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So where’s that campaign against legalizing marijuana?

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Sep. 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
September 6, 2012 11:34 am

Prediction for November: Washington’s going to legalize marijuana.

As far as I can tell, there’s little credible opposition to Initiative 502. (I’m not counting the “medical marijuana” people – who have a mercenary stake in its defeat – as credible.)

Last Wednesday, we were supposed to do a joint television interview of the initiative’s opponents and supporters. For something like this, we normally call the campaigns, and they eagerly supply the speakers.

The sponsors of I-502 responded immediately. But it proved hard even to find opponents willing and able to make their case in front of TVW’s cameras.

We started with Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, the state’s most prominent drug opponent. He begged off because he was in the middle of a re-election campaign. But he gave us a list of people who might help.

We went through one name after another. They couldn’t do it because they worked for a public agency, because they couldn’t make it that particular morning, because of this, because of that.

Priscilla Lisicich offered to take up the standard on behalf of Safe Streets, but we needed a team – not a single brave soul – on that side of the table.

It dawned on me that there is NO team. I found ad hoc opponents here and there, but no coherent statewide campaign against I-502. We were trying to invent a campaign that apparently doesn’t exist. That’s not our job, to say the least.

We wound up canceling the event.

Prior to elections, we often run point-counterpoint opeds about ballot measures. Today, my colleague Cheryl Tucker went looking for someone to write the counterpoint opposing I-502.

She called Anthony Martinelli, a medical marijuana guy whose name appears at the top of the “statement against” in the voters pamphlet. It turns out Martinelli has dropped out of the battle.

Take that back. There is no “battle” over legalization in Washington, except among marijuana users who want it legal in different ways and for different reasons. I think the initiative is going to pass by default.

Update:

It looks like I mischaracterized Martinelli as a “medical marijuana guy.” Here’s part of a clarification he sent me (the other part is his comment below):

it’s not a big deal, but I’m not sure where I’ve stated or where the assumption is that I’m a “medical marijuana guy”. I fully support patients rights, but I’m currently working for the legalization of cannabis for all adults as the Communications Director for Sensible Washington (which is in opposition to I-502: https://sensiblewashington.org/blog/i502/).

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