February 16, 2012

Opinion: Just Say No To I-502, Or At Least I Will

February 16, 2012
washington medical marijuana

washington medical marijuanaWe may not agree on what bill to pass but we can all agree on what is good weed.

The problem with activism in today’s America is that it doesn’t pay shit. No matter how right or common sense your position is one still needs to eat. Even modern day hippies like nice things like furniture, food, and high speed internet. The marijuana movement has achieved leaps and bounds from when I was a young smoker hoping the next bag wasn’t half a bag of seeds and stems.

Before the military, I was one of the many stoners getting signatures for medical marijuana in California, part of it was for a paycheck (which I never received) and the rest was simply because it was something I believed in. Since then medical marijuana has exploded leaps and bounds; from the way business is done to how other states have received it adapting almost the same legal model.

We’re definitely not out of the proverbial woods yet but we’ve made huge strides. I always wondered why Prop. 19 didn’t pass in the land of sunshine but now I have a clearer picture after reading Johnny Green’s piece. I feel I-502 (which is supported by a group known as New Approach Washington)in the State of Washington will and should receive the same negative pressure from smokers. Not all consumers of cannabis would agree though.

Like Johnny and Radical Russ, I use to feel any form of legalization is a good form of legalization but after receiving my medical prescription I’ve changed my point of view. First off let me say that I did sign one of the petitions for I-502 but now feel it was an error. I was approached with the legalization pitch and was sold right away, now as parts of the bill come out I’m not so for it. My biggest problem isn’t the 5 n/g positive DUI stipulation but the commercialization of growing. Washington is one of the few places I’ve seen that has controlled liquor sells up until recently. If you wanted a bottle of rum you would have to go to a state run liquor store (that is until Costco won a bill that has changed that policy proving you can buy a law) but beer and wine sold everywhere anyways (never really understood the logic here but I digress). The State legalization of marijuana would turn into a new State business, all stipulations and controls would belong to the state. Now I’m all about giving tax revenue to the state but I would hate to see them control the business of cannabis, hell they can’t even balance a budget on time.

If the state controls the business they also control the source. Now State Troopers are obligated to enforce state laws and arrest unlicensed grows. You may say well we’re all technically illegal now anyways, what’s the difference? The difference is right now State Troopers aren’t knocking on my door and if the Fed shows up, well than I’ll have one hell of a story. Personally I don’t want the state turning on my growers. If I-502 passes non-approved growers will have local law enforcement against them and not obligated to protect them if they are a legal medical patient.

If the farming industry has taught us anything it’s that the consumer loses in the end (You should Google Monsanto). Quality dwindles as corporate farmers try to fill the needs of the masses.

Sensible Washington
Sensible Washington

Three groups have drawn my attention here in Washington against I-502, they are: Washington Safe Cannabis Act, Sensible Washington, and Patients Against I-502. All three are against I-502. One of the negatives is the commercialization of this industry to a state run corporation, something that will fill corporate coffers. Generally who invests in a campaign has an invested interested, so I wondered who the corporate coffer was, who has an invested interest? I contacted the grassroots folks at Sensible Washington to ask “Who are the corporate coffers?” and not just behind I-502 but also who’s behind Sensible Washington. I received three speedy replies all saying pretty much the same thing:

Thank you for your inquiry. The funding information you seek can be found on the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission website < https://www.pdc.wa.gov > All political campaign contributions are reported there.

Sensible Washington is largely funded by volunteers and supporters of our cause. We are a grass roots organization, and prefer to keep it that way. Large donors sometimes want to co-opt efforts to propel their own agendas, which can prove to have a negative impact on our all-volunteer base, and our mission.


New Approach Washington
New Approach Washington

New Approach Washington on the other hand, has many large donors, most notably the ACLU. Not only has the ACLU contributed donations for the campaign, but they also pay campaign staff on a monthly basis, so that they can focus solely on the I-502 effort.

Contrast that with SW’s volunteer staff. We are all volunteer, even at the highest levels, none of us are paid for what we do – we do it because we believe in the cause. We have day jobs, families, etc., because of our other commitments; we are limited in the time we can dedicate to focusing on our campaign efforts, which unfortunately limits our effectiveness to answer to the needs of our supporters.

NAW has a distinct advantage in funding and allocation of committed people that are paid for what they do. In fact, after having totaling the numbers from NAW’s expenditure reports, they paid $757,854.60 to PCI Consultants, the firm responsible for signature gathering. In any given month, they paid nearly as much, or more, than our campaign has spent in an entire year. The moral to this story is that elections can only be bought, unless enough people are willing to participate and contribute to a grass roots effort to impact change.

The link to NAW’s contributions can be found at the following link: New Approach Contributors

I hope this helps with some of your questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again.


Troy Barber

Sensible Washington: Steering Committee;

Graphics, Outreach, Media Relations


Kitsap Area Organizer:


I’m still unsure as to why the ACLU is part of this but it seems to me this has all the wrong backers with the wrong direction once it’s put into play.

Most advocates want any form of legalization for recreational use to pass. Most feel that the minor details can be sorted out and worked through afterwards, problem with this is marijuana/weed/cannabis/pot/whacky tobaccy has been illegal for so many years, it’s taken us this long just to sort through the anti-propaganda to get this far — I don’t want to wait for any more corrections while innocent people are thrown in jail or are black marked for the rest of their lives.

Don’t give up hope faithful stoners we shall and will prevail. First off I think it’s pretty awesome that one initiative made it through let alone more to follow, a counter initiative to I-502 is I-1202. Washington State has a large number of marijuana supporters; it’s just a matter of what will get approved now.

One of my favorites of the aforementioned groups is Sensible Washington, a grassroots movement based solely on volunteers, which tells me we’re doing pretty fucking good. They’re also helping to promote an alternative initiative that would help protect the patients and common man and that is I-1202. Grassroots ironically is what we should be looking for when it comes to marijuana legislation, laws by the people protecting the people.

When we look at state legalization efforts I sometimes wonder is there anyone who should have more say than the other and I think there is, NORML isn’t here though, I believe they stand for I-502 (correct me if I’m wrong). Instead it should be the dispensary owners and collective gardeners that should have the louder voice, the ones standing on the front lines right now in our non-imaginary war. Non-imaginary because jail is very real.

I have nothing but respect for the people of NORML, they’ve been fighting this fight longer than I have but sometimes it seems their judgment for what is best for the end user gets clouded by the desire to make marijuana normal. Matter of fact, NORML gives me hope. It was once brought to my attention that the government has spent billions upon billions fighting “The War on drugs” where as NORML is operating off of only a few hundred thousand, there’s something to be said about this weed thing if the truth is stronger than billions upon billions. I stand for marijuana, it has nothing to do with sickness or profit but because it’s simply the right thing to do.

The culture is slowly emerging as a respectable business; Ever since California became a medical marijuana state the industry has grown leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the crowd. Dispensaries test their products now for pesticides, THC, CBDs. Hell they can even break it down to indica or sativa — 20 years ago I could give a fuck, I was just happy to get something not tainted. We are in the right direction with the medical marijuana structure, now we just have to find the happy medium for all end users as well.

We live in such a bullshit party society where people (professionals, people who make daily decisions in business) would rather do coke or meth since its out of their system in a matter of days where as if you’re a daily smoker like me you got to plan months ahead when looking for a new job. McDonald’s has killed more people and done more harm to society than marijuana has, yet one is accepted simply because it comes with a clown and a Happy Meal.

There is no denying the fact that marijuana is medicinal but I don’t smoke just to ease body pain I smoke because it just makes the end of the day better, no more different than a cocktail at the end of the day or if you were in the 1950’s during lunch. Marijuana is not legal but it’s a hell of a lot safer and closer than it ever was in this century, in this country.

If I-502 passes I think it will simply because of the ignorance of the non-smokers who are okay with marijuana and of course the uneducated smoker who really doesn’t care. I-502 is not a good wholesome thing but I-1202 is and hope and will help these guys anyway I can. Sure we all “can’t just get a bong” but we all can agree what good weed is.





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