The idea of “legalization” has been the pink unicorn of all liberty loving cannabis folks. Thinking that “legalization” is the next step in gaining more cannabis freedom. However what we learned after several established medical marijuana states made cannabis “legal” is that liberty was not gained, rather liberty was changed and even eroded in many ways. While it did in some cases liberate small amounts of cannabis for personal possession for everyone, it did in fact replace laws that were lost with restrictive new laws.
For example in Washington state everyone over the age of 21 can possess an ounce or less of cannabis under the laws of I-502. However the trade off is, that there is no sharing of cannabis, where even passing a joint is prohibited. There is no personal grow allowance. Medical marijuana patients over time saw their well established grow limits eroded to less than half of the previous limits. But the worst of all is that DUID limits were issued under I-502, making it illegal to drive with more than 5 nanograms of cannabis in their blood. Meaning whether they are impaired or not, it is a Class B felony to drive with that certain limit of cannabis in your system.
After “legalization” the number of DUID arrests for cannabis has went up drastically every year.
Percentage of total driving cases confirming positive for THC (delta-9-THC)
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Percentage of total driving cases confirming positive for carboxy-THC (metabolite of THC, indicates marijuana use)
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And in fact, the total number of traffic fatalities has remained about the same since legalization. Still, traffic safety officials in the state call the growing percentages of active THC in blood samples “alarming,” and it’s a trend they say they’re keeping an eye on.
Source for this information:
- NPR.org – Analysis of suspected impaired driving cases (DUI & DRE) received at the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory (statewide data from blood results)
Another factor that has changed since I-502 was passed, is now it is a felony for a minor under the age of 21 to possess marijuana in Washington state. Where as before it was only a misdemeanor.
However the thing that makes this all the more disturbing to me, is how similar this is to the pharmaceutical market. Where a few large players can afford the licensing and regulations that it takes to be allowed access to the market, and those same players sit at the table with the regulators to decide new laws and regulations, that in turn keep competition out of the market. Where as for over 13 years in Washington state, medical marijuana dispensaries operated controversy free, and did a great job supplying cannabis to the state of Washington. Then all of the sudden, in favor of highly taxed marijuana via I-502, thousands of ma and pa stores are shut down.
I have been reporting on this for years with projects like: www.capitalismtools.com
This broadcast from John Stossel’s show just how cronyism works to the advantage to increase the wealth of the wealthy, and keep the little guys out of the cut, where he uses examples of taxi licenses in New York, that costs over half a million dollars to buy a permit just to drive a taxi, and where they pass laws to keep companies like Uber out of the market. John Stossel used many fine examples in this broadcast;
Also to clear the air, you can do a search on this website for “Sensible Washington” and see that I dumped over $10,000 of my own money into state initiatives in Washington that came before I-502, to decriminalize cannabis but without the heavy regulations that create monopolies and that increase penalties. What I supported with all of my heart was two different initiatives that simply decriminalized cannabis, without all of the inane regulations. So I am not a “medical marijuana only” subscriber. I just feel that I-502 killed a good market, and made some very rich people even richer, at the expense of sick people.
The people that supported I-502, like the ACLU and NORML had their chance to support decriminalization via Sensible Washington, but neglected to help in any way, and in many instances stood against decriminalization, which is something else that you can read about on this blog by doing a search for ACLU.
I warned about all of this 6 years ago, long before I-502 came out. I knew if we didn’t pass legalization, rich monopolies would take over, and they did;
In the future, in other states. Think really carefully about what you vote for. Also, if it is dozens of pages deep, you can be sure that there is some legal trickery going on in those pages, try to connect the dots.