Articles Tagged: Washington

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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I-502 debate at High Times Medical Cup Seattle 2012

September 17th, 2012 | By Pirate

This is my commentary on the I-502 debate at the Seattle High Times Medical Cannabis cup. Credit to Russ Belville for recording the debate and posting it.


My main contention with the approach that New Approach Washington / The ACLU / Pete Holmes is taking is this. On one hand they agree that Sensible Washington’s approach is the correct way of repealing prohibition and it is a time tested and proven method of doing it correctly as history revealed with the 18th/21st Amendments. But on the other hand they are saying “Sensible Washington’s polling only showed a 42% favor“.
Then if you look at their history with Sensible Washington’s initiatives.  Not only did Alison Holcomb / The ACLU / Pete Holmes not endorse Sensible Washington, in fact they came out publicly against Sensible Washington.True politician FAIL there!

Look up their support for Sensible Washington and the reasons that they gave for rejecting Sensible Washington: Google Search – ACLU I-1068

Peter Holmes Caught in Double Talk on I-1149 <youtube video


The discussion on whether to support a legalization initiative on the Washington ballot.

For I-502
Alison Holcomb – ACLU of WA, New Approach Washington, Chief Petitioner
Pete Holmes – Seattle City Attorney

Against I-502
Douglas Hiatt – Seattle criminal defense attorney
Jeff Steinborn – NORML Board of Directors, Seattle criminal defense attorney


Initiative 502 in Washington is getting personal – Pseudo Legalization or Pseudo Prohibition?

February 25th, 2012 | By Pirate

I have had a lot of conversations with NORML and the ACLU in Washington about Initiative 502, and the negative provisions in the initiative.   I detail my opposition to the initiative, and I call out one of the agitators on the pro-I502 side and point out how she is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

I sent this gal a free shirt in 2010, and I have stood up for her in Facebook arguments, but she now says that I have always been mean to her.
I pointed out where she is wrong.  She has censored me about I502, and we had a disagreement, but every other conversation we got a long just fine.

In the end of this, I thank NORML for what they do, by sending a monthly donation to NORML of $4.20

Memories from one of my favorite Hempfest’s (2008) And news about 2011 Hempfest

August 18th, 2011 | By Pirate

This is some video from my favorite Hemp Fest 2008, I got several different speakers, but one of my favorites STILL (even though he supports NAW).  Rick Steves!

Part 2:

Here are some of my favorite Washington locals who are speaking at Hempfest 2011!
The 20th Anniversary!

Seeley Stage: Friday 5:45-5:50 pm
Peter McWilliams Stage: Friday 6:45-6:50 pm
Main Stage: Sunday 6:45-6:50 pm

Saturday @ Seely Stage: 1:45-1:50pm
Saturday @ Peter McWilliams Stage 6:35-6:40pm

Saturday @ Peter McWilliams Stage 2:50-2:55pm
Saturday @ Seely Stage: 1:40-1:45pm
Sunday @ Main Stage 11:35-11:40am

Sunday  @ The Seely Stage 1:35-1:40pm

Sensi Life Radio – July 22nd 6am Morning Show

July 22nd, 2011 | By Pirate

Sensi Life Radio 6am Friday 7/22/2011

Talking about the indictments in Spokane, the show from yesterday with Heath and Darby, the hemp dome, and Ryan and Kim’s baby to be born soon.

Talking also about 5ng blood limits proposed by “New Approach Washington”, and the strange occurrences in the efforts in WA from some activists.

Listen to internet radio with xcannabis on Blog Talk Radio


I-502-Factsheet-DUI   From New Approach Washington

See this study by the BBC

See this report about Colorado’s similar proposal:

Lifting up in prayer the following:

Dennis Whited
Jerry Laberdee
Russell Blake
Charles Wright
Jon Vivian
Roger Christie
Marc Emery


Further reading, info about the ASA organization and the Spokane Chapter:

My issue with the ASA in Spokane, and when it started:

Carl’s Cannabis Corner Radio show May 22 Rescheduling Cannabis

May 23rd, 2011 | By Pirate

Carl’s Cannabis Corner Radio show May 22 Rescheduling Cannabis.
Thanks to our gracious host today Carl Olsen. Today’s topic “Rescheduling Cannabis vs. Full Legalization”.

Carl’s Cannabis Corner


Learn more about the National Initiative for Democracy –

Law makers who mock patients in Washington

April 9th, 2011 | By Pirate

A lot of updates to report with Washington politics and laws regarding cannabis.
Both sides are currently under attack, the medical and the full legalization for adults sides.
I shouldn’t say “sides” because we are all fighting for freedom, and if we aren’t than we are confused.
But some (not all) medical folks like to separate themselves from full legalization, and I think that boat already left the dock. We are on to a more mature cannabis culture, one that doesn’t treat harmless plants like some kind of highly contagious disease that may be caught.


This is my report with an inclusion of some hearing from the Senate Ways and Means committee on the fiscal issues.

This is a doctor, his lawyer and a patient all testifying about the negative effects of this bill.


Here is an example of just how serious our law makers are about helping patients. Mock them, reduce their value. Paint them out to be lazy stoners that can’t afford their own pizza!


This is why I keep saying we need to fix this ourselves with a national initiative process.

Our facebook group “Cannabis For Cancer”

Medical Marijuana in Washington revised (SB 5073)

March 25th, 2011 | By Pirate

There are good things about this bill, and there are bad things still.
The senate has made many adjustments to this bill many of which still hurts patients, doctors and providers.

For example Section 301 still says:

(iv) Documenting other measures attempted to treat the terminal or debilitating medical condition that do not involve the medical use of cannabis.

A health care professional shall not:

(iv) Have a business or practice which consists solely of
authorizing the medical use of cannabis;

(v) Include any statement or reference, visual or otherwise, on
the medical use of cannabis in any advertisement for his or her
business or practice; or

(3) A violation of any provision of subsection (2) of this section constitutes unprofessional conduct under chapter 18.130 RCW

The problem with this obviously, is that doctors will still not be ready to lose their license for what a police officer or prosecutor may interpret as “inappropriate” recommendations.   Both based on how the patient was recommended and how many.
This is going to keep medicine away from many sick patients who truly need cannabis.
As if it wasn’t hard enough before to get a recommend, when doctors were immune to disciplinary actions for recommending cannabis.

The lobbyist group who is fighting for this have made promises to drop support for and try to kill this bill if this provision was still a part of the bill.  Well it’s still there, yet I see that the CDC is still supporting this bill (though they aren’t posting as much support for it as before).

The one thing that I find troubling is how little support many in the medical marijuana industry (including the lobbyists) have given for I-1149.
It seems like when it suits them, they talk about how harmless and safe marijuana is.  They quote statistics on how marijuana has never killed anyone.  They talk about how it’s natural and how it is effective medicine and should not be regulated like other medicine based on it’s (lack of) LD-50 rating among other things.  But considering all of that, why is it that they insist on ‘some’ regulations only when it benefits them, regardless of how they concede that cannabis is harmless.

I wonder if it would be the same way if they specialized in a different herb that was illegal at one time, for example echinacea.  If echinacea was illegal and then it was found to cure and treat many ailments, and people started opening echinacea dispensaries.  Would the EDC  (echinacea defense coalition) work on making laws benefiting only the industry of selling this plant?  Or would they attempt to open this up to be grown and sold by everyone?

We have Sensible Washington’s  I-1149 which removes criminal penalties for adults for cannabis.    It has a huge potential for being successful, and has a lot of support in Washington and around the world.  So I just wonder why some of these other groups who profess to know about cannabis, are not rallying huge support for I-1149.  Rather than just a brief mention here and there?

I recommend that anyone who is interested in the freedom of this plant and of humans in general go to and read up on how to help.  Please volunteer and lets get this done together!

On another interesting and maybe positive note,  patient collectives can now serve up to 10 patients, and have up to 99 plants in the most recent version.  There is also arrest protection (but not protection against prosecution) in this new version for patients who are not on the registry.
Doctors can not have a practice solely for recommending cannabis, similar to THCF and CBR.

Read more at:

Please contact your representatives and tell them to NOT change the current Washington law (RCW 69.51a) in regards to health care professionals protection for recommending cannabis.  The current law is very accommodating to doctors and patients in this regard.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles  – 206-819-2640  (is the main sponsor of this bill)

Senators Kohl-Welles, Delvin, Keiser, Regala, Pflug, Murray, Tom, Kline, McAuliffe, Chase

There are some lobbyists that you can contact as well who are working on this:

Cannabis Defense Coalition –  1-888-208-5332
Phil Dawdy  (Washington Cannabis Association)  – 206-694-3948
Ezra Eichmeyer – 360-301-18420
Ben Livingston  – 206-335-9214

SB 5073 passed the Ways and Means committee with some amendments

February 26th, 2011 | By Pirate

Graphic made at request of Don Skakie, great idea Don!


This is bad in many ways for patients, and freedom lovers a like.
We are going backwards in regard to freedom and liberty.
Creating less access to patients.
Creating penalties for physicians if they work too hard.
Making patients return to their physicians 4 times per year to keep their recommend valid.

Some other bad stuff, some good stuff to report as well!  I am doing a radio show on this later today Saturday 2/26/11–roots-rockin-reggae

Interview with Justin Prince of Tacoma Hemp Company

January 13th, 2011 | By Pirate

Interview with Justin Prince of Tacoma Hemp Company

Justin’s story is fascinating.  The cops broke state law to entrap him and his coop Tacoma Hemp Company.

Please support Justin’s upcoming battles.

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