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Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn Calls For Marijuana Legalization


Trippy Seattle SkylineBy Phillip Smith

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn (D) used his state of the city address Tuesday night to make a heartfelt plea for marijuana legalization. The mayor’s remarks came as a new poll showed that an initiative that would legalize marijuana is favored by voters.

“It is time we were honest about the problems we face with the drug trade. Drugs are a source of criminal profit, and that has led to shootings and even murders. Just like we learned in the 1920s with the prohibition of alcohol, prohibition of marijuana is fueling violent activity,” McGinn said in his prepared remarks.

“Seattle is the kind of place that isn’t afraid to try a different approach,” he continued. “We support safe access to medical marijuana and made enforcement of possession of marijuana for personal purposes our lowest enforcement priority. But we’ve learned in the past year that with the federal war on drugs still intact, and with our kids still getting gunned down on the streets, we need to do more.

“I know every one of the city council members sitting to my left and right believe as I do: It’s time for this state to legalize marijuana, and stop the violence, stop the incarceration, stop the erosion of civil liberties, and urge the federal government to stop the failed war on drugs.”

Mayor McGinn’s remarks came as Washingtonians prepare to decide the issue for themselves in the November elections. A marijuana legalization initiative, I-502, has already been approved for the ballot. Sponsored by New Approach Washington, the initiative would create a system of state-licensed and —regulated marijuana commerce and allow adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce.

A Public Policy Polling survey released this week shows the initiative leading, although not with a majority. In the poll, 47% of voters said they’re currently inclined to vote yes on the measure, with 39% saying they are opposed.

A similar initiative is poised to make the ballot in Colorado, having handed in four times the number of signatures it needed for its final push, while legalization initiative signature-gathering campaigns are underway in California, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, and Oregon.

Article From StoptheDrugWar.orgCreative Commons Licensing


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  1. Thank you for additional information on I-502.  Now that I have re-read I-502 and Titles RCW 69.51 and RCW 69.51A; I must reconsider my position.  It does not appear that anything in I-502 supersedes RCW 69.51  (Controlled substances therapeutic research act) or 69.51A (Medical marijuana). 

     I do remain cautious, though, as I am not a lawyer.  However, I am prepared to endorse I-502 as long as it does not supersede RCW 69.51 or 69.51A.  I do hope any discussions in the future on I-502 include its relationship to  RCW 69.51and RCW 69.51A. 

     The more information we have on the entire picture of the legalization of marijuana the better.

  2. # 5, I hope your right in that aspect. If you’re a Washington State resident you’re than familiar with their alcohol model. Do you think if the state gets win of “unlicensed” growers they’re not going to crackdown on the competition? I’m not a lawyer but I am familiar with government vs. little guy and I just think 502 puts the ball in the states court. Whether it passes or not will be interesting, we’re at all whole new level of acceptance here.

  3. Correction please,

    1. Yes, and you could be arrested if and only if you are stopped with probable cause for impaired driving.
    2 & 3. Untrue. Under the current medical law, which would be unchanged, medical cannabis users can continue to grow their own and possess a 60 day supply
    4. We don’t know what the feds will do. NAW has plenty of legal muscle and bucks to meet the challenge
    5. I-502 provides for privately owned and privately operated growing and retail operations.There would be no “state run stores. Since these stores will operate in an open, competitive market they will supply what people will buy. I-502 has nothing to do with the fate of dispensaries.

  4. 1. The DUI Provision — under 502 only 5 micrograms of cannabis in your system would make you considered eligible for a DUI.  This means even a casual smoker would be unable to drive for 4 hours or more after smoking less than a half a gram.
    2. The Weight Limit Provision — under 502 an mmj patient would be limited to possessing 1 oz.  The current limit is 24 oz.  1 oz. is fine for most people, but what about those who have to travel across the state to Seattle for their medicine or the people that have very severe issues and need more than 1 oz. to make their medicine (capsules, tinctures, butter, oil, ect.).
    3. The Grow Provision — under 502 NO private citizens can grow cannabis.  The ability to legally grow your own medicine can save you money and legal headaches.  Why vote to lose your right to grow your own medicine.
    4. Federal Intrusion — the feds have made it clear that if marijuana was decriminalized at the state level, even states with legal access to Medical marijuana, they would intervene and prosecute within those states.
    5. State Run Access Points and Mass Production — under 502 all private medical marijuana patient-to-patient access points would be closed.  You would be required to obtain your medicine at state run facilities that would operate like liquor stores.  The medicine produced for sale at these stores would be grown and managed by the state.  It is likely they would severely limit the number of strains available, possibly down to a single mass-produced hybrid strain, which would then be the only legal strain to process.  Worse is the fact that the wide variety of strains available now for medical purposes would disappear, and the state administered marijuana could becomes virtually useless to the tens of thousands of patients currently treating their different ailments?

  5. Incorrect. I-502 does not affect, change, alter, supplant, replace, or modify the state’s existing medical cannabis law in any form or fashion.

  6. Johnhmajor:

    Although I empathize with your concerns, and I agree, this initiative is far from perfect, chances to end prohibition don’t come around frequently.  People such as yourself criticized prop 19 in CA and now CA has no funded initiative for 2012 as detractors predicted.  In my state and many others theres no opportunity to end prohibition whatsoever.

     I urge you to think of the larger picture here, the effect that passing this initiative will have on other states – encouraging them to do likewise, the pressure this will exert on the federal government to end prohibition or to even reschedule as a schedule 2 drug.

    As long as recreational use is illegal, patients will be persecuted and prosecuted.  Don’t kid yourself that there will be other opportunities in the future.  Seize the day.  End prohibition.  Patients won’t be free until we do.

  7. I-502 is extremely bad for existing medical marijuana patients!  It extremely cuts back on possession and would force mmj patients to use only state facilities, putting many mmj producers out of business for growing even their own mmj as well as growing mmj for those who are certified for the use of mmj.  Look closely before you vote yes.  MMJ clients would urge a NO vote on I-502.

  8. This is truly a pleasant surprise.  Politicians who are actually listening to the people.  

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