Articles Tagged: hundreds of thousands

Comparing Initiative 502 to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937

October 28th, 2012 | By Pirate

In this article I will explain how Washington’s Initiative 502 is similar to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.
There are differences, because we are now in a post Controlled Substances Act era, and this initiative is being touted as the initiative that will “legalize marihuana” (yes I spell cannabis as marihuana in this article similar to the way they did in 1937 for the marihuana tax act).
The similarities that I am noting have to do with the tax, and the proposal for a legal/regulated market.  The differences in the two are only related to the post 1970 Controlled Substances Act era.

My proposal in this article is that Initiative 502 is not legalization, it is just a clever way of retaining prohibition at a time when Hempfest is at its all time height of attendee’s, when a group with a shoe-string budget in Washington collected hundreds of thousands of signatures on a mostly volunteer basis to get cannabis legalized in Washington.
On March 18th 2012, sponsor of I-502 Pete Holmes said after a long speech about how he believe in decriminalization of marihuana, that “a people’s initiative (to legalize marihuana) scares him terribly“.

They (the prohibitionists and lawyer profiteers) realized that a people’s initiative passing was a reality and they fought desperately to thwart those efforts.  Pete Holmes, Alison Holcomb, the ACLU and many of the law enforcement officials all publicly denounced the efforts of thousands of volunteers to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to legalize (remove the prohibitions) from marihuana laws in Washington.  (see

At the end of my summary I will post the texts of the two law proposals (The Marihuana Tax Act 1937 and Initiative 502).  What’s also interesting to note, is that I-502 is far larger in size/text than the original prohibition proposal The 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.  I am just going to give links to the I-502 initiative because of its enormous size.

Lets start off with a few points.

  •  The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was not designed to create a market, despite what the text said.  Rather it was designed to create prohibition of cannabis.  See this article, the intro is a great description regarding how TMTA-1937 created prohibition:
  • The title of the act, and the words in the act appeared to create a taxable and regulated market.  But after the act passed in 1937 very few stamps were issued.  During WWII many stamps were issued to fuel the war efforts.  But after WWII very few were ever issued again.

It is noted:

“Shortly after the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act went into effect on October 1, 1937, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Denver City police arrested Moses Baca for possession and Samuel Caldwell for dealing. Baca and Caldwell’s arrest made them the first marijuana convictions under U.S. federal law for not paying the marijuana tax.[19] Judge Foster Symes sentenced Baca to 18 months and Caldwell to four years in Leavenworth Penitentiary for violating the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.”

If we compare this to Initiative 502, which is something touted by law enforcement and other sponsors as a way to reduce crime in the black market, and to create safer roads in Washington.

As described by the Secretary of State’s office, the measure would “license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over twenty-one; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues.”

Here are the points being debated

  • State law currently requires a prosecutor to prove impairment in court for DUI, after I-502 impairment is not the measurement it is a rather un-scientific blood limit of THC (5nanograms of active THC).  This targets heavy users, specifically patients that are legally recommended by a doctor to use cannabis under Washington state laws
  • The excise taxes are extreme, 25% at each point of the market with local and state taxes on top of that equaling a rough 90% tax on cannabis, thus keeping it in the black market (even if the market was remotely possible under this proposal)
  • All to help alleviate the 10,000 or so possession arrests per year in Washington state.  When many of those arrests will happen anyway since the largest demographic of cannabis consumers are under the age of 21, and many of those arrests will happen anyway because a lot of those arrests are for over one ounce (the allowable limit).
  • The offset of these arrests are the potential for a lot more arrests via the provisions in Sec. 31., Page 46

My summary is.  The two of these law reform proposals have similar goals.  They both looked really good for the community before they were voted in, and were being proposed as something different than what the language contained in them defines.   We know now that the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was certainly the gateway to extreme marihuana prohibition.  But what about I-502.  I propose that this is also a gateway to more prohibition.  It does not at all in anyway say “legalization” to me.   In fact where I am in California anyone over the age of 18 can possess an ounce of marihuana without committing a crime, and there were no new and restrictive driving provisions installed when SB 1449 was passed, and there is no more mayhem on the roads than before.  There are over a dozen other states that have decriminalized in the same or similar ways.

I-502’s proposal for state liquor board regulated cannabis stores, and cooperation with the federal government including FBI fingerprints and background check for cannabis distributors is a sure sign that there will be no legal market, and this proposal for a ‘legal market’ will crash and burn just like SB 5073.

One more thing to note is that Washington has sufficient driving regulations to protect the roads against impaired driving.  Both DUI and Reckless Driving laws.
With Reckless driving the officer does not need to prove impairment, but only needs a visual observation that a person is driving Recklessly to issue penalties and possibly arrest.  The penalties of Reckless Driving rival and in some way are even stricter than DUI.

RCW 46.61.502: Driving under the influence

RCW 46.61.500: Reckless driving

There are also many other laws that work similarly such as

RCW 46.61.5249: Negligent driving

Washington didn’t need more restrictions on driving for this initiative to pass.  It just needed to be clear when educating about current laws regarding driving and cannabis.

More references:

Comparing Initiative 502 to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937

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The Great I-502 debate at HempFest 2012

August 19th, 2012 | By Pirate

This is the great debate about I-502 at HempFest 2012.   It was in fact one of the best debates that I have ever heard.
I could have done without having to hear Steve Elliot, he has been so divisive and crass and in my opinion has hurt this movement extremely.  I feel similarly about Keith Stroup when he points out how Republicans are against legalization, and yet says nothing about the democrats opposing legalization (and many do, including the president which he did mention).   He mentioned Barney Frank’s efforts, and yet fails to mention Ron Paul, even though Ron Paul has graced NORML several times with interviews and speaking engagements many times for 30 YEARS!.  Alison Holcomb is obviously very divisive, just a few days ago she dismissed the no-on-I-502 people as “being swayed by industry interests” and yet mentions nothing about how her and her colleagues have never ever supported a REAL legalization initiative even though there have been many to choose from, and some that even got HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of signatures.  Her and her colleagues have vested interests in introducing NEW driving penalties, because their main source of income is defending people against criminal penalties.   So I believe that the 75 years that the ACLU has stayed silent on this issue, is absolutely so loud it is deafening.  This shows me a last ditch effort of profiteering lawyers and LEO who want to keep some form of prohibition active despite the changing tides of the political climate.  Like I said, NAW watched Sensible Washington get hundreds of thousands of signature for REAL legalization, and yet they did nothing, and lent NO SUPPORT what so ever.

I was most impressed with Kari Boiter who made a wonderful initial speech.  She noted the probable cause issue, which in fact is not addressed in this initiative and rather gives a new avenue for police that is referred to as reasonable cause.
Cops often abuse their “probable cause” guidelines by claiming one thing or another, or by initiating a drug dog to do a false alert.  Watch what Barry Cooper (former narcotics agent) says about that.  Police have NO PROBLEM getting probable cause, even if none exist.  This happens ALL THE TIME!
Kari did a great job debunking these lawyer claims that are completely swayed to their own financial and career interests.

The main question is WHY?  Why this NEW duid provision, two other initiatives in this country has made the ballot this year WITHOUT introducing NEW penalties.


Why in 75 years has the ACLU never supported a cannabis legalization initiative?

August 18th, 2012 | By Pirate

The Americans Civil Liberties Union founded in 1920 has a mission statement of:

“The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.”

Yet in the last 75 years, since prohibition of cannabis started at a federal level, and before that in state legislation, the ACLU has not once supported or initiated any cannabis freedom initiatives.  Despite having some very good initiatives to support, endorse or even fund.   The ACLU has not once before 2012 helped out with any of these, including a few in Washington that received hundreds of thousands of signatures.   But yet we are supposed to believe that they care about our cannabis liberty?

Now with the introduction of initiative 502 in Washington that would give very little freedom, and at the same time it would repeal freedoms of many who drive.   We are supposed to believe that they aren’t just in this to thwart other efforts to fully legalize cannabis?   Why didn’t Alison Holcomb or the ACLU back Sensible Washington’s initiatives that received hundreds of thousands of signatures?
Why introduce non-sensical driving policies that are not only redundant since Washington already has cannabis driving restrictions, not to mention Reckless driving laws, but also offers even more strict provisions for driving?

This seems like a half-assed attempt to stay relevant in civil liberties issues, while at the same time ensuring job security in defending people against criminal cannabis charges such as these new, and un-scientifically backed DUID provisions.

My words to the ACLU.  Just keep doing your job of persecuting Christians, and anyone who is on the right.  And leave the cannabis activism to the REAL cannabis activists who care about FREEDOM, not just your retirement.

If you want an example of Alison Holcomb’s work in cannabis rights.  Take a close look at SB 5073, which took rights and protections away from both doctors and cannabis providers while offering nothing in return.

Read more articles about SB 5073 here:









Why in 75 years has the ACLU never supported a cannabis law reform?

RE: Charges filed against naturopaths for marijuana authorizations at Hempfest

August 7th, 2012 | By Pirate

“The state medical marijuana law protects medical professionals from criminal or disciplinary charges if they follow a set of rules, including completing an exam and documenting other ways used to treat “the terminal or debilitating medical condition” other than marijuana.”

Charges filed against naturopaths for marijuana authorizations at Hempfest


This is also something important to learn about SB 5073, and how the doctor/patient relationship changed after this passed.
Everyone thinks that the worst thing about SB 5073 is the veto from the governor, but that is not the case. The biggest issue is how the law changed in relationship to the doctor patient relationship.

This from a post I made on the subject in February 2012.


“Patient and doctor relationships became more complicated as there are now restrictions and penalties for doctors for recommending cannabis, where as doctors were completely excluded from legal penalties;
ref: The effects of Section 301 (SB 5073)

Read more:

The ACLU makes way too many hasty compromises.  The WA branch of the ACLU has lost my trust, especially with I-502.  I mean it took them over 75 years to even attempt to join the fight.  They have yet to even support a real legalization initiative in WA despite that many have gained hundreds of thousands of signatures.  But they support stuff like SB 5073 and I-502?
What took them so long to get active in this civil rights issue, and why when they get involved they propose regressive changes?

Word Is Bond – Someone Always wants to be someone

March 13th, 2011 | By Pirate

After having many friendships and several business relationships fail I have looked back to figure out what went wrong.

To me it always comes down to egos.  It comes down to someone wanting to be someone that either they are not, or that they aspire to be.

In the case of Change it seems like it came down to money.  It’s always about money.  As much as people say “I dont do it for the money”.  I always find it suspect when they say that, yet there are hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake.

Lets take for example the story of Christopher Stevens in Spokane Washington.   Chris Stevens bravely opened Change in Spokane.
This is the website that I made for them when I was a patient:
Along with Scott Shupe and a few other brave business men in Spokane.   I was blessed by their services to help relieve inflammation of a vesicular anomaly in my brain.  I traded my services in website design and website hosting for medicine and it was a great blessing to me.   I was happy to be a small part of something so awesome and historical.
Chris registered the domain, and I put the site together.
I drove all the way from Deer Park to Spokane weekly to get good quality, fresh medicine.  It wasn’t hugely convenient, but since I didn’t know anyone in Deer Park as we had just moved there, it was nice to be able to walk into a store that I knew had regular business hours and a regular supply of at least 5-10 strains of medicine.  Sometimes I have different symptom and sometimes different strains help in helping me in different ways.  So that was a huge blessing above and beyond what I had available in the black market.

So finally after the state accepts $11,000 from Change for taxes, and shortly after Scott Shupe was caught in Oregon with more than his limit of medicine.   They get raided and shut down and the police also went to four other residents houses.

Shortly after that happened, I created some software mods that I released for free to help dispensaries prove that they were only selling cannabis to “one patient at any one time”   You can see that service here: anyone can download and use those softwares and use our website and our youtube videos for free.

While Mr. Stevens is in jail, he is filmed with this testimonial about the events that took place over the span of three months previous.

Now this is where I get confused, because while Mr. Stevens was running for city council, and while he was running Change with his business partners, they were telling us this was about “compassion” and “medicine”.
But in this interview Mr. Stevens claims that his business partners lured him into Change based on “making millions of dollars”.

But now, not only was it about millions of dollars.  Now Mr. Stevens is turning state evidence on one of these people who suckered him in to making “millions of dollars”.

“Shupe faces charges of delivery, possession and manufacture of a controlled substance — all felonies that might come with prison time. (Change’s other owner, Christopher Stevens, plans on testifying against Shupe, which will lessen his own charge to a relatively minor misdemeanor.)”   ref:

You can say what you want about Scott Shupe, but one thing is for sure.  He bravely paved the way for other patients, and stuck his neck out for a whole bunch of people.   I guess the difference between Scott and Chris, is that Chris is honest about it being all about money.  I don’t know what Shupe’s motives were for sure, but I suspect the pay wasn’t bad.

Here’s the thing.  It has been said by many of fine humans  “united we stand, divided we fall”.   We can’t be turning over on our friends.  Regardless on if they duped you into making millions or not!
I really liked Chris, and he was even running for city council, and was very kind to patients.  But this whole event makes me think of a bumper sticker that I once saw  “The more I know about humans, the more I love my dog”.

This is a sad day for medical cannabis in Washington.   We need to clear this law up once and for all, and simply LEGALIZE IT!

Spokane has heart! Protest at the city council meeting tonight!

March 8th, 2011 | By Pirate

I did not find out about this problem via the traditional means.  I had not learned of the details I should say, however the problem with Spokane police is obvious.   From the “Golden Goose Fund” whistle blower that came out a few years ago forcing the Spokane police to admit wrong doings, and admitting to having no account where hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sales from seized assets disappeared and has gone unaccounted for.

When this was all coming out, it was at the same time that Change In Spokane got shut down for providing legal medicine to legal medical patients.      You can see my video and my letter to Spokane Police Department in 2009 here:

Tonight was another awesome display of how Spokane citizens can peacefully assemble and get their point across.  In Tim’s and Gina’s protest tonight many activists did not sit down, and they turned their backs to the city council for not allowing a discussion to take place after the ombudsman’s hearing.   After every other item on the agenda, they made time for questions at the end but at the end of the ombudsman’s hearing (despite that “Got Questions” was the last slide during this presentation), the president “Joe Shogan” showed contempt and anger to the idea of questions that anyone had for this hearing.  Instead he gave 3 minutes for questions at 9pm like they always do.   They gave 3 minutes for this issue, but more than an hour (with questions) for the contractor ordinance that they are trying to pass.

Joe Shogan

City Council President At Large Term: 2008 – 2011 Contact
After you watch this meeting, please write Joe and let him know his conduct tonight was inappropriate!
I was just so proud and amazed that Tim and Gina and other protesters refused to sit down, even as Joe Shogan called in the police.
After he asked them to leave, about 6 minutes later the police showed up.
At this time I was late for getting home to get my girls from girlscouts and I was in the lobby getting ready to leave.  But when I saw this display of protest I decided to stick around and film what happened.
Fortunately no one was arrested (wouldnt have that been ironic, and ALL TOO PUBLIC), but the city council meeting stopped for nearly 7 minutes while this demonstration took place, and eventually the protesters peacefully walked out of the hearing at their own will.
Im further impressed of how peaceful yet effective this protest went.  I stuck around another 15 minutes as my parking meter flashed red, and as my time issue grew more urgent.  But I saw it through, and the other protesters stayed when I left shortly after.
I rushed home to take care of all of my pending issues, and turned on channel 5 (citycable5) and watched the rest of the hearing.
At the end Tim and Gina got up and testified with heart and conviction in a very well spoken and thoughtful way about their horrible experience after sticking up for their friend at Change who has had his life turned upside down when the police arrested him and continue to pursue him.
Tim and Gina testified that they have never had a problem with police before testifying for their friend in front of a committee, but shortly after they continue to be harassed by Spokane Police.  They used their 3 minutes so well, and it brought me to be very angry.  Anyone who loves freedom would be angry about what the Spokane police are doing!
An article came out about this in the Spokesman Review on 2/23/2011 and that will shed more light on this.  If you would like to see the whole meeting replayed, please watch it on March 10th 2011 @ 6pm PST on Channel 5 in Spokane or at the City website >
We will also be recording this and re-posting it on our website for later viewing as soon as it is broadcast.
Im sad to say that only a small portion of what I filmed showed up at  I believe a few other folks were filming from a different point of view and I look forward to getting that video and I will be posting it at:
Much love to these awesome freedom fighters, THANK YOU for having heart enough to CARE ABOUT YOUR FREEDOM!!
See the replay of this on March 10th 2011 @ 6pm: