Voters Approve I-502 Legalizing Marijuana
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Voters Approve I-502 Legalizing Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on November 07, 2012 at 05:51:35 PT
By Jonathan Martin, Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Source: Seattle Times
Seattle -- Washington enthusiastically leapt into history Tuesday, becoming the first state, with Colorado, to reject federal drug-control policy and legalize recreational marijuana use. Initiative 502 was winning 55 to 45 percent, with support from more than half of Washington's counties, rural and urban.The vote puts Washington and Colorado to the left of the Netherlands on marijuana law, and makes them the nexus of a new social experiment with uncertain consequences. National and international media watched as vote counts rolled into I-502's election-night party in Seattle amid jubilant cheers.
"I'm going to go ahead and give my victory speech right now. After this I can go sit down and stop shaking," said Alison Holcomb, I-502's campaign manager and primary architect."Today the state of Washington looked at 75 years of national marijuana prohibition and said it is time for a new approach," she said.As of Dec. 6, it will no longer be illegal for adults 21 and over to possess an ounce of marijuana. A new "drugged driving" law for marijuana impairment also kicks in then.Tuesday's vote also begins a yearlong process for the state Liquor Control Board to set rules for heavily taxed and regulated sales at state-licensed marijuana stores, which are estimated to raise $1.9 billion in new revenue over five years.Many legal experts expect the U.S. Justice Department, which remained silent during presidential-year politics, to push back and perhaps sue to block I-502 based on federal supremacy.But Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said Seattle's U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan told him Tuesday the federal government "has no plans, except to talk."Initiative 502 ran a disciplined campaign with a tightly focused message, criticizing what it called the failed "war on drugs" without endorsing marijuana use itself.A study, released late in the campaign, found more than 67,000 arrests for low-level marijuana possession in the past five years in Washington, with African Americans and Latinos arrested at widely disproportionate rates.I-502 spent heavily, raising more than $6 million, including more than $2 million from Peter B. Lewis of Ohio, chairman of Progressive Insurance.A broad group of mainstream leaders  including former top federal law-enforcement officials, the King County sheriff, the entire Seattle City Council, public-health experts, African-American leaders and the state labor council  backed the measure. John McKay, U.S. attorney in Seattle under the George W. Bush administration, became a public face of the campaign.The initiative faced surprisingly little organized opposition. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and a state drug-treatment-prevention group were opposed, but did not raise money to counter I-502's $2.8 million TV-ad spending in October.At debates, police and treatment providers predicted I-502 would lead to marijuana use, especially among teenagers. "It is a grave social injustice to trade the right of a minority to get 'high' for the right of youth to grow up drug free," said Derek Franklin, president of the drug-treatment group.The loudest opposition came from some in the medical-marijuana industry, who said they feared being ensnared by I-502's DUI law, which does not exempt patients.The DUI law also sets a zero-tolerance level for marijuana for drivers under 21, significantly stiffening current law.Initiative 502 does not change the medical-marijuana law, leading to allegations that opposition from the industry was self-serving.Tuesday's result was quickly hailed by activists such as Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He called I-502 "the single most important thing in the marijuana legalization movement in the last 75 years," and predicted it will become a template for other states to confront the federal ban on marijuana."That's exactly what happened at the end of alcohol prohibition. I think that's exactly what's going to happen here," Stroup said.Staff reporter Katherine Long and news researcher Gene Balk contributed.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author: Jonathan Martin, Seattle Times Staff ReporterPublished: November 7, 2012Copyright: 2012 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis  Archives 
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Comment #12 posted by runruff on November 08, 2012 at 06:00:44 PT
The flat earthers meet their doom.
Backs to the eternal precipice they still don't concede?How far will they take this? I know and you know this issue is a bread and butter issue to a few. They seem willing to go over the edge of own concocted nightmare.They will probably be heavy handed about this. Either way it is desperation for them here on. Whatever they do will blow up in their faces.I have seen the fed work. I have been in the military and in their prisons. If they are anything at all they are over paid, under worked and completely incompetent. Count on your foe to be armed with hubris and greed but little else. This is the beginning of the end. The fuse was lit in California in 1996. This is the bomb that blew down the gates to freedom. We as a nation will rush, meander and saunter through them without hindrance from now on.It is a good day for liberty and a great day for recompense. When you puff puff pass, remember me, I have been standing here, straight and tall I bore their slings and arrows, slights and blows, insults and humiliation from the beginning!Your hearts are free, have the courage to follow it
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Comment #11 posted by kaptinemo on November 07, 2012 at 15:48:30 PT:
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls..."prohibs!
For it tolls for thee. The death knell of prohibition has been sounded, loud and clear, with the expressed political (and social) will of the majority of the winning States made manifest: re-legalize cannabis for adults, period!The Feds are well and truly boxed-in. If they try to use force, the Sheriffs, the only Constitutionally recognized LE actors, can intervene.If the Feds try the legal route, the whole sordid history of prohibition can be brought up for the entire world to see. A century-long injustice, costing scores of millions their livelihoods, their families, their freedom and, in far too many cases, their very lives; a trillion now-desperately needed dollars, flushed down a toilet and all we have to show for it is private prisons, wrecked communities and atomized families; a paramilitarized police force with little civil control running roughshod daily over citizen's liberties; a policy whose racially bigoted origin has been long-forgotten but its' spirit is still exercised in the treatment of our minorities; do the Feds really want that pile of perdition to blow up in their faces?Worse, for them and possibly for the country, if the Feds try to strong-arm the States that have passed initiatives, seeing that their vote counts for nothing and there's no point to play by crooked rules anymore, the citizens of the affected States could petition for a Constitutional Convention. THE ENTIRE PRESENT FORM OF GOVERNMENT COULD BE SCRAPPED AT SUCH A CONVENTION. In effect, it could become the Second American Revolution. Not so nice an idea as some might think...So...the Feds face the prospect of the legal and social equivalent of walking through a minefield while juggling buckets full of nitro with cats walking as cats do, zipping in-and-out between their feet. Only a fool would try...but the Feds haven't ever been known for having much sense on this issue. Maybe this time they'll learn what Custer didn't: when outnumbered, retreat.
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Comment #10 posted by Graehstone on November 07, 2012 at 14:29:22 PT:
With the passing of this wonderful law in Colorado, kind of gives new meaning to the name "Denver Nuggets", huh? ;-)
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Comment #9 posted by Canis420 on November 07, 2012 at 09:28:35 PT:
Good News!
Lots of tails are waggin today, including mine.I cant wait to see these initiatives implementedHemp production on industrial scaleFarmaceutical, food, fuel, fiber and fun. The 5 F'sOnce the rest of the country sees the benefits the wall will crumble rapidly
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on November 07, 2012 at 09:22:26 PT
That is what I would expect because of his political views.
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on November 07, 2012 at 09:17:49 PT
Colorado Attorney General response
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, an ardent opponent of marijuana legalization, said Wednesday he would respect the will of the voters on Amendment 64 but cast doubt on the measure's longterm success...."Despite my strongly held belief that the 'legalization' of marijuana on a state level is very bad public policy, voters can be assured that the Attorney General's Office will move forward in assisting the pertinent executive branch agencies to implement this new provision in the Colorado Constitution," Suthers wrote in a statement. 
...He urged the U.S. Department of Justice  which has been considering lawsuits in Colorado and in Washington, where a legalization measure also passed Tuesday, to block the new marijuana laws  to articulate its response "as soon as possible." 
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Comment #6 posted by schmeff on November 07, 2012 at 09:08:06 PT
Will the Feds Intervene?
I think it would be a mistake for President Obama to be seen as coming out against democracy during his second term, but now we'll be able to see if all those supporters who believed he would show his progressive stripes as a 'lame duck' will be affirmed or betrayed.I was one who hoped for change, and honestly, I feel betrayed. Obama had the GOP against him all the way and STILL accomplished a lot. Too often however, he could have effected change, and chose not to.The President has a unique historical moment to alter the trajectory of American drug policy in favor of truth and scientific reality, relatively free from political pressure. He has the authority to reschedule cannabis by executive order. Since I don't believe his base would be enthusiastic about federal intervention in Washington or Colorado, he would have little to lose politically by taking the high road and proclaiming his support for letting the individual states be "laboratories of democracy." It would be easy and pain-free for President Obama to just sit back and see what happens.I believe President Obama wants cannabis for corporate profits. The Obama administration is fighting tooth and nail in federal court for a provision to incarcerate Americans without trial that a lower court judge has blocked as unconstitutional. (Remarkably, Obama's lawyers have asked the higher court to rescind the ban until the lawsuit is settled, suggesting they are already using that authority, or intend to use it soon.) The corporate propaganda that Obama will enforce, even though it will contradict the foundation of cannabis prohibition, is that the cannabis plant is a medicine that must be refined and rendered 'safe' exclusively by large pharmaceutical companies. Same as the poppy and the cocoa plant.If the Obama administration challenges these two ballot measures in federal court, we'll know for sure there's no 'change' comin'. And won't be fooled again.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on November 07, 2012 at 08:33:31 PT
I agree!
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Comment #4 posted by ripit on November 07, 2012 at 08:32:22 PT
great day!
i just have a warm happy feeling this morning thinking about how we are finally moving in the right direction.just a bright and shiny day to all!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 07, 2012 at 07:38:46 PT
Blind Eye
They said that the Feds will probably turn a blind eye and let it be. 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 07, 2012 at 07:00:19 PT
The New Amsterdam of The West
That's what Chuck Todd on MSNBC just said. He said where marijuana is legal now. They will be talking about it soon.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 07, 2012 at 06:05:18 PT
What a Day Yesterday
Forward we will go!
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