Once again, my latest writing on the state of Washington medical marijuana has brought out the chorus of howler monkeys, flinging their poo and screeching about how awful I am. After paragraph upon paragraph littered with ad hominem gems like "Rectal Russ" and "Radiated Russ", a couple of look-at-this-asshole childishly-captioned photos of me, and, of course, a Godwin's-Law-confirming allusion to Hitler, their eventual point comes down to how Washington State medical marijuana was an utopia of caring and sharing until the shady legalizers and their greedy state accomplices came along with I-502 and ruined everything for medical marijuana.
Well, I don't know about you, but I have had it with being bullied by the medical marijuana crowd. I still support everyone's right to use marijuana and I have genuine sympathy and empathy for sick and disabled people facing marijuana prohibition. But I am tired of patients and their advocates using their disability as a cudgel to beat back the rest of us who also suffer under prohibition because we're "just getting high" - as if we deserve police attention and loss of liberty because our choice of cannabis use isn't as desperate a measure as theirs. They remind me of people who'd sympathize with the modestly-dressed rape victim more than the rape victim who was drinking and wearing a sexy outfit. "Well, if you didn't want to be raped / arrested, you shouldn't have worn a miniskirt / should have gotten a medical card." Sorry, I'm not going to be bullied by patients any more. My right to use cannabis is just as legitimate as theirs and police abrogation of those rights is just as heinous for me as thee.
Fellas (and it's almost exclusively fellas; ladies like Kari Boiter and others seem to recognize political realities), quit trying to blame the massive clusterfuck of bullshit interpretations, loophole surfing, and wink-wink-nudge-nudge state of Washington medical marijuana on the people who succeeded in legalizing for those of us without a tear-jerking sob story we can use as an affirmative defense AFTER getting arrested. Regulated recreational marijuana is not to blame for sixteen years of unregulated medical marijuana. Political naivete, utopian navel gazing, inflated sense of importance, and failure to craft reasonable regulations for medical marijuana for SIXTEEN YEARS are to blame.
SIXTEEN YEARS of "Sensible" Washington fucking around in off-year and off-off-year election cycles, blowing hot air about just repealing all marijuana laws and trusting the legislature to write regulations (the same legislature all the medmj patients hate now, yeah), pretending they can get enough signatures with hippie-dippie-yippie volunteer efforts, no significant funding, and zero political support. Maybe if they weren't all a bunch of TILTers (Treat It Like Tomatoes believers), Washington could have gotten a better legalization on the ballot in prior years and passed it, instead of leaving a leadership vacuum to be filled by a drinker from the ACLU and a California consultant who has never believed state legalization can work.
SIXTEEN YEARS of opposing even the most modest of regulations, like a voluntary patient registry, not mandatory like most of the states, but voluntary. A registry that would have actually finally provided patients protection from arrest if they chose to register - something the Washington medmj leaders decried as akin to "a sex offender registry" - a registry, if it existed now, would have kept the ten patient collective gardens legal.
SIXTEEN YEARS of playing the wink-wink-nudge-nudge game has its effects on the politics of the matter, too. Washington clearly never legalized dispensaries, so folks started gaming the system, cheating the "one patient at one time" laws that were clearly intended to be "caregiver-like" - a personal relationship where one adult legitimately cares for the health of another too sick to do so alone. When that bullshit tactic is called out, Sen. Kohl-Welles tries to get 5073 passed to actually regulate dispensaries and create a registry. Who was out there castigating Sen. Kohl-Welles, calling for her resignation, saying she wants patients "registered like sex offenders" and these dispensaries would "destroy medical marijuana"? The same greedy idiot medical-marijuana-profiteering bastards who opposed I-502!
Now, if your argument is that we never should have passed I-502 because it would destroy Washington's medmj, you have to assume that Washington's medmj wasn't already in the process of falling apart of its own accord. How long do you think US Attorneys Durkin and Ormsby wait before raiding "Bob's Collective Garden Storefront Emporium" if I-502 loses? Do you think any of Washington's medical marijuana "leaders" would have fallen in line to help create a sensibly regulated medmj system to be in place to seamlessly integrate with a future, say 2016 legalization? Horsefeathers! In that SIXTEEN YEARS of medical marijuana, about 80,000 healthy marijuana consumers did at least one day in jail and earned a criminal record in Washington State because they had no sob story. In 2012, there were 5,531 prosecutions for 40g or less in Washington, in 2013, that number fell to 120.
It's telling to me that Oregon had a somewhat similar path but far better results. We had no dispensaries and soon emerged a wink-wink-nudge-nudge dispensary system. But instead of fighting every effort to rein it in, we twice fought to put initiatives on the ballot to regulate it. Even though defeated, we showed the public and lawmakers we were interested in legitimacy, not loopholes. Thus we get our legislature crafting a decent dispensary law and we're well poised to integrate that with legalization we'll pass in 2016 (a decent legalization put together by tokers, not drinkers, in marijuana reform, not the ACLU, who have proven year after year that they listen to political realities and understand that unlike tomatoes, weed can get you high.)
It's also telling to me that Colorado consistently crafted the most expansive regulations in medical marijuana and now their recreational marijuana is rolling out just fine and their medical marijuana patients aren't complaining about it, as their system still hums along, too.
As for I-502 "destroying" Washington medical marijuana, let's keep in mind that:
- Washington patients caught in public possessing an ounce or less are now guaranteed to be free from arrest, thanks to I-502 (medmj provides no arrest protection in Washington);
- Washington patients driving around with more than an ounce are no longer threatened by the alert of a drug dog, thanks to I-502;
- Washington patients are still allowed to possess more than an ounce of marijuana (up to a pound and a half, I believe, the greatest limit in the country), something that's a felony for healthy people;
- Washington patients are still allowed to grow their own marijuana at home (which I believe is still 15 mature plants, the greatest limit in the country), something healthy people under I-502 aren't allowed to do;
- Washington patients will finally have a legitimate, legal place to shop for marijuana, thanks to I-502 (yeah, it will be taxed and more expensive than a wink-wink-nudge-nudge "designated provider" or "collective garden"... just like a TV costs more at Best Buy than from a guy in the alley who got it when it "fell off a truck"... gosh, if only there were a voluntary registry that would have kept those collective gardens legal!)
I feel for actual, legitimate medical marijuana patients as much as anyone. That's why I'm so shocked they would continue to follow leaders that continually get them fucked over in every way possible. Leaders who made such hyperbolic predictions as "10,000 marijuana DUIDs" and "shooting hippie fish in a barrel as they leave Hempfest" with the new I-502 5ng per se DUID law, and "Unless you bought that ounce at a state-licensed store, you'd still get busted," when in fact, DUIDs are down in Washington State post-I-502, there were fewer DUI arrests outside of Hempfest post-I-502, hundreds who were tested were "below the limit" and could argue that in court, and nobody possessing an ounce or less, store-bought or not, has been arrested. But then again, who really wants to argue with their dealer and possibly mess up the supply?