August 21, 2012 at 9:50 PM · Report this
Posted by on August 21, 2012 at 9:51 PM · Report this
Andy_Squirrel 49
Amen DOM! Great write up!
Posted by Andy_Squirrel on August 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM · Report this
I've donated to Hempfest before because I thought they supported legalization. I'd like my money back.
Posted by madcap on August 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM · Report this
@35 I'm assuming we both meant I-514, not Eyman's 517 crap.
Posted by Large Hardon Colluder on August 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM · Report this
@34, I'm dying to hear your comment on @44.

I think your little anecdote is a perfect example of the "science" against 502. Anyway, it's given me some much-needed laughter tonight.
Posted by aiff on August 21, 2012 at 10:42 PM · Report this
Al Capone opposed the lifting of prohibition too -- cut into his extraordinarily lucrative bootlegging racket. History is repeating itself here.
Posted by Citizen R on August 21, 2012 at 10:59 PM · Report this
@doughberman, 27, 28, 34, 35:

You know PDC reports are available online, right?

Funny thing is, when you look at the contributions made to Sensible Washington's 2010 legalization initiative, I-1068, you find not one single donation by Joshua Berman or anyone employed by 4 Evergreen Group:….

Strangely, you find the same thing when you look at the reports for Sensible's 2011 effort, I-1149:….

But wait, what about Yes End Penalties' 2012 effort, I-505? Nope, not a cent:….

Color me shocked, shocked, shocked to discover the same lack of support for GrassRootsWA's Cannabis Child Protection Act in either its 2012 form, I-1223, or the 2013 effort, I-514:….

Shut your lying pie hole. You don't want legalization. You want recreational tokers who hope for a little protection from arrest to keep shilling out dollars for your authorizations -- which they won't need anymore once I-502 passes. And while you claim you're looking forward to cashing in on your brand after selling marijuana becomes legal, you're actually sweating the competition that's going to hand you your ass. You know, all those people willing to actually do a little work for a paycheck.

By the way, you might ask your lawyer how smart it is for 4E to post videos of young healthy people who "came here to have some fun" drinking and smoking up piles of weed, and for you to be posting product reviews for your friends in the dispensary business. A U.S. Attorney might wonder if a case could be made that you were promoting distribution of pot.

A word of advice: pick greed OR stupidity. They're a bad combination.
Posted by Ye Doth Protest Too Much on August 21, 2012 at 11:22 PM · Report this
Good write Dom. Went to one hempfest 'bout a decade back and had such a great time enjoying the unity expressed in getting out the vote for lowest police priority. Even rode the monorail. Nearly had myself convinced to go back this year, glad I didn't.

The medical elites here in CA were the end of prop 19. It is almost cointelpro agitation. A great paper on it - THE POLITICS OF EXCLUSION IN CALIFORNIA’S

Perfection is the enemy of the good.
Posted by Jay Bergstrom on August 21, 2012 at 11:25 PM · Report this
Dom, you are good. If I didn't know better I would be tempted by your eloquence in writing this. Hats off.
Buuuut, a few things about the substance behind your glistening façade…
First, your assertion that Hempfest attendees went away opposing I-502 is totally correct, because most Hempfest attendees indeed went away opposing I-502. But, let's get this straight. According to your portrayal of why that is, some greed or fear-based conspiracy from within Hempfest (which did an outstanding job being neutral and keeping things respectful), combined with the actions of people with no central funding that spend money fighting each other took down the back East billionaire-funded pro’s? Apparently, these disconnected entities doing things in a way that is hard to recognize as anything resembling a campaign went up against a giant with $3 million in funding and a whole professional political team... And the low-budget-in-fighting-disorganized-burningeachotheraliveinfrontofthemedia-lowlifes against 502 won the crowd of 200,000 + over by a margin of about 85% to 10% because of some greedy industry influence?! You make us out to be marketing geniuses brother! Thanks for the undeserved pat on the back....
The reality is that once people who are enthusiasts hear the details of the initiative and also realize that 2 other states have better policies that would make far better national standards than 502, about 85% of them turn against it and there is no winning them back.
I speak to young people in my life who are terrified of the "making life even more legally dangerous if you are under 21" part of 502. They are talking in their own circles far outside my influence and then I pick up on it. We all thought that law enforcement was not the right tool for handling cannabis issues, yet here are more penalties for young adults?
Patients who sit and read this on their own and then discuss it are sick about the future they see.
You are wrong about the medical cannabis provider and patient community as some major greed factor, and I think that shows how much you are willing to distort things to win your argument. Let's face it. If I-502 passes, some who want to be commercial will go commercial under 502, and those who want to stick with the patient thing will keep doing that. How can it be greed for a group to oppose a move that would open up the market to everyone over the age of 21 and now we're talking very large regulated companies?
Your selective presentation of the recent past is really a slap in the face to the broad coalitions that promoted SB 5073 last year & I-692 in 1998. These folks who you portray as feeding off of the chaos raised tens of thousands of dollars and spent much of it pushing 5073 forward. Remember that bill that would have given them tight regulation from the state? The one that would have given more protections to patients?
Your spin on this, while earning high scores in delivery, really betrays what so many of the people in the medical cannabis world have proven themselves to be.
NAW really should not bother spending all that money this fall and save some for the next effort. The bad news on this initiative is spreading on its own and support will fall away. This vulnerability may make it more likely that legalization opponents will see this as an easier kill and bother spending money to go after swing voters while more and more patients and regular users of cannabis turn against it from the base. This is not my fault or anyone's other than those who crafted this without real input from this community. We tried to warn them and they were not concerned.
When this narrowly fails, I hope the 502 promoters will not miss a step in turning right around and crafting the next initiative or bill for Olympia. If the right thing is created, we will have broad support from across the cannabis spectrum and not create whole new legal threats for fixing in the future. We would be quick to let go of this year's dramas and offer our free input on how to create something that would have the medical community buzzing with support rather than rallying in opposition.
Posted by Ezra Eickmeyer on August 21, 2012 at 11:29 PM · Report this

The Cannabis Child Protection Act (which would make it legal for anyone over 21 to drive stoned) isn't going to be on the ballot this year because it failed to secure enough signatures when it was floated as initiative to the people i-1223.

That's why it was resubmitted, without any change in wording, as initiative to the legislature i-514.

I just don't see any good-faith effort to craft a plan that both does away with the dispensary cartel, and also addresses the impaired-driver concern that has derailed legalization in other states.

i1208 (Washington Safe Cannabis Act) moves marijuana from schedule I while keeping it restricted to medical use, thereby protecting both pot doctors and their monopoly on legal marijuana sales

i1217 (Medical Cannabis) protections from federal arrest for profit-makers in the WA medical pot cartel, with no new protections for patients.
Posted by robotslave on August 21, 2012 at 11:33 PM · Report this
Great job as usual Dominic. Thanks.
Posted by gnossos on August 21, 2012 at 11:37 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 59
The herp in this thread from the anti folks is stunning. @45 is right, you're scared to death your free ride is over and you're doing it on the backs of minorities just you can drive stoned. And then you turn around and claim that the pro people, the ones who actually did the work to move legalization forward, are racists.

Care to open your books and show us just how much you stand to make if the initiative is passed? Do you have anything on record from your lawyer stating that you're crazy for throwing away all that money as you've claimed he did? Are you willing to release this phantom study of yours so we can all look at the science behind it? I see lots of threats and accusations and absolutely nothing to back it up.

Instead of providing an alternative, you attack someone who's done more for pot in the city of Seattle than any of you fuckers. Tell me, what have you actually done other than make money through the MMJ initiative? Because Dom got an initiative passed to make possession the lowest enforcement priority. I trust him much more than you.

Plus there's your use of ALL CAPS and improper usage of "your" instead of "you're." Derp.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on August 21, 2012 at 11:44 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 60
Shorter @56 - Dom is a hack because he knows science, uses big words, and people listen to him! And when this initiative fails, we'll all clasp hands, sing kumbaya, and another bill that lets everyone live in a land of puppies and sunshine (with no responsiblity required for anyone, yay!) will magically appear and pass the legislature (but both Inslee and McKenna are against this initiative, so we know we'll undoubtedly have their support to next year!). Oh, and we want the people who made this initiative happen do all the work again because they should want to work with us. What could go wrong? It's as easy as (pot) pie!
Posted by Pridge Wessea on August 22, 2012 at 12:02 AM · Report this
I can't get behind a change in the laws that allows and encourages more legal penalties for under 21s. This is one of the sell out portions of the thing.

@45 lays out pretty well the trade you are trying to make, increase in busts for pot DUI and under 21 users in exchange for support for a bill which draws revenue out of pot sales.

Where is this epidemic of pot DUI fatal traffic accidents that desperately require hard coding poorly supported THC standards because there isn't time to wait for better data?
Posted by cracked on August 22, 2012 at 12:32 AM · Report this
@61 - Exactly!!! Where were the car pile ups after Hempfest? What? They don't happen. Oh. Why? Because Cannabis doesn't effect people like alcohol.

Dom is totally ignoring the issue about people under 21 being fucked over by this. Any opportunistic unfair LEO's knows they will be able to profile people by lifestyle choice and be able to issue DUI's even when the person is sober without anything illegal in the car as long as they have consumed in the last few days. This is fucking ridiculous. 18 - 20 year olds are adults and should represent a decent demographic of Stranger readers. Shouldn't you be concerned about their rights?

I was even stopped, searched and arrested dressed like a punk when I was 18. The cop admitted it was due to the way I looked. Sure the misdemeanor possession charge sucked, but it's better than getting a DUI.

And this thing about 5 ng/ml being a reasonable amount? Only for some people - infrequent consumers. Daily consumers, especially people who consume edibles can have 5 ng/ml in their blood the day after. Prove to us this is not possible. Where is your research and proof? What study says this can not happen? Not looking for infrequent users who may drop below 5 ng/ml hours after consuming, but daily patients and regular consumers. Where is the data on this group? What? No one has it? Then why the fuck do you claim to know this as a fact? How come pro I-502 haven't paid for this type of research?

Further more, this notion that a 5 ng/ml limit is better than what we have is pure bullshit. This is blood boiling. A 'per se' DUI amount strips people's rights to defend themselves in court. Currently people accused of THC DUI's above 5 ng /ml successfully prove that they were in fact not impaired in court. The 'per se' 5 ng/ml limit will make this pretty much impossible. Above 5 ng/ml will be considered proof of impairment.

The Stranger can be a good way to find out about local ads and event listings, but the editorial content has gone to shit. Back in the late 90's we never thought the Weekly would have better articles than the Stranger. Life is full of surprises. Bravo Dom for lowering our standards even further.

For those interested in a fully objective and referenced article, go here. Even explains the deal with currently defending over 5 ng /ml in courts:…
Posted by Concerned Cannabinoid Citizen on August 22, 2012 at 2:15 AM · Report this
So Dominic why don't you care about the DUI provision?

What's that? You only care about your own self righteousness and you yourself do not drive? Oh yeah. Almost forgot about that.

Thanks for being so straight forward about this detail.
Posted by Not an Ingram on August 22, 2012 at 2:18 AM · Report this
Banned on The Seattle Times 64
Great article Dom - you called it exactly right, Fuck Viv - he's a traitor to the cause as are all the MM people who are too stoned out of their mind to even understand what they are saying.

I didn't go this year for the first year in forever - and I am done with those stoned clowns...
Posted by Banned on The Seattle Times on August 22, 2012 at 3:02 AM · Report this
watchout5 65
I successfully boycotted Hempfest and I'm really not surprised that's how it went down. I would have loved video of the guy wandering aimlessly screaming fuck you at anyone willing to say we should legalize marijuana at the expense of people who drive high. Even if the police wanted to they couldn't arrest everyone for DUI, you still get to have your day in court! So it's not a bill that will allow you to grow as much personal stash as you want, cause we all remember when alcohol prohibition fell the only reason we supported it was because we got to make our own liquor. >.< I will gladly boycott Hempfest in the future thank you for this article that really really really needs to be said.
Posted by watchout5 on August 22, 2012 at 3:37 AM · Report this
Hempfest has alwasy been a huge excuse for a smoke-out. I don't discount the medical benefits of weed anymore than I would discount those of opiates or aspirin, but that said, the medical marijuana team is seemingly really in to commodifying what I recall stupid hippies telling me was "not a drug, it is from the earth, maaaannnn!" into "medicine."

Shit, just reading this makes me annoyed, I need more medicine, where's my whisky?
Posted by fufufufuf on August 22, 2012 at 4:24 AM · Report this
As a patient I get mad when they try and tell me legalizing is a bad thing.. My response is "but it will be legal"

Gotta think the people who profit greatly are against this. I say vote yes and then work out the other details like the drunk driving law.. I mean who the hell gets pulled over for driving stoned?

Posted by BobMarley on August 22, 2012 at 7:33 AM · Report this
Kinison 68
Isnt Hempfest in violation of the state smoking ban? Technically this is a venue given that its all gated up. Being outside is no excuse because ive been to a few restaurants with outdoor seating thats easily 30' from any entrance and was told my guests couldn't smoke because the public sidewalk was technically part of the restaurant and covered by the smoking ban.

By all means, go to Julia's on broadway and see for yourself.
Posted by Kinison on August 22, 2012 at 7:52 AM · Report this
The right wing seemed to be very well represented at Hempfest this year. I guess I had always assumed everyone at Hempfest was a leftist liberal. But these folks decked out in red seemed to be very anti-regulation and anti-tax. Also, they were calling the "Yes on 502" people (in blue) evil, fascists, and "nazicrats." I could not help but think of the kinds of rhetoric leveled against Barack Obama. I guess the fact is, when it comes to an election year, there is not escaping party politics.
Posted by cetusvega on August 22, 2012 at 7:58 AM · Report this
Fenrox 70
Its strange that all these people cant... well, read. I mean the DUI provision in the bill is better than the no DUI provision currently in effect. I don't understand how people can't see that there is a worse policy in place now, that all the fears are currently true.
Posted by Fenrox on August 22, 2012 at 8:08 AM · Report this
Baconcat 71
@34: it was the medical marijuana industry that killed legalization in California. The raids happened anyway. And maybe because the Feds thought that opposition to legal marijuana was sufficient enough, after the vote, to justify the raids.

That would be a good ad: raids and arrests spiked after legalization failed in CA.
Posted by Baconcat on August 22, 2012 at 8:33 AM · Report this
@61 People under 21 aren't loosing anything under I-502. Its currently illegal for them to smoke/have pot. What is going to happen is that white people under 21 are going to have the law enforced more often. Look at the stats, black kids are much much more likely to be busted for pot possession. If you want to be honest in auguring against I-502, instead of saying there are going to be more penalties for under 21, say that white kids under 21 will loose their white privilege.

As for 21 being the legal age, well personal I think it's stupid that you need to be 21 to drink, but I understand I-502 trying not to fight that issue as well.

Also kids shouldn't be allowed to smoke
Posted by j2patter on August 22, 2012 at 9:05 AM · Report this
I volunteered for Y on I-502/ NAW for a few hours during Hempfest. It was an incredibly and surprisingly hostile environment--people would walk by the tent and boo, for example, and when I asked those folks to come over and talk about the initiative so we can address their concerns, most just kept walking and didn't care. When we did speak to folks, we were able to address their concerns and at least got them to think more critically about the initiative, if we weren't able to turn them around completely.

We were not allowed to leave the booth to pass out materials--the worry (as I understood it) was that the No organizers would say we were violating the rules and we would be asked to leave. This means that we weren't freely able to distribute buttons, pamphlets, etc, even in the area just in front of the tent. The No folks had two or three booths at Hempfest, as well as supporting mmj co-ops distributing their material. It felt like the Y on 502 folks were set up to fail at Hempfest.

Another concern was that people were being told incorrect information about the initiative, especially relating to the DUI and MMJ provisions in the law. We tried our best to set things straight, but again, were were stymied by the hostile atmosphere.

While I was volunteering, a particularly foul individual at the adjacent Fweedom Collective tent was heckling us, essentially just yelling "No!" at us when he got a free moment. I am an mmj patient. I had heard good things about Fweedom, but based on the actions of just this one guy, I'll gladly take my $ elsewhere (to a neutral or a 502-supporting co-op).
Posted by anonymous volunteer on August 22, 2012 at 9:29 AM · Report this
The pic on the front of the No 502 pamphlet looks just like Dominic Holden, I thought for a moment Dom had come to his senses.

But then I heard that Dominic and Ben Livingston verbally abused and harrassed a No on 502 booth by sticking a camera in the volunteers faces and screaming at them that they're violating campaign laws. Innocent volunteers who have no idea about campaign laws. Next time go have a gentlemans talk with the people responsible, that is if you can be men and not boy toys for politicians.

Now, who is the divisive factors in the War on Cannabis? I'd say it's these two and the person behind the Facebook forum that allows the abusive threats on people who disagree with Jody Emery who isn't even American!
Posted by witness on August 22, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Report this
This is probably one of the worst written, misinformed articles I have ever read. I am extremely appalled that the stranger would publish it.
Posted by Red-Seattle on August 22, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Report this
The pic on the front of the No 502 pamphlet looks just like Dominic Holden, I thought for a moment Dom had come to his senses.

But then I heard that Dominic and Ben Livingston verbally abused and harrassed a No on 502 booth by sticking a camera in the volunteers faces and screaming at them that they're violating campaign laws. Innocent volunteers who have no idea about campaign laws. Next time go have a gentlemans talk with the people responsible, that is if you can be men and not boy toys for politicians.

Now, who is the divisive factors in the War on Cannabis? I'd say it's these two and the person behind the Facebook forum that allows the abusive threats on people who disagree with Jody Emery who isn't even American!
Posted by Spam420 on August 22, 2012 at 10:09 AM · Report this
doeberman (joel berman): i've been an activist in this state for 15 years - i've never seen you at a rally, a meeting, a hearing. nothing. you claim to care about legalization and the patients, yet i've never seen you actively participate in anything. and as @54 pointed out, you don't even donate money to any causes. "we can pass something great next year"? do you even know anything about passing initiatives and activism?
Posted by westseattlered on August 22, 2012 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Catherwood 78
@44, you're on the right track but I think you got a prefix wrong. The DUI limit is 5 nanograms/milliliter, or ng/ml. Not MILLIgrams.

Still, if that limit is 5 ng/ml, and doofus's fictional study found levels of 0.05 ng/ml after 30 days, that means they're about 1% of the way toward too stoned to drive - the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.001%, when the legal limit is 0.1%, for instance. He's STILL a doofus, just not quite as doofus-y as you suggest, assuming I'm reading the initiative text correctly.
Posted by Catherwood on August 22, 2012 at 10:13 AM · Report this
True story
Worked for a medical marijuana dispensary in CA for quite some time. Lots of opposition to the 2010 pot legalization bill from medical marijuana folks and it was defeated. This year many of these dispensaries are being shuttered by the feds. I wonder if the state had approved legalization if the US attorney behind the shutdowns would be so eager to act. The problem with an underground economy is that its only lucrative because it could be shut down at any time. Take it from CA, it's worth the decrease in profits to ensure that dispensaries stay open and people have safe and comprehensive access to life improving medicine.
Posted by stuck in boston on August 22, 2012 at 10:20 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 80
Is there some reason that so many of the people who visit this blog have the "lose/loose" problem? I see it so often on this particular blog, I am beginning to think it is beyond a simply autocorrect error.

You may "lose" a sock, especially if it is "loose" people.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on August 22, 2012 at 11:13 AM · Report this
@69 Don't be surprised. Haven't you ever heard the old saying - "A libertarian is just a right wing Republican who wants to smoke dope and have extra-marital sex with young girls"?
Posted by cracked on August 22, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
@72 You just said it. Increased arrests of people under 21. Note, your increased arrests of former "white privileged" users will NOT be offset by any decrease in arrests of under 21 minority users.
Posted by cracked on August 22, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 83
Business hippies, they understand the laws of supply and demand. Also regulatory capture.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on August 22, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 84
@82- However it will be offset by a vast decrease in the amount of over 21 users of all races, genders, and religious denominations. Honestly, you're presenting one of the dumbest arguments I've ever heard right there.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on August 22, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
Full disclosure here: I am a Washington state patient, with legitimate chronic pain as a result of psoriatic arthritis and nausea from taking methotrexate to treat it; I did not have to “fake” anything to get my card. But just because I have chronic pain and pot relieves it, does not mean I can get high on pot, morphine, anesthetics or any other pain-dulling substance and still be as capable of the intense decision making required for driving as I am when I am unmedicated, even though at the time I may think that I am. There are safe and unsafe ways to use any medicine, whether you are using it to treat an ailment or ‘to get high’, and one of the unsafest is while driving. A lot of pot users are simply ignorant about what the 5-milligram clause means – they have been told by propagandist campaigners that it means they will have to wait a day or two after smoking pot to drive, which is patently false. You can get ‘medicated’ off your ass and be good to drive in 3-4 hours. The agenda behind recreational pot users and medical marijuana patients who disagree with the 5-milligram clause is that they want to be able to get really high immediately before and WHILE driving, which is a public safety issue – even if you are a perfectly safe driver while stoned (which many people believe about being drunk too) packing and passing around the joint/pipe around is a distraction at least on the level of texting-while-driving and naturally SHOULD be banned. It’s easy enough to draw a comparison with alcohol or prescription painkillers, which also have to be partially out of your system before you can legally drive.

Whether the person is ‘getting high’ or ‘medicating’ makes no difference. Think about how dangerous the streets would be if chronic pain patients insisted they be allowed to change their morphine IV bag while driving, or inhale nitrous oxide out of a mask – these may be ‘legitimate medical treatments’ yet it’s simply irresponsible to take your medicine while you are driving. When I was a heavy drinker I wanted to drink while I was in the car too, but I recognized that that was my body craving the chemicals, and not any real ‘need’. If you are so desperate for your next drink, pill or toke that you feel you need to change your state of consciousness WHILE driving, that you can’t pull off into a park and kill a couple hours until you are good to drive again, or you are on such a massive dose of marijuana that your tolerance is so high you need to medicate every hour or more, you should probably think about your relationship to the chemical and addiction, just as chronic pain patients need to carefully monitor how much morphine and other opiate derivatives they are taking to avoid addiction to that. And if you acknowledge that you are addicted and not ready to quit getting high before you have to go somewhere, you should take a cab, public transit, ride a bike, or walk instead of barreling around at high speeds (pun intended) in a 2-ton steel killing machine.

Another thing to keep in mind about the medical marijuana business community is that for the most part, they’re not doctors-turned-hippies, mostly-law-abiding people who are comfortable compromising with the system. They’re drug-dealers-turned-health-entrepreneurs, people who have been butting heads with the police and medical industries and government, organizations they see collectively as ‘the man’ since they started making their living from marijuana back when it was completely illegal, and who have seen their friends and family get arrested and abused by the system. They distrust the law, for obvious reasons, and are more comfortable working outside it than within. They think they have ‘snuck one by’ the government with medical marijuana its current state, this whole ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ approach to medical marijuana licensing allows them to keep the wool over the eyes of the people – so they think. But eventually the truth has started to come out, and to people who know what’s actually going on, their actions are transparent and sinister: they want to keep the price of dispensary pot artificially high and reduce competition through use of their own oligopoly structure without facing any regulation from the government. In this sense, they are sort of like the robber-barons of the early 20th century (Carnegie et al) – profit-motivated businessmen who see the government as a direct impediment to making money, and are willing to do anything to keep making that skrill. It is for this reason that they have funneled thousands and thousands of dollars into campaigning against 502, committing the exact sin these ‘liberal/libertarians’ criticize politicians and large corporations for doing.

These actions are symptomatic of a disturbing trend in the drug business as of late, which I will call ‘semi-legitimacy’, but is also sometimes referred to as the ‘grey market’. Medical marijuana dispensaries, pill mills that exist only to farm out massive prescriptions for OxyContin and other painkillers, and headstores selling research chemicals like mephedrone AKA ‘bath salts’ are all examples of the ‘grey market’ – not exactly drug dealers, not exactly legal clinics, something in between. The delusion that one is running their business like a doctor or herbalist, and not like a drug dealer which they still are in the eyes of the law, gives suppliers an overinflated sense of legitimacy, leading to selfish and unethical business practices. They start out with an unspoken acknowledgment that everyone is telling little white lies for the benefit of all involved. Then, as time goes on, they forget that they’re lying, start to believe they really ARE doctors (despite having no medical training and very little science on their side) and the lies become blacker and blacker, and disregard for the law becomes more and more blatant. Another criticism of I-502 involves the increased sanctions on under-21s. While I personally believe that the legal age for both marijuana and alcohol should be 18, not 21, and would rather see the under-21 crowd getting their drugs from a semi-legitimate source than from street dealers, that is a completely different battle that should be fought later.

If you are truly a democrat or a socialist who wants marijuana to be legal, believes we can work with the government over time to end the drug war, and that the government works for the people and can be our ally in keeping selfish capitalist interests under control, you should vote for Initative 502. If you’re a libertarian who thinks of the government as this big evil thing that only wants to oppress us and steal our money, or a stoner-utopian that thinks everyone who smokes pot is magically and honest and selfless person, and the trend of people impersonating medical professionals does not disturb you, or if you are a republican who thinks Americans are all babies who can’t handle our drugs, you should vote against it. Do you disagree? I would love to discuss this further, please comment at… so as not to derail the thread at Slog.
Posted by pranagraphic on August 22, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Just a few corrections for you Dom. You seem to be implying that, because the "NO ON I-502" committee did a better job of getting their message and materials out, we must have spent huge amounts of money, possibly in violation of campaign laws. Always the little mudslinger, whining like a little girl when you side isn't winning. All anyone has to do is go to the PDC website and see what we've raised and where we spent it. It's all listed and accounted for....sorry to disappoint. We're just very frugal.

New Approach is running a very corporate style campaign. They have big money, big names, and lot's of advertising. They are refusing to debate because us they know their message will not stand up to scrutiny. They're putting lipstick on a pig and trying to sell it as a prom queen.

I remember when they were saying that the only way they could get I-502 passed was to add a new DUID component to attract all the "uninformed voters". The problem with that is that you LOSE all the INFORMED voters and the people whose lives will be destroyed by this law. If you're a mom, driving with your two small kids in the car, and you get pulled over and are charged with DUID, you are also going to get charged with "reckless endangerment" and CPS is going to show up to take your kids away and put them in foster homes. All over having an arbitrary amount of active THC in your system.....something ALL medical cannabis patients will always have every time they drive and despite the fact that they are un-impaired.

Did NAW REALLY think that we were going buy off on this and just "take one for the team"? That's that corporate strategy that says that you can sell anything if you have enough money. We're running an old school, grassroots campaign. You just saw the beginning of it at Hempfest. We were locked out of speaking at Hempfest and we still got our message out, covering the entire park from one end to the other, as you noted. And, unlike the 502 folks, some of them collecting some pretty substantial salaries, we've got an all volunteer movement. Not one person is getting paid a dime. Look at the salary list on the NAW PDC site. They pay Alison Holcolm more in one month than all the money we've raised thus far. Even her husband gets paid more than what we've raised...and I'm not even sure what he does there. Moral support?

We passed out over 7,000 buttons (all made by volunteers) and 30,000 brochures. You can tell when you're getting your message across when you don't see any of your brochures on the ground. And again, we just kicked off our campaign this last weekend. Fortunately, more people have started volunteering and contributing now that the message is getting out.

This coming weekend we'll be at the Olympia Hempfest and we'll again be challenging the "Yes" campaign on their message. Just a hint to pass along to them Dom.....the argument that the new DUID law is "not that bad", or is somehow "science based", or that the police won't really be abusing this new REALLY NOT WORKING. We ALL saw that argument fail miserably at Hempfest....including you.

Stick with the commercials advertising all the new taxes I-502 will raise. That will work until we get out the message that the OFM has ACTUALLY said that it may raise ZERO in new taxes. Then that argument will fall flat as well.

NAW tried to convince everyone that you could leave all current penalties related to marijuana in place, add new, even worse, criminal penalties.....and somehow sell it as "LEGALIZATION". That's not proving to be quite as easy as you thought. We use cannabis....that doesn't mean we're all idiots....despite what John McKay thinks:

"I DON'T smoke pot. And I pretty much think that people who do are idiots".

(Don't you wish you could just shut him up?)

NAW tried to scare people into thinking that they BETTER pass this initiative, no matter how flawed it is, because it would be their only opportunity to pass "legalization" in Washington....or lose it forever. First of all, when the SUPPORTERS of I-502 are talking about serious flaws in the law, it's really hard to get traction with the public. On the other hand, you can't argue that it's NOT seriously you're screwed.

Then you have the fact that at least TWO other legalization initiative campaigns that have been announced for 2013.....both of them FAR better than I-502. (We're not involved with either of them)

Then you have crazy John McKay that you have to contend with. We were rather hoping to see him speak at Hempfest. I don't know who's worse to have on your team, John McKay or Joe Biden....both suffer from foot-in-mouth disease.

He's the latest zinger from Mr. McKay:

"To focus on DUIs is a big mistake. It's not the DUIs that's killing people and filling pits in Mexico with headless bodies."

"It's the recreational consumer of marijuana"

So now marijuana consumers are responsible for headless bodies in pits in Mexico? I don't even remember the last time I even SAW any Mexican marijuana....the 70's maybe? Are you serious, John? I bet NAW cringes every time McKay speaks to the press. Every time he does, his old prohibitionist drug warrior attitude escapes from his mouth. He makes it a little hard to believe that this key sponsor of I-502 is really interested in "legalization" of marijuana.

By the way, I wouldn't suggest you using his quote to help sell your agenda. Don't tell people that they should vote for I-502 to save all people in Mexico from having their heads removed and thrown in pits. This is even a worse argument than the one about DUIDs not being all that bad.

Just a suggestion on your booth staffing. People at Hempfest were commenting that your staffers all looked like accounting sophomores from Pacific Lutheran University....who were also members of the young Republicans and the chess club. I had to agree. Get some people that at least LOOK like they might have smoked a joint sometime in their lives and not so much like the Mormon youth who show up at your door trying to convert you.

By the way, we've already got our Victory Party scheduled for election night, November 6th. Tickets to this black tie event will be available very shortly.

We hope to see the staff of the Stranger there. Crying towels will be available at the front door.

Steve Sarich
NO ON I-502 Committee

Posted by CannaCare on August 22, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
‎From the Yes website: "• Police officers still need proof of impairment to make an arrest and take a driver to a medical professional for a blood draw – just like current law." Someone please show me where in the language of the initiative the police officer "needs proof of impairment":…
Posted by David Malmo-Levine on August 22, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Report this
@75: "i disagree with this because of opinions" is a SCATHING breakdown of the article.
Posted by nice job proving that anti502s are dumb as dirt on August 22, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
‎From the Yes website: "• Police officers still need proof of impairment to make an arrest and take a driver to a medical professional for a blood draw – just like current law." Someone please show me where in the language of the initiative the police officer "needs proof of impairment":…
Posted by DML on August 22, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
@28: "EVERY SINGLE LEGALIZATION outfit in the state is against 502"

Making things up does not help your argument.
Posted by Again, lying reflects poorly on anti-502s. on August 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Report this
@87: it's in the current RCW that the initiative would be amending. the amended law would still retain the requirement of proof of impairment.

@86: there were many anti-502 people speaking at hempfest, and there was a debate on Saturday. the "no on 502" PAC are not the only people qualified to speak out against 502.
Posted by westseattlered on August 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Boy Dominic, you really don't know about the downfalls of 502. Have you read it? Here's is something that scary about it {even Feds are saying 5ng/ml is BOGUS!!!}:…

The problem with voting YES on 502 is that it WILL NOT END PROHIBITION. It puts the State in the marijuana business which the Feds will never allow. Just the US Attorney threatening to arrest State officials 2 years ago if they were involved with marijuana caused Governor Gregoire to line veto & gut the marijuana reform which would have allowed medical dispensaries to operate in the State {like Seattle & other cities that have laws}.
So voting YES means you want the State to be the only ones to grow & sell. Also means you want all medical patients & regular users to be Driving While Stoned. Also means that you want the 75% tax, raising current prices from $10-15 to $25-30 a gram. I don't know about you, but with me that would prevent me from getting my normal amount of meds a week. 502 is nothing but BIG BUSINESS attempting to take over a potential billion dollar a year business. Hence why I support 514, 514 IS NOT 502~~LET THE PEOPLE GROW!!!!!!!
Posted by furrykiltman on August 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
Posted by furrykiltman on August 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Akbar Fazil 94
92, incorrect. I-502 DOES NOT put the state in the business of growing and selling. I-502 allows the state to LICENSE sellers. Think of it like a liquor license.

86, haven't seen mexican weed since the 70s? Good to know you haven't. Or at least that you know of. How are we to know where a supply comes from? Wouldn't you rather know specifically and that your purchase was helping fund our state just like other vices?
Posted by Akbar Fazil on August 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM · Report this
94, I absolutely know where specifically who is growing my medication. I wouldn't if the state cartels took over. But that's no going to happen, so there's little use in speculating.

Oh....and I remember what Mexican pot looks like.

Cannabis is medication in Washington and should not be taxed for medically qualified patients. Anyone who's stupid enough to think you can tax cannabis three times at 25%, then throw in another 10% sales tax, and thinks it going to be cheaper, better, more available than it is now due to the state's participation, should just sit down with a calculator.

The illegal drug dealers have to be celebrating this new tax scheme.

Steve Sarich
NO ON I-502

Posted by CannaCare on August 22, 2012 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Akbar Fazil 96
95. Well aren't you special! Not everyone is a patient. Many of us would like to use cannabis. Some of us don't want to "lie" to get a prescription and support your immoral business. It is as simple as that.

Fuck you and your greed. Fuck you and wanting to keep up arrests. Fuck you.
Posted by Akbar Fazil on August 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
This douche of a reporter failed to mention that Friday of Hempfest, two individuals were assaulted by a Pro 502 Member, who was arrested and marched out of the park in handcuffs. Sets the tone of the weekend a bit differently. Dominic, you are a hypocrite and a terrible reporter.
Posted by N8Tay on August 22, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
Yeah the medical marijuana business is a huge farce.

Marijuana should be available for people who need it medically, and that won't change.

However, these medical marijuana business's that claim to be in the business for the patient may lose of the "untruthful" patients because they will be able to procure recreational weed without a medical license. Clearly if they care that much about losing presumably fake patients, then they are not in the business to help patients, they are in the business of selfishness and money. Nothing wrong with that, but there is if you are spewing bullshit.

@95 What are you talking about? Typical backwards statement that starts with explanation of some tax scheme and then ends with some smarmy comment about how illegal drug dealers will be celebrating it.

So, the businesses selling the marijuana will be taxed, and you think they are celebrating that? That makes no sense. And medical patients will still be able to grow or be part of a co-op without paying taxes on their own crops.

You're entire medical marijuana industry is completely flawed, and yet the industry tries to sell it as the perfect solution.

Their whole idea of our perfect situation is, keep arrests up, keep spending our taxes on incarceration and court proceedings, keep cops wasting their time and money on hours of paperwork for minor cases, keep marijuana more accessible to minors than alcohol and keep the few established medical marijuana dispensaries reaping in the profits.

The mental backflips one has to do to come to the understanding that what we have right now are the best possible policies amaze me because it seems hard to believe that they even have faith in their own arguments.

Vote YES on I-502

Posted by michael bell on August 22, 2012 at 1:59 PM · Report this
Jdog 99
K Dom. Point taken. Have you considered that if the pro 502 forces would have done some basic outreach into my crazy little community that it may have given us a completely different political landscape to work with? This initiative, as you well know, does not begin or end the movement. I hope to come out on the other end with a community that is cohesive enough to move forward for future battles.
We took the position we took because we need unity now and after November. Not everyone agrees with me but they all recognize that this whole issue has become a minefield. Portrait us as clueless if you will. I know that generates comments. We are the same group you knew just trying to muddle through.
The way I see it is this is your fight. I am not opposing as you know. You started and did so in a way that was completely un-savvy to the politics of my community. I dig that you don’t want the community to be behind you that you view the endorsement of the community to be a negative to the voting demographic you are looking for. I get that. Understand that using that tactic is going to piss off my little community. I am actually excited to see what that does to the polls in November. I am a political geek I am just as I remember an organizer geek that went on to media. I want to see this theory tested.
You and me and maybe 1 other have read this far as you know. Verbose not sexy. My position, my old friend, continue to spell our name right. You have your gig. Do you know how your old friends feel as they read your posts? I get that you have a good gig. I will even say that it is a net positive (barely ). I have to deal with the many calls for your head. Not that you would know anything about the salacious and overly dramatic and not that I can do anything. If you ever think it is me that is pissed at you recognize that I represent the same (and much larger) constituency that you did when you were one of us. I was left to be the politician because our politician left. I can say that I am not perfect but we have prevailed in some interesting battles.
It’s easy to be a critic. It is harder to do. You chose the path of critic. I wish you well. By the way, where were you in calling out the ACLU when they killed Douglas’ initiative? Was that pro-legalization on behalf of the ACLU? Do you think it was a good way to introduce an initiative to the community with backers of Sensible Washington’s initiative already pissed off? I think that they would have been better off if they stayed neutral like Hempfest did. The negative ju-ju that you are seeing was created by the political decisions made by New Approach Washington, not Seattle Hempfest.
Do you think for a minute that the No on 502 meme would have been lessened if we would have made Hempfest into “Yes on 502fest”? You are, as I see, entitled to your opinion.
Posted by Jdog on August 22, 2012 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 100
@99 - god, the smarmy fake "nobleness" of your comment is eye roll inducing.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on August 22, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 101
@95 - so your point is that people will buy weed illegally if this passes? What, pray tell, do they do now?

And before you answer, remember it's all illegal in the eyes of the Feds, including the medical pot industry, so nothing changes there no matter what the outcome of the initiative. You say that the Feds will never allow it, and yet they seem to be allowing the medipot industry to do their thing which is why that industry is so, so eager to keep every scrap of profit they can.

Stop being whiny bitches and start being trailblazers. Realize you have a chance to move legalization forward. Why not reject the "I got mine, fuck everyone else" mindset?
Posted by Pridge Wessea on August 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM · Report this
Can't we just keep it illegal? Things were much less complicated, and the weed certainly was cheaper before all of these medi-pot laws. All I see from the medical marijuana movement is a bunch of people who are much more interested in making money rather than just simply getting stoned and having a good time. All this infighting is frustrating.

I'm regretting the fact that I donated so much time, effort and money toward the medical marijuana movement, especially after seeing how the medi-pot people now want to kick everyone else who worked to give this "gift" to them, right in the teeth.

In my lifetime, I never needed a law to tell me that pot was good for me, I never needed to call myself a "patient" to rationalize or justify my desire to get stoned, and I never needed a dispensary to supply me.

In some twisted kind of way, there's a bit of satisfaction to be felt every time a dispensary gets raided. I believe they call that "poetic justice."

You anti-502 folks shouldn't expect any sympathy from us legalizers when your "walls come crashing down."
Posted by GiveBackMyRights on August 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
@92: "The problem with voting YES on 502 is that it WILL NOT END PROHIBITION."

You are the stupidest person in this thread, by far.
Posted by you don't even understand how stupid you sound on August 22, 2012 at 2:58 PM · Report this 104
@74 - The video you reference will likely show that Ben Livingston (me) asked the following questions of a woman and three men staffing the Fweedom booth:

"So, does Fweedom officially oppose Initiative 502?"


"Has Fweedom printed any of these materials themselves? Have they contributed to the No on 502 campaign?"

"Are you aware that cannabis DUI is a very real problem right now?"

Call that verbal abuse if you like. What I find interesting is that my questions were in direct response to these four people repeatedly shouting "vote no on 502" every ten seconds toward the I-502 booth -- which was next door to them -- at a camera crew that was filming a debate between 502 volunteers and a red-shirted anti-502 fella. The Fweedom "volunteer" and the three owners I then spoke with would yell at the 502 people, then look at each other for affirmation, laugh with each other, and continue shouting at the camera crew, volunteers and debaters that were standing -- literally -- seven feet away.

I was like, wow, harsh mellow. So I talked to the screamers at Fweedom -- the volunteer and the three owners -- to understand more about why they were screaming rudely at their colleagues and neighbors. It took a few minutes for the owners to calm down, they were indeed agitated that 1) Dominic had filmed the interaction, 2) Dominic approached them at Hempfest when he could have been "more professional" and approached them at their place of business, and 3) that the I-502 volunteers had been yelling "yes on 502" all day and they weren't sure how they were supposed to deal with and respond to that annoyance.
Posted by on August 22, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
Ben (and for that matter, Dominic) is a very mild mannered fellow, indeed, and I trust his account of the so-called "confrontation" @104 implicitly.

Oh, and I also like how the poster who called themselves "witness" @ 74 actually cites someone else's account of the event in question. That sort of tells me that they didn't actually "witness" it at all.
Posted by Mr. X on August 22, 2012 at 4:36 PM · Report this
@105: I second that. I know both of them personally and Ben described that encounter to me Monday afternoon.
Posted by Phil M on August 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM · Report this
This will play out just like the failure in California. The growers who have a vested interested in the status quo team up with the prohibitionists to keep pot illegal. Down there, it was Humboldt and Mendocino growers, up here it's the "dispensaries."

What's even better is that the Washington stoners have such a choice! Either support a state administered cartel that wants to raise pot prices to $335 an ounce and criminalize home growing, or support "dispensaries" with financial links to "community gardens" that also want to keep home growing illegal.

So, stoners, you'll have the privilege of paying more than $200 an ounce for a commodity that you could easily grow in your backyard for next to nothing, or which if legal would sell for no more than $25 an ounce or so in the stores, given that the cost to grow, process, and distribute on a commercial basis is about $10.

Poor stoners. Always someone's bitch. How does it feel? By the way, when I-502 goes down in flames and legalization is dead for the foreseeable future, make sure to look in the nearest mirror for the culprit. And listen carefully. That cackling off in the distance will be mine, you poor, stupid, pathetic, zoned-out fools.
Posted by Mister G on August 22, 2012 at 7:26 PM · Report this
Why would the cannabis community back this legislation when it increases their criminal liability? Legalization indeed.
Posted by keepkalm on August 22, 2012 at 8:08 PM · Report this
Hmm. The article does not mention the fact that one of the Yes on I-502 campaigners hit someone over the head with a sign.
Yes, the No on I-502 campaigners were loud and proud, but none of them ASSAULTED anyone...
Dominic - get out of I-502s pocket then try writing a truthful article.
Posted by reba_grimmer on August 22, 2012 at 8:33 PM · Report this
Ive had employees of NORML and a candidate for US congress physically threaten me, and one of them assaulted 2 of my friends. I can also prove it, because I recorded many of the threats.…
Posted by on August 22, 2012 at 8:35 PM · Report this
Also, I am a bit confused from where I-517 was mentioned in the article. From everything I can find, I-517 does not exist.
Posted by reba_grimmer on August 22, 2012 at 8:50 PM · Report this
Ok, nevermind. It took me a bit to find it, sorry.…
Posted by reba_grimmer on August 22, 2012 at 8:57 PM · Report this
@108: "Why would the cannabis community back this legislation when it increases their criminal liability? Legalization indeed."

Jesus fucking christ, it REMOVES a good deal of their criminal liability. Marijuana is ALREADY ILLEGAL you incompetent douchebag.
Posted by stoners are the fucking dumbest on August 22, 2012 at 9:21 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 114
@108 - Let me guess, you're white and like to drive stoned.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on August 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM · Report this
@82, Increase of arrests does not mean that someing has became "more illegal". Right now if you're under 21 and you a) buy pot, b) have pot on you or c) are under the influence of pot you are BREAKING THE LAW. Under I-502 you are still breaking the law. But now minorities 21 and over won't be BREAKING THE LAW, you know the people who are most likely to be charged with a pot offense. So yeah, maybe there'll be more heat on white teenages who want to get stone since the cops won't have to worry about busting pot dealers/harashing minorities and probably will want something to do. BOO FUCKING HOO, they'll just have to be smart enough to not get caught, heck most teenagers who drink already are. You argument is like saying we should ban Alcohol cause people under 21 can't drink and besides the cops will just bust those pesty drunk minorities anyways, so it's not your problem.

Honestly, you anti I-502 aren't helping your case. If anything you're making me wish pot laws where tougher enforced in washington.

So far the arguments against I-502 are:
1) I can't drive stoned - BOO FUCKING HOO, grow up. I can't drive drunk or wacked out on T-3's.

2) The fed gov't can still bust people - Yep and they can bust people now, including medical pot users. Oh and those 'better initiatives' that you guys are so pro about, the feds can still bust people under if this is you argument shouldn't we just give up on initiatives all together?

3) TAXES! - This one's weird, cause it seems some people are making the argument that pot shouldn't be tax (Yes it should, almost all LEGAL commodities are) and some other people are making the argume that this is just going to drive people to the black market and drug dealers. UMMM....yeah that would be horrible...except that IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW. At least there will be a legal option. And really, Booze just went up by 10 bucks a bottle because of the stupid booze initiative and there's no black market to be seen.

4) They didn't engage the community - so, if this thread is any indication the community is a bunch of stoned jackasses that can't reason things out.

5) This isn't the hippie utopia I signed up for - ugh, welcome to the real world. People pay taxes on commodities, they don't drive impared and life suck for people under 21.

What do you anti I-502 think is going to happen if you tank this? That the bestest most awesomest initiative will pass next year? Grow up, most people who don't smoke will just be burnt out. I don't smoke pot and if you dummies can't get your act together to help support the best shot you have, heck I hope they start throwing the book at EVERYONE who smokes least the laws would be applied more fairly.
Posted by j2patter on August 22, 2012 at 10:48 PM · Report this
I want safe roads from drunks and stoners AND safe future from cops and prosecutors.

Thus I will vote NO on I-502 and have donated to the no on i-502 campaign. I hop I-517 qualifies for the ballot. I signed that petition, and thanked the peeps doing the work, last weekend at their booth. Good Job.

Posted by ChronicKindness on August 22, 2012 at 10:56 PM · Report this
Just had a really nasty, come and get your karma, thought:

Compile a list of all the dispensaries that support and oppose 502. Visit all the dispensaries that oppose 502 and get an authorization from them for no medical reason. Turn resulting list over to our local federal prosecutors and complain like crazy.

Shut their money-grubbing, self-centered, anti-legalization asses down. These folks want to continue making beaucoup bucks off the suffering of thousands of others? Fuck them. They shouldn't get that opportunity. If 502 fails, we should make sure that only the folks who supported it stay in business.
Posted by gnossos on August 22, 2012 at 11:07 PM · Report this
Dude...throwing hissy fits about medical cannabis does not serve you well. Last time I checked, there was no science behind recreational uses.
Posted by 420consumer on August 22, 2012 at 11:53 PM · Report this
4evergreen group and their ilk are too damn greedy.

They like it how it is now - you can have your pot, but only if you pay them $200 every 6 months for the privilege. They get to be the gatekeepers.

Change it so any Joe can just walk into a shop and buy it without special documentation, suddenly they're out of business. Their market is suddenly reduced from being every stoner in the state, to being only legitimate medical users who want additional freedom - not nearly as large of a market.
Posted by Lack Thereof on August 23, 2012 at 12:14 AM · Report this
@116: "I want safe roads from drunks and stoners AND safe future from cops and prosecutors.

Thus I will vote NO on I-502 and have donated to the no on i-502 campaign."

The first sentence has nothing to do with the second sentence.
Posted by it keeps the roads safe and protects you from cops on August 23, 2012 at 7:59 AM · Report this
@118: Gnossos: Another option is to make those lists of dispensaries who support and those who oppose I-502, then stand outside those that oppose and offer potential patrons a list of nearby dispensaries that support making cannabis legal again. "This shop opposes legalization. Did you know the one down the street supports it?"
Posted by Phil M on August 23, 2012 at 8:40 AM · Report this
RECREATIONAL CONSUMERS AGAINST I-502 is coming to destroy your argument... Its not legalization!!! Remove the medical from the argument and I-502 fails all on its lonesome. The oppositions to this need to avoid getting caught up in your false dichotomy.
Posted by Simple Green on August 23, 2012 at 10:46 AM · Report this

So how exactly is it not legalization (at least at the State level for those over 21)?

Posted by Mr. X on August 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this 124
@116 "Thus I will vote NO on I-502 and have donated to the no on i-502 campaign."

According to PDC reports, five individuals have donated more than $25 to the "No on I-502" committee.

* $285 from Steve Sarich, owner of Access4Washington dispensary
* $400 from Saroj "Poppy" Sidhu, one of Steve's employees
* $500 from Arthur West, public records activist
* $1350 from Edward "Eddie Spaghetti" Agazarm, signature gathering company owner
* $500 from Derryck Tsang, owner of Herbal Choice Caregivers dispensary in Kent

I am guessing you are the one they call "Eddie Spaghetti." If so, is it true that your company tried to get the contract to collect the I-502 signatures? About all I know of you came from these two articles:

Posted by on August 23, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
It is too bad that 80-90% of the hempfest crowd heckled the pro I-502 people, but understandable after being conned into supporting a political scam like I-502 by false claims of "legalization". Holden probably supports I-502 because the proponents (including insurance company execs, lawyers, and out of state profiteers) are spending over 3.5 million to jam it down our throats, since he is obviously in support of having stuff jammed down his throat. Further, if I-502 passes, the cops will ream all pot smokers up the ass with their new 5 nanogram per milliliter DUID provisions, and Dominick likes getting reamed too.

The real violations of the PDA are probably those perpetrated by the Stranger and Holden, using their influence to support and misled the public about an initiative that is not "legalization" and which will make it very easy for the cops to bust stoners for DUID days or (in the case of the zero tolerance provisions for minors) weeks after they have stopped using a harmless plant.

Check out the actual text of the initiative, which includes broadened implied consent for blood testing and which allows probable cause for a blood test to be established simply by a declaration from a cop that they believe a driver is high.

Like Ernst Roehm and his brownshirts, Dominick is just another fascist with sexual identity problems, trying to use his position to bully Stranger readers into falling in step with his goose-stepping party line. If your don't agree with him he tries to smear you as an evil profiteer or a cop trying to stop "legalization".

From what I heard and witnessed at hempfest, dominick and one of his buttboys Ben Livingston threw a full on hissy fit when some people tried to oppose I-502. A petition should be circulated to have Dominick replaced with a someone who can report objectively without using the Stranger to support one side or the other. Perhaps the PDC should investigate Dominick and the Stranger, and see how much of the 3.5 million that I-502 is spending has stuck in their pockets, or been tucked into their g-strings.

Dominick should grow up and stop whining like a little---reporter for the Stranger.

Posted by Haxo on August 23, 2012 at 5:35 PM · Report this
I am a director at a mmj Coop, I would be happy to show Mr. Holden my books to prove that Co-ops are not making money "hand over fist" . For me and my partners it is about the love of a sacred plant medicine and getting it in the hands of legetimate medical patients who need it. Maintaining high quality options at reasonable donation rates is our primary goal. This law will lead to higher prices and lesser quality medicine.
Claiming that the 5 nano gram complaints have no merit is simply intellectually dishonest.
However my biggest problem with I 502 is not the 5 nano gram nonsense. It is the 50% sin tax that will be levied against users of this healing plant. With the federal 5 year jail term for over 99 plants in a mmj grow. Growers will not be able to grow enough to keep the price down to make up for this outrageous tax. This will make pot to the end user even much more expensive then it is now. Growers that can grow enough to make up for the tax will be doing it in large warehouse grows which generally produce inferior quality flowers. This will drive pot back under ground.

Also it seems safe access would be enhanced by 502 unless you actually read the law Domonic. They have taken the 1000 foot away from a school sentencing enhancement created by the feds to throw the book at "drug dealers" and put it on steroids. No access points or grows within 1000ft of a school, preschool, PUBLIC PARK! or transit center. Alison Holcomb was asked about this at the Hemposiom Q and A and claimed she hadn't consulted a map. I believe that because if she had she might have considered not pandering so much law enforcement and wrote some language that would actually allow access within seattle city limits. I urge you to consult a map of the seattle metro area, its a stretch to find commercial property that is not within a 1000 ft of one of these restricted areas. When we were looking for locations for our co op we had a hard time just finding a spot not within 1000 ft of a school.

Lastly hempfest is a gathering of citizens who are interested in legalization of pot, It is not required that we be in complete agreement and vote for every law that comes down the pike.
Having a civil but passionate debate is in the best interest of the movement.
Posted by LakeCityCitizen on August 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM · Report this
@125: "the cops will ream all pot smokers up the ass with their new 5 nanogram per milliliter DUID provisions, and Dominick likes getting reamed too."

No, they won't. I don't think you have any fucking conception of what it means.

Nice gay-bash, though. Bigot-assed stoners are uninformed as hell, this isn't anything new. Racists and haters enjoy getting fucked-up just as much the rest.
Posted by ah, right wing uninformed jerks on August 24, 2012 at 12:01 AM · Report this
@125: Haxo is misinformed and apparently didn't read Ben's response @104.
Posted by Phil M on August 24, 2012 at 6:08 AM · Report this
*facepalm* It's people like Ariel who are fucking up this industry for all of us legit businesses. Putting an uneducated, terrible face to an industry that is already very misunderstood.
Posted by sublimeblonde on August 24, 2012 at 10:02 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 130
@126- Marijuana maybe a "healing plant" but I smoke it to get high, like most users (including your clients, many of whom are reselling their surplus on the black market). I want it legal and I want to pay taxes on it. I want to get it at the store in a nicely regulated dose with nothing but my license and bald head for ID. I'd also like to stop dealing with the dumbasses pulling out of your parking lot who don't signal and can't figure out when to go.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on August 24, 2012 at 10:23 AM · Report this
@130 We charge and pay the state and city taxes to the tune 10% on every donation. 50% tax is just unworkable. I'm not a against broad based legalization, I just think we could do much better than 502.
Posted by LakeCityCitizen on August 24, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Many booths supporting No on I502 were harassed as well by Yes on I502 supporters, there is just no journalist at the stranger who is also No on I502 to report about it.

An absence of information given to the general public about any initiative is just as bad as lying to them.

People have a right to be pissed off that they were misinformed.

Just as much as supporters can be ignorantly blissful because they haven't realized that they were lied to as well.

I guess it is up to interpretation. But regardless, both sides share the freedom of speech.

Posted by The pursuit of happiness on August 24, 2012 at 4:32 PM · Report this
Yes, hey,502 great idea! We need to legalize prostitution too. Yet another juicy source of state income. Register all whores, and pimps.The Feds would love the records for IRS purposes. Rates could be regulated so the poor do not come up short changed. Think of the jump in all revenues. Licensing, business permits, sales tax. Wages and benefits can be regulated by government. Sex workers could unionize. Competition would result in better and varied products being offered to consumers. Tax revenues could be used to build more lite rail and in rural areas of King County to repair miles and miles of deteriorating county roads. The possibilities are endless. Perhaps we can look for other illegal areas of human behaviour to legalize and squeeze taxes out of the customers, owners and operators. Just think of the sales tax alone. Godfrey Daniel, they are truely staggering. This would lessen the burden on law enforcement and replace them with revenue bureaucrats with clipboards. See problem solved!
Posted by von Hardenberg on August 24, 2012 at 6:49 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 134
@131- A 50% tax is completely workable, especially as the production moves out of in-home grow-ops in into really agricultural production.

What legalization means is an end to being able to support yourself on a small room of relatively easy to grow plants. The end of the alcohol prohibition put thousands of bootleggers out of work too. It made the country a better place to live, and so will the end of marijuana prohibition.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on August 25, 2012 at 12:40 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 135
@133- If you're being sarcastic, you're in the wrong place. Legalized prostitution would cut way down on the human trafficking industry and improve the working conditions of thousands of people in this country.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on August 25, 2012 at 12:43 AM · Report this

I'm sorry you didn't like my tie, Steve! Also, isn't the notion of someone looking " like they might have smoked a joint sometime in their lives" something you should be fighting against. After all we do not all look the same. Some of us own sports coats and know how to tie a tie. In fact, in every picture I have ever seen of Marc he is wearing a tie. I merely thought that voters would be pleased to see marijuana users dressed professionally but I gratefully accept the rebuke.

Also, I would like to correct you; I-502 would not impose any taxes or regulation on medical marijuana. Why do you keep saying that it will when you and your apostles have been corrected hundreds of times?

Your friends and you should watch the hyperbole lest we discuss what ya’ll look like. And Artty should certainly refrain from calling the New Approach WA Volunteer Coordinator a slut. It doesn’t become your movement.

FYI, I was in the chess club when I was in grade school. In fact, I have a trophy. Is that a problem? People can like both chess and marijuana...right?

Nick Hagen
Posted by Nick Hagen on August 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
You are wrong. The "No" booths were not being harassed. No one walked up screaming "fuck you" or accused them of being evil agents of the government. This is something the volunteers from NAW were exposed to all day every day.

Also, there is no information being held from the public. At the I-502 table we had copies of the bill, fact sheets about every aspect of the bill, and we were there to talk about EVERY aspect of the bill. Also, all that material is available online at What info is not being shared with the public?

What the “No” people claim is that there are secret areas of the initiative with secret intent to secretly shut down or tax or regulate medical marijuana. These are lies perpetrated by black-market profiteers who want to continue exploiting patients. These people are selling you half-baked conspiracy theories, attempting to appeal to the libertarian and “truther” demographics of Hempfest goers.

Nick Hagen
Posted by Nick Hagen on August 26, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Well Dominic once again you spout the prohibitionist line. Legalize it under a guise of freedom with so many more controls, hey sheep only understand what you tell them. This in no way solves the problem if 502 passes, in fact it will take an act of congress to change any of the bad for 2 years. It makes an already bad situation worse, of course it will be better in your eyes as we shift from being prohibitionist to revenue generating mode. Still they are oppressing a plant that is by itself perfect. So pass or fail we will not be any closer or further from legalization, just the steps we take to get there will be different.
Posted by Sean Dorman on August 29, 2012 at 9:55 AM · Report this
As much as I’d like to see the state and the Feds off my back for smoking pot I CAN NOT SUPPORT I-502.
As a proponent of smaller government, less government intervention into the private lives of citizens, and more personal responsibility, I cannot support an initiative that dumps billions of dollars onto the laps of an out of control and irresponsible government. Remember, the regulation process is left open under I-502 and in the hands of the liqueur Control Board, who has the authority to add new rules and regulations as they see fit without legislature or voter approval. I-502 will create a bureaucratic nightmare and further enslave the people, all in the name of ‘Marijuana freedom’. Don’t be fooled. This is not the Amsterdam model. This is big gov at its worst and in bed with big corp. money. READ THE COMPLETE TEXT (66 PAGES available ON LINE) AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF.
PS; one wonders what Rick Steves stands to gain from co-sponsoring I-502. Has he set himself up for one of the 328 retail outlets?...grow operation?...processing?. He certainly has the bucks given his financial prosperity.
Or is ol'Rick just another useful idiot?
Posted by Just say no to I-502 on October 11, 2012 at 6:43 PM · Report this
It's sad (though not unexpected) to see so many people still trying to keep this discussion at the level of "who gets to sell a 10 cent plant for a thousand dollars" instead of advocating for sensible legalization - even if that has to happen through 1000 baby steps like I-502.
Posted by QCislander on October 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM · Report this
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