I-502: A Discussion for Rational Human Beings

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    But just how will we know if we’re being rational?

    Surely if we’re not rational then God will punish us.

    On the other hand, if we are rational, then what do we need God for?


    Well, for now let’s set aside these matters and just try to be a little nicer to each other, shall we?

    Or else.


    Now I’m going to make another prediction. Remember: You heard it here first.

    Even though I voted for I-502, I predict it will go down.

    As I was reading the text, I thought it just seemed too complicated to work, and I think most voters will look at it the same way. It’s telling that even many people who are for legalization are against this. They claim that it will raise new enforcement issues that didn’t even exist before. Whether these claims are justified or not, I suspect they will be persuasive to voters.

    Beyond that, I-502 seems like a big tweak of the nose to the federal government. This is the same government, mind, that’s been busily cracking down on medical marijuana establishments, here and in California. So if that’s what the Feds are doing to medical marijuana, just imagine what they’d do to “legal” non-medical outfits.

    In weighing the relatively uncertain benefits of legalization against the relatively certain costs of it, I suspect that most voters will go: Eh? Nah.

    How hard is pot to get now, anyway?

    Not that much harder than birth control I bet.

    And in some places, easier.

    From the 12/29/11 issue of the Seattle Times:

    A man on a downtown Seattle sidewalk, yelling that he had OxyContin for sale for $2, asked a woman if he could feel the texture on her pants, and she said sure. They were standing on the east side of Third Avenue between Pike and Pine streets Tuesday.


    mmm . . Think I know that guy. Owes me some $$$ as a matter of fact.



    Think globally, shop locally.



    Legalize it, tax it, treat it just like alcohol. There is no sane reason not to do that.



    I’m with Dobro. From what I’ve read, there are actually some specific guidelines in place this time (unlike the MMJ debacle) like established tests and blood levels for DWH. My only concern is more widespread use in public places, which is already an issue in parks, for example.



    Why? Why tax it? It’s a weed. Is this the new trend, we get to “buy” our freedoms from government? If it moves, glitters, breathes, or people want it .. it must be taxed! If the state gets involved, they will price fix just like they do alcohol. The state will overprice a free, natural pain relief therapy. Boo hisss…. Support your local suppliers.



    anonyme, public consumption won’t be allowed under 502.



    Maple, good to know it won’t be allowed, but how will it be enforced? It’s illegal now, but that doesn’t seem to make a difference. I can’t imagine that police will crack down on public use once pot is legal, if they don’t do so now. Just wondering, is all.



    The details seem to just be in there to make it seem serious. The reality of the final statute will depend on the WA legislature and ultimately how long it will take the current wingnut packed supreme court to die. I don’t expect it to be actually “legal” in my lifetime since there are too many people fully involved in and dependent on the “pipeline to disenfranchisement” the laws current prohibition was originally put in place for. In 1936 it was almost entirely non whites that used it.



    Well anonyme, I imagine it’ll be enforced just like public liquor laws or whatever else the cops choose to enforce. I’m kind of surprised to hear that you see a lot of public consumption now though. (Maybe I need to hang out where you hang out.)

    I do think the police will be keen to enforce the enforceable aspects of the law though, given the way it will likely put us under the feds’ microscope.

    And while I’m totally in favor of the initiative even though I don’t consume marijuana, I have to admit that you raise an interesting question as to how this law would mesh with the Seattle law that dictates marijuana to be the lowest priority for law enforcement.



    Everyone still being rational here?




    Considering the rather large increase of volume required to sustain the medicinal need with an apparent approval; there will be a larger energy draw by the licensed growers.

    Hope they invest in solar…or at least have incentives to do so.

    Kootch…natural it is…but there has to be some sort of tax on the sale or transport…or some item involved…just like booze.

    I approved…



    criminalizing those who grow and/or use marijuana hasn’t worked and is incredibly expensive to us as a society.

    it’s time to find an approach that does

    i said yes.



    Why does their “HAVE” to be a tax? 365Stairs? The distribution system is working just fine now without a tax.. it is in plentiful supply, prices are stable, at around 250-280 an oz., quality keeps getting better as growers try get better yields and higher THC content..Let’s tax your tomato plants too, a rose tax? how about squash and green bean tax? Here’s a GREAT approach… live and let live. This will end up as a revenue source… and we all know what happens when the state/city finds a revenue source. More civil rights get violated and police get diverted from public safety to protect a revenue source. An approach that would work? Take pot statutes off the books.. period. If there are no state statutes, we won’t be locking anyone up. Cannabis today, camomille tea tax tomorrow!




    tomato plans don’t gt taxed unless of course you actually purchase them instead of growing them from see… i think…

    nor would the tomatoes if you were to sell them because they are food..

    but cannabis? Although it may be consumable, it’s not food

    and if it is it is sold in the prepared form..

    so it would be taxed.

    unless of course.. your cannabis comes via a medical prescription…

    which i would think is not taxed

    but i have never checked…

    you didn’t plan to buy yours on the corner, did you?


    HMC Rich

    I am against it. If you are healthy and smoke it, you are breaking the law. Hence, you are a drain on society and I hope you get thrown in jail. If you are sick and can use it as medicine, let a doctor prescribe it.

    Hemp should be legal. No problem. But anybody who buys marijuana illegally and uses it is culpable for the murder of many people due to your selfishness.

    I hope you choke on it. It will get you even higher but don’t spill the bong water.



    I voted for it on the principle of states rights. The federal gov. shouldn’t be dictating this to the states.



    Talk about a drain on society. The money, resources,jail space, and lives wasted on supressing a drug that is clearly no more harmful than a shot of whiskey or a six-pack (which, whether you like it or not, is completely accepted by our society) is one of the biggest drains we have. Weed is not only medically useful and a social lubricant, it could be making tons of money for the state instead of for a bunch of gangbangers and criminals.

    Like I said, there is no •sane• reason not to legalize and regulate it.



    Plants, including tomato and other food plants, are taxed. Tomatoes ready-to-eat are not.

    About the claims that marijuana is “natural”: While marijuana is a plant and may be raised organically, weed is one of the most highly manipulated cultivated crops on the planet. Plants grown today have TCH levels many, many times higher than you would have found 20 years ago. It is no longer a plant that occurs in nature, and it is not a weed. In some ways, I think the claim could be made that pot is a GMO.




    ” In some ways, I think the claim could be made that pot is a GMO.”

    it is hard sometimes to know if the practice of cultivation through genetics has crossed that line.




    “But anybody who buys marijuana illegally and uses it is culpable for the murder of many people due to your selfishness.”

    the same could have been said of alcohol during prohibition.

    the solution to that was making it legal.



    Decriminalize it and the cartels go out of business. Funny, thing though, when the state gets a whiff of money…all things are possible. I will continue to support local, entrepreneurs, with that fine Wenatchee sunshine produce. The state wants 25% from the grower, 25% from the dispensary, and 25% from the licensed distributors….. gimme a break.




    as you are prone to point out

    nothing in life is free.




                        **** Warning: Too long. Too damn long. ****


    Even if Washingtonians pass I-502, it could still die (ironically enough) because of another drug liberalization effort. I’m talking about medical marijuana.

    You might have heard that purveyors of medical marijuana aren’t thrilled about I-502. And that’s understandable. If the initiative is approved, and everything goes according to sponsors’ plans, that would put a huge dent in the medical marijuana business.

    Think of booze as an analogy. If there were such a thing as prescription booze, would anyone buy it?

    –Well, yes, actually. If booze at the pharmacy cost only half as much as the same booze purchased from a liquor store, then you might see quite a few people turning up at the pharmacy with prescriptions in hand. And that could be just the type of thing we see with medical marijuana prices undercutting retail marijuana. So rather than retail pot putting medical put out of business, I think the reverse will be true, and I’ll explain why.

    Reading over the text of I-502, I couldn’t find anything that speaks to a change in the law for medical mj dispensaries and how they get their supply. Therefore, if the iniative passes, what we will have are two marijuana price structures and these could turn out to be quite different.

    First, there will be the retail marijuana price, which will be controlled by a combination of three things: (a) the cost of production and distribution (including all licensing fees and taxes on the seller), (b) a hefty 25% sales tax on the buyer, and (c) market forces.

    Next, we will have the medical marijuana price structure, which is subject to different taxes and licensing fees, different costs of production, and so on. My estimate would be that, whatever the retail mj price turns out to be, the medical mj price will be lower.

    Oops. Did I say there would be two price structures? In fact, there will be three. The third one will be the black market price. And yes, there will still be a black market in marijuana, even if that black market does not involve organized crime. Consider that under I-502’s provisions, it will still be illegal to grow your own non-medical dope, as many Washingtonians do now. If I-502 passes, do you really think that everyone who’s growing their own now (and selling some on the side) will dump their grow gear and head down to the nearest legal pot shop so they can pay two or three times as much for the same product? Of course not. And why would they? Where’s the incentive to go legit or quit? Does I-502 increase penalties for illegal producers? Does it increase enforcement?

    –No it doesn’t. So what will probably happen if I-502 passes is that the black market will stick around in some form for at least as long as it takes the legal market to become competitive on price. Which could be never. Some users might switch from patronizing illegal dealers to getting their pot from medical dispensaries if that turns out to be cheaper, but if these users don’t have a legitimate medical need, that would still be technically illegal. And, more importantly, it would undermine the whole justification for I-502, which was supposed to eliminate by making everything legal. But again: Why would anyone buy an expensive, highly taxed product from a state-controlled store when they could get it cheaper or easier somewhere else?*

    So don’t expect to see legal pot shops springing up all over as a result of I-502 passing. And don’t expect the black market to disappear overnight, either, if it disappears at all. This new law has the potential to be a huge quagmire, and to set the struggle for nationwide legalization back for years.

    If it passes and doesn’t work out as planned, look for a repeal effort within a couple of years.


    *I’m basically making the kootchman’s argument here. Except that where he questions taxing mj for ideological reasons, I question it for practical ones.




    My primary concern is the same as anonyme’s, for selfish reasons: I just don’t want to have to walk through clouds of the stuff at the park. While maplesyrup is correct that public consumption is illegal under the initiative, it is defined as a class 3 civil infraction, for which the maximum penalty is $50–perhaps not enough to discourage it, particularly when you consider how difficult it is to get enforcement for violations of the smoking law, leash laws, etc. No provision in the law dedicates any of the proceeds to law enforcement, which already doesn’t have the funds to focus on these violations, and must prioritize.

    I still may end up deciding to vote for this initiative; I haven’t yet made up my mind. But this selfish concern is the main thing holding me back.




    i have the same selfish concern

    although maybe not so selfish since being around too much marijuana smoke tends to send me to the emergency room

    but i don’t find the alternative acceptable either

    so i voted of it.

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