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Endorsed: NORML Supports Marijuana Legalization Initiative in Washington State

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director February 17, 2012

    The NORML Board of Directors officially endorsed a cannabis legalization initiative at the recently concluded Annual Meeting that has qualified for the November ballot in the state of Washington.

    For the next nine months national NORML and its dozen in-state chapters will provide logistical, strategic, communications and fundraising support for Initiative 502, whose co-petitioner is NORML Advisory Board member and best-selling author/TV host Rick Steves.

    NORML’s staff envisages two more marijuana-related reform initiatives likely qualifying for this year’s fall ballot:

    *Citizens in Colorado will likely have the opportunity to vote for a binding voter initiative that will legalize cannabis for responsible adult use, cultivation and sales.

    *Citizens in Massachusetts too will likely get to send a strong reform message to the federal government this fall when they vote in a binding voter initiative that will legalize the use of cannabis for qualified patients for medical use and allow regulated retail sales.

    Also, cannabis law reform advocates in numerous states are trying to join the states listed above in qualifying reform-minded initiatives on their state ballots too. Those states are:

    *California (Multiple competing reform initiatives regarding legalization, i.e., ‘Regulate‘ and ‘Repeal‘; Another one for regulating medical cannabis)

    *Michigan (Legalization initiative)

    *Missouri (Legalization initiative)

    *Montana (Legalization initiative)

    *Nebraska (Legalization initiative)

    It should be abundantly clear by now to federal legislators and the executive branch that while they unwisely continue to support a failed public policy like Cannabis Prohibition–when over 50% of the public now support long overdue cannabis law reforms–citizens (and an increasing number of elected policymakers) at the state level will continue to steadily increase political pressure on the federal government to capitulate on Cannabis Prohibition and embrace demonstrably more free market and Constitutional-friendly alternative public policies that actually benefit citizens and governments, and in turn, public health and safety too.

    This upcoming election season will once again confirm that this political trend in cannabis law reform is  long-standing, sustainable and poised for multiple political victories at the state level in the short years to come.

     

     

    45 Responses to “Endorsed: NORML Supports Marijuana Legalization Initiative in Washington State”

    1. Mike says:

      have you tried compaing the us to amstradam in terms of crime rate and how it legal over there? it might help… we need legalization in new york asap

    2. Buster Jones says:

      Hell Yes, Free the weed. With Marijuana on the ballot in Tenn, Alabama, Florida, and now maybe soon N.C., seems like we got my redneck home of Georgia surronded. Can’t wait till we move in on Georgia big time. Peace, Buster.

    3. Too bad St. Pierre and NORML didn’t bother to mention the obvious huge flaws in the Washington bill — including the facts that no home cultivation will be allowed, a draconian 5 ng/ml THC blood limit will be considered “per se” proof of DUI, and zero tolerance for those under 21.

      Cops and DUI lawyers in Washington will have a field day with spurious, expensive DUI charges against medical marijuana patients (most of us never dip BELOW 5 ng/ml) if I-502 passes.

      Don’t you think those facts are rather pertinent to the discussion?

      [Editor’s note: NORML’s board, which voted unanimously (13-0; two not present), including two members from Washington, is well aware of the fact that every single cannabis law reform initiative since 1972 is flawed in one manner or another–that these ‘grasstops’ initiatives do not satisfy every want of every cannabis consumer, grower or seller. NORML supports I-502 in the same manner that it supported the clearly flawed medical cannabis initiative in WA in 1998 (and in the other eight states’ and DC’s medical cannabis initiatives….and the upcoming flawed medical cannabis initiative in Massachusetts. They, like WA, all have components of their initiatives that are objectionable) that has led to Washington having semi-sanctioned medical cannabis dispensaries in one city, but not another, creating a very problematic legal patchwork for patients, providers, physicians, legal advocates and law enforcement.

      For NORML, and hopefully a majority of voters in Washington, the perfect should not be the enemy of the good when it comes to a state’s voters passing cannabis legalization initiatives that challenge the federal government’s Prohibition laws, stop the practice of arresting responsible adult cannabis consumers and contribute to a positive tax base.

      When initiatives–like the flawed cannabis initiative LeMar in 1972 in CA right straight through to today’s Initiative 502 in WA–substantively reform cannabis laws beyond what otherwise recalcitrant legislatures and the timid judiciary (which largely defers to legislative and executive intent) will deign, it behooves cannabis consumers and other taxpayers alike to support and vote for these reform initiatives.

      To the extent there are serious flaws or defects with cannabis law reform initiatives that pass voter muster, activists historically have sought effective relief in amending legislation after the fact.

      Much is the same and expected with WA where state legislators have already crafted legislation addressing the concerns of some activists and consumers regarding DUID standards.

      Like many other national cannabis law reform organizations and activists in Washington, NORML readily expressed the concerns it had with the proposed initiative language to the I-502’s backers. However, just like these other cannabis law reform groups–namely Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, SAFER, Marijuana Policy Project, ACLU; along with NORML’s chapters in WA–national NORML too is supporting WA’s Initiative 502 to substantively reform cannabis laws and therein challenge the federal prohibition.

      In conclusion, while supporting the broad intent and substantive reforms created by the passage of Initiative 502, NORML however does not endorse the imposition of per se laws for drivers who test positive for THC or THC metabolites in blood without additional demonstrable evidence of psychomotor impairment. Further, NORML supports amending legislation post the passage of Initiative 502 to 1) enact legal protections via legislation for those citizens—notably medical cannabis patients—who are most disproportionately at risk of being adversely impacted by such standards, and 2) to allow consumers and patients to privately cultivate cannabis for personal use.]

    4. James Tomlinson says:

      I just hope we can convince our marijuana medical patients here in the State of Washington to vote yes for this measure. I know the blood alcohol limit is a bad idea. However, we can make changes in the future. I just think supporting this is important for the cause of legalization for this country. I vote yes on I 502. I’m a Shoreline,WA resident.. good luck.. Thank you Rick!

    5. Johnny says:

      Get rid of ALCOHOL and bring on the weed !! 11 years sober so I can say this . ALCOHOL tried to kill me POT saved my life !!! LEGALIZE IT !!!!!!

    6. Carol says:

      WA State I-502 bad for everyone………..Especially medical patients….

    7. That is awesome that other states votes count towards legalization I hope its a domino effect and all the states eventually follow!

    8. bhonze says:

      Don’t forget Mississippi, call your senate and representative for SB 2252 for MEDICAL MARIJUANA!!!

      [Paul Armentano responds: NORML’s take action alert for SB 2252 in Mississippi is online here: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=60974581.

    9. Vivian says:

      If that bill passes in Washington state and you get in a car accident within twenty four to forty eight hours after smoking you will be convicted of a DUI based solely on the THC in your blood stream. I-502 will have eviscerated your ability to mount a defense. Apparently, NORML thinks that is OK. Very, very sad.

      [Editor’s note: With three NORML staff conferring with local WA activists like you a number of times over months about the very specific concerns raised by I-502, to publicly claim that NORML ‘thinks that is OK’ is both incorrect and disingenuous.

      NORML’s board, which voted unanimously (13-0; two not present), including two members from Washington, is well aware of the fact that every single cannabis law reform initiative since 1972 is flawed in one manner or another–that these ‘grasstops’ initiatives do not satisfy every want of every cannabis consumer, grower or seller. NORML supports I-502 in the same manner that it supported the clearly flawed medical cannabis initiative in WA in 1998 (and in the other eight states’ and DC’s medical cannabis initiatives….and the upcoming flawed medical cannabis initiative in Massachusetts. They, like WA, all have components of their initiatives that are objectionable) that has led to Washington having semi-sanctioned medical cannabis dispensaries in one city, but not another, creating a very problematic legal patchwork for patients, providers, physicians, legal advocates and law enforcement.

      For NORML, and hopefully a majority of voters in Washington, the perfect should not be the enemy of the good when it comes to a state’s voters passing cannabis legalization initiatives that challenge the federal government’s Prohibition laws, stop the practice of arresting responsible adult cannabis consumers and contribute to a positive tax base.

      When initiatives–like the flawed cannabis initiative LeMar in 1972 in CA right straight through to today’s Initiative 502 in WA–substantively reform cannabis laws beyond what otherwise recalcitrant legislatures and the timid judiciary (which largely defers to legislative and executive intent) will deign, it behooves cannabis consumers and other taxpayers alike to support and vote for these reform initiatives.

      To the extent there are serious flaws or defects with cannabis law reform initiatives that pass voter muster, activists historically have sought effective relief in amending legislation after the fact.

      Much is the same and expected with WA where state legislators have already crafted legislation addressing the concerns of some activists and consumers regarding DUID standards.

      Like many other national cannabis law reform organizations and activists in Washington, NORML readily expressed the concerns it had with the proposed initiative language to the I-502’s backers. However, just like these other cannabis law reform groups–namely Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, SAFER, Marijuana Policy Project, ACLU; along with NORML’s chapters in WA–national NORML too is supporting WA’s Initiative 502 to substantively reform cannabis laws and therein challenge the federal prohibition.

      In conclusion, while supporting the broad intent and substantive reforms created by the passage of Initiative 502, NORML however does not endorse the imposition of per se laws for drivers who test positive for THC or THC metabolites in blood without additional demonstrable evidence of psychomotor impairment. Further, NORML supports amending legislation post the passage of Initiative 502 to 1) enact legal protections via legislation for those citizens—notably medical cannabis patients—who are most disproportionately at risk of being adversely impacted by such standards, and 2) to allow consumers and patients to privately cultivate cannabis for personal use.]

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