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  1. runnerupbeautyqueen
    The law will take effect on Dec. 6, 30.

    Six states had marijuana-related measures on the ballot Tuesday -- three to legalize recreational use; Washington's I-502, Colorado's Amendment 64 and Oregon's Measure 80. Colorado's amendment showed early leads Tuesday evening.

    Under Washington's I-502, anyone over the age of 21 would be able to purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and the state would regulate and tax the sale of pot.

    Those wanting to grow and sell would apply to the state for a license. Estimates are that the new pot tax would raise nearly $500 million a year, much of which would be earmarked for drug prevention and education programs.

    In an interview earlier this year on “60 Minutes,” the Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole indicated that federal authorities could take aim at any state laws that legalize pot, saying, "We're going to take a look at whether or not there are dangers to the community from the sale of marijuana and we're going to go after those dangers."

    Attorney General Eric Holder was blunter in 2010 when he threatened to "vigorously enforce" federal law if California legalized marijuana (that measure failed).

    Opponents of I-502 said they believe the U.S. attorney in Seattle would seek a court injunction to stop the law in its tracks.

    “It's a fantasy that the state is ever really going to have this, it's not going to be legal, it's not going to work, the federal government is going to pre-empt this thing in five minutes,” said Douglas Hiatt of the anti-502 group Sensible Washington.

    But that hasn't really happened with medical marijuana, and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, a backer of 502, added that he believes the Feds will back off if voters make pot legal.

    “I don’t think the federal government’s going to ignore a clear voter mandate from the state of Washington,” Holmes said.

    Only time will tell.



  1. Phungushead
    Washington voters approve legalized marijuana

    [IMGL="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=29550&stc=1&d=1352267391[/IMGL] Washington voters have overwhelmingly approved a measure to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in the state.

    I-502 establishes a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, where adults over 21 can buy up to an ounce. It also would establish a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence.

    Estimates have shown pot taxes could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, but the sales wouldn't start until state officials make rules to govern the legal weed industry.

    Recent public polling has showed significant support for the measure. Pot legalization initiatives were also on the ballot Tuesday in Colorado and Oregon. While the measure was running over 50 percent statewide, it was capturing 64 percent approval in King County.

    Promoted by New Approach Washington, I-502 called for a 25 percent excise tax at each stage from the growers on until it is sold in stores to adults 21 and over. They could buy up to an ounce of dried marijuana; one pound of marijuana-infused product in solid form, such as brownies; or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids.

    The cannabis would be subject to testing to establish its THC content, and labeled accordingly. Public display or use of marijuana would still be prohibited.

    State financial experts estimate it could raise nearly $2 billion in tax revenue over the next five years, with the money going toward education, health care, substance abuse prevention and basic government services.

    It remained unclear how the federal government would respond.

    When state and federal laws conflict, federal law takes precedence. Federal authorities could sue in an attempt to block I-502 from taking effect. The Justice Department has given no hints about its plans.

    The campaign was notable for its sponsors and supporters, who ranged from public health experts to two of the DOJ's top former officials in Seattle, U.S. Attorneys John McKay and Kate Pflaumer.

    The effort raised more than $6 million in contributions, with more than $2 million of that coming from Progressive Insurance Co. founder Peter Lewis, who used marijuana to treat pain from a leg amputation.

    The ample fundraising allowed New Approach Washington to run television ads through the campaign's final weeks.

    Meanwhile, I-502 had little organized opposition. Some in law enforcement and public health are concerned that increased access will lead to increased abuse, especially among teens.

    Others who opposed the measure did so because it didn't go far enough, and that the blood test limits were arbitrary and could affect medical marijuana patients. Still others worried about a possible federal-state law clash.


    November 6, 2012 @ 4:22

  2. kumar420
    Re: Washington legalizes recreational marijuana

    Excellent news and also a test case for legalization across the us, hopefully the world will follow. If it works out it could be a promising start, if the feds don't stick their noses into places they aren't wanted.
  3. CaptainTripps
    Re: Washington legalizes recreational marijuana

    The feds can interfere with the marijuana production and sales, but they can do nothing about the fact that 1 ounce of marijuana is legal as far as the state of Washington is concerned. Except to have federal agents make small time pot arrests and prosecute them in Federal Court. For practical purposes the feds in Washington do not prosecute drug cases that don't fall under mandatory minimums. That is 100 plants or more, or 100 kilos of pot. They don't even prosecute all of these. 5 years.

    It is symbolic in many ways. Pot is pretty much decriminalized in Western Washington anyway. Green-cards available to pretty much anyone who wants one. That makes 24 ounces and 15 plants legal. Both candidates for King County Sheriff supported I-502. Pot possession is already the "lowest law enforcement priority in several cities, including Seattle.

    This is a regulation measure supported by prosecutors and law enforcement types. It should not lead to any serious exportation of pot to other states. Which is in clear contrast to our medical pot laws. When you can grow 15 plants and don't have to report it to anyone. The state has been pretty lax about enforcement anyway. Growing or selling pot has a 5 year maximum, but the standard sentencing range is 0 to 6 months. Usually much closer to 0 than the 6. Plus an automatic 30% off.

    I think if the feds allow this plan to go forward what will happen is two things. One they will start to pursue illegal operations with vigor. It will no longer be seen as a basically victimless crime, where there is little interest in enforcement. What they will see are tax evaders, who are stealing from the general fund. Two they will start to actually enforce the standards set forth with medical marijuana. Washington actually has a very narrow law as far as qualifying conditions go. Green card mills have flourished with little or no harassment. There have been very few cases where a prosecutor has questioned the validity of a green card. They have gone after people who exceeded the limits, but if you can get a green card, you are pretty safe.

    The net result is that there will be far less pot to export to neighboring states. If you live in a neighboring state and don't want Washington pot coming into your communities, this is the law for you. There will be far fewer black and gray market sellers. Legal pot is limited to one lousy ounce and the price will be relativity high due to the high taxes at every level.

    It is interesting to note that much of the opposition to this bill came from the medical marijuana community. Another group that did not get as much press is the marijuana underground. For these folks, I- 502 is a job killer. Still it passed by a large margin. That is because the moderate citizens of Washington State know that this really is a regulation and control measure, not a liberalization measure. This makes marijuana a "controlled substance" in reality. As for as marijuana is concerned, "controlled substance" is an oxymoron, at least in many parts of the state.

    That being said I am very glad it passed. It sends an important message about personal choices and personal responsibility. Congrats to Colorado as well, which also passed a regulation measure. The more liberal measure in Oregon looks like it is going down to defeat. The public is not embracing pot, they simply have decided to exchange prohibition for tight regulation. That is the message they need to send to the feds. Now with 4 more years and no chance of reelection Obama maybe could experiment with these state proposals to control their marijuana situations, without political fallout.

    For those in other states that want to legalize. Take a good look at how these initiatives were presented. Regulation is the key to getting these things passed. It will also be the way to get the feds to accept them.
  4. Phungushead
    Marijuana legalization initiative becomes law in Washington

    [IMGL="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=29552&stc=1&d=1352271762[/IMGL] Washington voters have made their state the first in the nation to legalize recreational pot use, setting up a showdown with a federal government that backs the drug's prohibition.

    The outcomes of related measures in Colorado and Oregon were uncertain.

    The Washington measure sets up a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, where adults over 21 can buy up to an ounce. It also establishes a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence.

    Estimates have showed pot taxes could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, but the sales won't start until state officials make rules to govern the legal weed industry.

    Initiative 502 would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and make simple possession legal starting Dec. 6. In about a year, the law will establish an elaborate state-regulated apparatus for growing, processing and selling marijuana.

    [IMGR="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=29553&stc=1&d=1352271762[/IMGR] The battle lines

    The initiative gained support in polling as the election drew near, thanks in part to a well-crafted advertising campaign, featuring a former US Attorney. That led one pollster to ask if voters were making an informed choice, given the lack of organized opposition to the initiative. Critics of the initiative worried it would lead to more youths trying the drug, take away a law enforcement tool from officers on the streets, and fail to stamp out the black market for pot because the prices in state-licensed stores would be too high.

    The initiative was crafted under the auspices of the Seattle office of the American Civil Liberties Union, and lead-author Alison Holcomb says she took lessons from failed legalization attempts in California and other states. Focus groups showed that swing voters would reject it if they thought it might increase drugged-driving or make marijuana widely available.

    The ACLU has long questioned the way the national War on Drugs has disproportionately affected blacks and other minority groups. They point to statistics showing that while marijuana use is about even between blacks and whites, black men are 3 times as likely as white men to go to jail for it.

    This disproportionality argument won support for legalization from the groups such as the NAACP.

    Sets new DUI standards

    One of the most controversial elements in the initiative among people who already use marijuana, especially those who use it for medical reasons, is the standard it sets for the amount of THC in the blood, if you happen to be pulled over while driving.
    The initiative “establishes a new DUI “per se” limit of 5 nanograms of active delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of whole blood (5 ng/mL).”
    That part of the initiative was part of an effort to allay fears that legalizing pot would lead to more impaired drivers on the roads. And it would change a process that, right now, relies heavily on the officer’s judgment, as we reported in our story “Will legal marijuana make our roads more dangerous?”

    Tax revenue estimates

    Office of Financial Management was charged with estimating how much tax revenue the marijuana initiative would generate.
    “Assume $12 per gram. Medical marijuana dispensary prices on average range between $10 and $15 per gram with some premium products exceeding $15 per gram. Based on average retail mark-up practices, producer price is $3 per gram and processer price is $6 per gram. No price elasticity is assumed.”
    OFM uses this retail price for estimating potential tax revenues from marijuana sold in stores (nearly $600 million a year). However, OFM acknowledges this rough estimate could be off by a large amount.

    How many will 'use'

    They assume from federal surveys that there are nearly 363,000 “users” currently in Washington.

    This seems to be the closest thing to a reliable estimate. But many researchers say it underestimates the number by 20-40%. That means there could be as many as 508,000 users.

    Is that a lot? At the high end, it would be about 7.4% of the state’s population. (Or, in the official estimate, one out of every 16 adults over age 25.)

    [IMGL="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=29554&stc=1&d=1352271762[/IMGL] Quality control

    The marijuana initiative requires the state of Washington to create a grading system for cannabis. Is it good stuff? Or low-grade? A blend? How much THC (the active ingredient that gets you high) is it packing?

    In the language of Initiative-502, the state Liquor Control Board is charged with:
    "(8) In consultation with the department of agriculture, establishing classes of marijuana, useable marijuana, and marijuana infused products according to grade, condition, cannabinoid profile, THC concentration, or other qualitative measurements deemed appropriate by the state liquor control board;" (p.21)
    If the state's in the business of licensing cannabis growers, then just like apple growers and wheat farmers, they need to set standards. And, in this case, the state is also licensing the retail stores, where people will want to know not only how potent the product is, but a bit about the taste and purity.

    Growing and selling details

    Nearly half the pages in the initiative are given to the details of growing and selling marijuana through new state-licensed businesses.

    • Marijuana processor "means a person licensed by the state liquor control board to process marijuana into useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products. The "pot processor" would package and label useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products for sale in retail outlets and sell useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products at wholesale to marijuana retailers."
    • Marijuana producer "means a person licensed by the state liquor control board to produce and sell marijuana at wholesale to marijuana processors and other marijuana producers."
    • Marijuana-infused products "means products that contain marijuana or marijuana extracts and are intended for human use. The term "marijuana-infused products" does not include useable marijuana."
    • Marijuana retailer "means a person licensed by the state liquor control board to sell useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products in a retail outlet.
    And, this phrase seems to be key to understanding all of the above:
    "Useable marijuana" means dried marijuana flowers. The term "useable marijuana" does not include marijuana-infused products.
    November 6, 2012

    By The Associated Press and KPLU News Staff

    Photo credits:

    1. At right, Alison Holcomb, one of the lead organizers for I-502, checks result at the pro-I-502 party in Seattle. Credit Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU
    2. If it passes, possession of marijuana is decriminalized by Dec. 6 and the state begins ramping up to license and tax sales.
    3. Pot-infused snow cones at a medical marijuana event in Seattle got us wondering if marijuana isn't practically legal already. Credit Ashley Gross / KPLU
  5. had_by_all
    This is wonderful news: a good step in the right direction. Is there somewhere I can sign up to get the latest news on this initiative? Namely, it would be nice to get an email when the state first starts licensing growers, processors, and retailers.
  6. nitehowler
    A very good step forward ..CONGRATULATIONS Washington!!!!!!!!
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