May 08, 2014 | DON SKAKIE FOR NORTHWEST LEAF
Why we need to band together to truly legalize marijuana where I-502 only stumbled
For more information visit www.facebook.com/reallegalizationwa
As I-502 is implemented, it is clear the People are not getting what they thought. The legislature has made moves to fold medical cannabis into the recreational system when it it clear they must remain separate.
Patients are stepping up politically and moving beyond waving signs to actively engaging their elected representatives. Activists have put together initiative 648 to address many concerns and the Medical Safe Access community is coming together to debate proposed regulations to move forward to the legislature in the 2015 session.
Initiative, reform and regulation is the path forward if we are to save medical cannabis and safe access for patients as it exists today.
I-502 deliberately missed home growing. This was to maximize tax collection and control, but if a product is legal to possess, it should be legal to grow. Because anyone is able to grow does not mean that everyone will. But they should not be forced to the 502 stores for what they can produce themselves. The 502 stores should exist to serve the recreational consumers who do not produce for themselves and want that “convenience”. Sharing remains illegal even as everyone passes to each other as we always have. 648 provides for home growing without tax, fee, license, permit or registry.
Young people and families are impacted by 502 as well. They face arrest for what is legal for adults. Parents face loss of custody as they are unable to provide cannabis or guide youth like they always have with alcohol. A glass of wine at a family dinner or a beer while bonding with dad is responsible guidance that should be mirrored with cannabis. Parents should be allowed to act in the best medical interests of the children as well.
Young people who misstep should be summoned to court. 18-21 year olds can see the judge, while those younger should appear with their parents/guardians. But we should not be putting them in jail for a first offense of something that is legal for adults. 648 addresses these points.
The 5ng per se DUI limit in 502 is not a consistent indicator of impairment across the general population in the manner that .08% BAC is. For patients, many are not only not impaired at 5ng, they are unable to function without it at even higher levels. 648 would exempt patients from the 5ng limit and would require proof of impairment as it is for all other substances other than alcohol.
502 made it legal to possess up to one ounce, but more is a misdemeanor. If the ounce is legal, a little more should be an infraction, not a trip to jail. 648 would make possession from +28g to up to 40g an infraction. It would also provide for removal of convictions for what is no longer a crime. This will have a great impact on people with those charges on their records.
NW Leaf is supporting 648 by inserting a 4 signature mail in petition in this issue. Please take the time to find it and read it. It is designed so anyone can read it in the privacy of their own home, share it with family, friends, neighbors and coworkers discreetly, signed and then mailed directly to the Yes on 648 campaign. Please make copies to share with your people that may never see it elsewhere.
Real Legalization.org is hosting 20 signature PDF for petitions that dedicated activists can use to print their own for use out in public to gather large numbers of signatures. Those of us that are willing and able to get out to sporting events, concerts, clubs or anywhere that people gather are welcome to use these 20 signature sheets and encouraged to pass out a 4 signature sheet to everyone who signs the 20 sheet.
Everyone that cares about the plant needs to get involved this year. We need to register to vote and sign 648. We need to make copies and get 648 into communities all over. We need to find out who represents us in Olympia and get in touch with them with our stories and concerns. They think 90%of medical is fake. They need to know 90% of medical is unable to get out in the public eye. We need to be reasonable, rational and mainstream when talking to them so that they take us seriously. We need to keep medical separate from recreational and preserve existing production and safe access. We need to come together as an industry to clean up our image and be reputable humble servants to patients and create rules and regulations that serve all fairly, not just the special interests of some. Other industries have standard practices that legislators work with to create laws they work under. Our industry needs to do the same. What we do in 2014 will determine what direction the legislature does in 2015. Do your part, get involved!
6 Steps on How to Contact your Legislator
#1: Find out what district you live and/or work in by going to http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/
#2: Acquire your State Senator and Representatives email, phone number and office addresses from the links.
#3: Check with one of the many advocacy groups out there if there is any pending legislation that you should support or disagree with.
Cannabis Action Coalition www.cannabisactioncoalition.com
Sensible Washington: www.sensiblewashington.org
MBI: Marijuana Business Integration
#4: Write an email or a letter, call or make an appointment to visit your Senators or representative’s office in your district or at the state Capitol in Olympia.
#5: Be courteous when you engage in your conversation with your representative, building a positive relationship with them is key to not only getting your point across and having them take you seriously, but also getting them to drop an amendment to a bill on your behalf. Educating them about your personal situation or that bill may negatively affect your business, home or personal life is the best way to have them understand your position.
#6: If you find that you don’t care to engage in politics but still don’t want your rights taken away donate to any one of the advocacy and lobbying groups above to help support the folks whose full time job it is to better educate our legislators about positive drug policy reform. $1 dollar grows quickly into $1000 when the community pitches in, so save a buck and help the movement move forward.