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I-502 has flushed out the medical cannabis industry

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on Sep. 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm with 13 Comments »
September 7, 2012 5:25 pm

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Strangers to marijuana politics might assume that the drug’s champions would be cheering a ballot measure designed to legalize marijuana in Washington.

Follow the White Rabbit into Wonderland, though, and it turns out that the most ferocious opposition to Initiative 502 is coming from marijuana advocates – especially “medical” marijuana advocates.

They include people who run dispensaries and pot-friendly practitioners who keep the cannabis shops in business by churning out so-called green cards for drug-seekers.

Both groups are pocketing immense amounts of money from an illegal and incestuous industry.

The pot docs – most of whom don’t seem to be actual medical doctors – commonly promise users their money back if they don’t walk away with a license to smoke. Sometimes the customers have to walk only a few feet, to the counter of the dispensary that helped arranged the consultation.

Imagine a pharmacy that sells only Xanax in partnership with a quack who mostly sells Xanax prescriptions. Writ large, that’s pretty much the relationship between docs and dispensaries on a statewide scale.

They have every incentive to manufacture large numbers of “patients,” who these days are mostly common recreational users. They have every incentive to guard their hold on these customers.

Now comes I-502, which would demolish that monopoly by permitting marijuana sales in stores licensed by the state Liquor Control Board.

The initiative has its flaws, but it is unmistakably the work of grownups. Like grownups, it insists on limits.

Marijuana zealots don’t like those limits. Some don’t like the restrictions on how much pot a customer can buy at one time, for example. Some don’t like the requirement that sellers be fingerprinted.

The dispensary industry has seized on the measure’s rules against drugged driving, claiming they will keep patients off the roads.

One complaint is that I-502 would forbid people under 21 from driving with marijuana in their systems. Yes, the public is supposed to be alarmed about that.

Another complaint is that the law would presume intoxication if drivers exceeded a 5 nanogram limit of THC – the drug’s potent psychoactive agent – in their blood.

The science of driving-while-high is in its infancy, but evidence suggests that people who’d fail that test are typically more than one toke over the line. In any case, the law should err on the side of protecting other drivers.

The real agenda here isn’t about nanograms – it’s about money. It’s about the loss of monopoly. The dispensary-quackery complex, which has turned medical marijuana into a money-grubbing sham over the last three years, no longer bothers to hide its priorities.

Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. publicbulldog says:

    When you have 3 million to spend it is easy to buy a local rag and spin any sort on nonsense that sounds close.

    The reality is there are no dispensaries,legal ones anyways,and the collective model is no huge money maker let alone a monopoly.Furthermore, the I-502 cause gets assisted at every level of the media and all of the social clubs besides the ones in Eastern Washington.

    There is no doubt you will see the money from the lawyers and the insurance factions of I-502 pour into the local media for attck ads just like this one. The attacks on us patients is out of frustration because they know they need us to win the vote, and they despise us for telling the truth about I-502.Not only are we costing them votes they should get we are costing them other votes from other factions just because we are honest and make sense.

    The pro on I-502 has nothing more to bring to the table except personal attacks and money for attack ads just like this one. “We are drug dealers,we have a monoply” yada yada yada. Yet most of the signatures on the last petition to the Washington State Board of Pharmacy to deschedule marijuana in the Washington State controlled substances act came from us. Not one signature came from Rick Steve,Norml,ACLU or any other I-502 supporter.

    Thats right TNT board we want marijuana out of schedule I despite our lust for money. Your I-502 campaign sponsored diatribe is wide of the mark and marginalizes the TNT.

  2. publicbulldog says:

    Watch the legalization forum at the League of Women voters. At 1:30 mark, the league of women voter representative tries to put the brakes on the DUID question. It wasn’t bad enough that all of the DUID questions were blocked by Jonathon Martin,The league of women voter rep tries to do it too. This is shameful.

  3. hannibal says:

    I don’t know what Callahan and Zeek are smoking up at the
    Tribune offices, but from the vicious tone of this article it
    very well might be crack. Obviously, since they can’t even
    find an organization that is on the first screen when you
    google I-502, (See O’Callahan diatribe of Sept. 5)

    It is amazing what a load of slurs, libel, and partisan falsehoods
    that the Trib’s editors can cram into one short hatchet job.

    This is exactly the type of corporate smear campaign that 3.5
    million dollars of (mostly) insurance company and lawyers’ money
    can buy from the media.

    I-502’s zero tolerance provision for those under 21 mean that
    our children will risk having their lives ruined based on levels
    of THC in their system that can remain for weeks after they partake.

    Such zero tolerance repression has nothing to do with making our
    roads safer, but everything to do with getting an entire generation
    of pot smokers behind bars or in the criminal justice system, and
    just by coincidence, raising their car insurance rates for the rest of
    their 40 years of driving. That is more money than anyone could
    make in a dispensary. The studies, if the Trib’s wise editors could
    read them, all categorically demonstrate that blood levels of THC
    cannot be used as a scientific test of impairment. In fact, one
    famous study conducted at UCLA showed that stoned drivers
    tended to drive slower and more carefully! The Trib’s editors
    obviously base their decisions on “truthiness” and dogma,
    rather than science, like all instruments of oppression since
    the Spanish Inquisition prosecuted Gallileo.

    The claim that every single medical marijuana patient is a faker
    and every ingle dispensary owner is a money grubber shows an
    anti medical marijuana bias so rabid as to be beyond the pale of
    rational discussion. Certainly, as in all industries, there are
    profiteers, but there are also a lot of dedicated people doing
    everything they can to help those with caner, debilitating pain,
    and other serious medical conditions that the pharmacy industry
    can’t cure despite all of the billions they extort for their “patented”
    drugs. A large number of dispensary owners would be making more
    money if they ran a gas station or a 7-11, but the TNT does not
    recognize that fact either.

    Where is the outrage over Big Pharma’s profits? Don’t they pay lobbyists
    and incentives and kickbacks to shady MDs to prescribe their poisons
    that are designed mainly to perpetuate their profits? One can only conclude
    that the TNT is so far in the big corporations pockets or so anti marijuana
    that they believe it is OK for companies like Johnson and Johnson to make
    billions, but when a few small players actually make some money, and help
    some terminally ill people with no other option, they are the acme of evil.

    Medical marijuana was established in this State by an initiative, and if the
    TNT actually respects the people’s exercise of power they would support the
    citizens’ rights to act within the laws they passed. Just so, I respect the 1st
    Amend meant right of the TNT editors to publish whatever corporate smears
    their handlers tell them to publish, even when I disagree. That is what most
    of us believe democracy is about. However, corporate smear campaigns that
    attempt to vilify a political position by ad hominem attacks on those
    advocating it push the limits of acceptable civil discourse.

    Let’s hope everyone with a family member legitimately taking cannabis for
    cancer or serous debilitating illness will cancel their subscription to the Trib,
    because nothing short of a radical shock like losing their circulation can
    provide a reality check to such closed minded, ignorant, vituperative diatribes.

  4. hannibal says:

    In reply to the Bulldog, and in defense of Jonathan
    Martin, when i asked him about the LVW “debate”
    he replied to the effect that..

    “This was not my event; I was the guest moderator.
    And I made a point of calling on Steve, and letting
    his question be answered despite the hosts’ effort
    to end it.”

    Clearly, the LVW’s attempts to control the
    debate were shameful, and I think that honest
    journalists like Mr. Martin are disgusted and
    appalled when they see such obvious attempts
    at censorship even when they are involved in it
    for whatever reasons.

    Let’s hope whoever the TNT replaces its editorial
    staff with will at least be able to be as ashamed
    of the lies and censorship that the well financed
    corporate campaign to support I-502 is based on
    as some of the more competent reporters at the
    Times are.

    Falsehoods and censorship are reprehensible,
    and the I-502 campaign’s reliance on lies,
    censorship, and vicious smear tactics should
    be enough to convince the public that I-502
    must be a bad thing or there would be no
    need for the pro I-502 campaign to rely
    on censorship, mudslinging and lies

  5. notSpicoli says:

    “The initiative has its flaws, but it is unmistakably the work of grownups. Like grownups, it insists on limits.”

    I-502 is not a pro-marijuana bill per se. This automatically places it at odds with some–but certainly not all– in the community of cannabis culture. For virtually every major marijuana reform group has endorsed I-502. It also has broad mainstream support from groups such as the state Democrats, the NAACP, church and political leaders, the ACLU, and more than a hundred others groups and individuals

    I-502 seeks to replace the policy of marijuana prohibition with a policy of taxing and regulating the marijuana industry. It provides safeguards for our children and for our highways while advancing civil liberties. It provides funding for prevention and other related programs and saves money that can be better used elsewhere in our judicial system. It is the acknowledgment that the status quo is unsatisfactory coupled with the conviction that we can do much better than what we have now.

  6. malcolmkyle says:

    Prohibitionists are neither civil nor productive members of society, they are soulless parasites—inhuman, oppressive criminals from whom protection is required.

    Or maybe Prohibitionists did not really intend to kill hundreds of thousands worldwide, put 1 in every 30 American adults under supervision of the correctional system, and—exactly like their counterparts of the 1920s— destroy the economy?

    Whatever way you look at it, Prohibitionists are overwhelmingly responsible for an immense increase in organized crime, international terrorism, rampant official corruption, a broken economy, mass unemployment and a serious undermining of international security and development.

    If you sincerely believe that prohibition is a dangerous and counter-productive policy then you can stop helping to enforce it. You are entitled—required even—to act according to your conscience!

    * It only takes one juror to prevent a guilty verdict.
    * You are not lawfully required to disclose your voting intention before taking your seat on a jury.
    * You are also not required to give a reason to the other jurors on your position when voting. Simply state that you find the accused not guilty!
    * Jurors must understand that it is their opinion, their vote. If the Judge and the other jurors disapprove, too bad. There is no punishment for having a dissenting opinion.

    “It is not only [the juror's] right, but his duty … to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” —John Adams

    We must create what we can no longer afford to wait for: PLEASE VOTE TO ACQUIT!

  7. independent says:

    How does one even begin to digest these lies and propaganda by the TNT,
    oh thats right you can’t you just throw up…
    If any group was interested in making our highway’s safer they would simply monitor the parking lots of bars and cocktail lounges for the next drunk ready to drive and kill period. And wow just look at those statistics of all those killed on the highway by cannabis impaired drivers oops thats right there are no statistics concerning cannabis only impaired drivers Hmmmm…
    If a recreational user is able to get a medical card to afford themself more protection from an unjust prohibition of cannabis then more power to them.
    Fact is cannabis is one of the safest and positive substances on the planet.
    Whether a person uses it medicinally, recreationally, spiritually, or all of the above should be an individual choice and a guaranteed freedom that has been for too long prohibited.
    When Corporations continue to control our government, and through that control our lives and personal choices we are not and never will be of the people by the people for the people…
    legislation bought and paid for is a crime and a shame to our constitution and its original intent.
    A simple look at history and the groups behind prohibition of cannabis is all an educated person needs to see the truth.
    Our government should be held accountable for willful ignorance and taking part in organized crime by selling our lawmaking process to the highest bidders.
    The crime of special interest buying a politician for their own agendas all in the name of political campaign fund raising is an insult and a joke that holds no humor for the everyday American who is constantly compromised by this process.
    We live in an illusion of democracy while those at the top continue to erode our constitution and devalue our planet and people.
    I try to imagine what it would feel like to be one of these creatures such as the editorial board of the TNT. You know the kind of human that has no conscience…
    The kind of human who uses no common sense and pretends as if there is not a history of cannabis and the plot behind prohibition to remove the threat of indusrial hemp…
    The kind of person who ignores all of this for their own personal agenda…
    The kind of people who would take this stance knowingly as cannabis loving people are persecuted, prosecuted, and jailed for the greed and control, and profit of others.
    How do these people reconcile their conscience they can’t they just do not have one apparently.
    The cannabis and hemp industry will become completely legal lets not fool ourself, it will be federally legal as soon as all the prep work is finished for handing it over to big business…
    That truely will be the crime of the century!

  8. independent says:

    I am posting now a public record from Congress 1937 this was used to fuel prohibition of cannabis, this is I repeat PUBLIC RECORD
    For all of you on the editorial board this is what you stand for when you support cannabis prohibition and if you censor this post you are exactly what i accuse you of in my previous post deliberate and intenionally misleading your readers and spreading lies and propaganda!

    Let’s hear from the man most responsible for outlawing cannabis, Harry J. Anslinger, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, in testimony before Congress, 1937:
    “Negro entertainers with their jazz and swing music are declared an outgrowth of marihuana use which possesses white women to tap their feet.”
    “Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing.”
    “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
    “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
    “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
    “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
    “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
    “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

    Yes thats right this is what he said, this is what you believe if you believe prohibition is justified….
    Wow do you think anyone today could ever achieve such a prohibisionist law with that kind of testimony?????

  9. independent says:

    And in response to your pharmacy that only sells Xanax comment, why would a profitable business such as a pharmacy only stick to one dangerous drug when there are so so many other profitable dangerous drugs to push also. Millions and billions of dollars for any synthetic concoction that big profitable pharamcuetical companies can push to market legally with their oh so professional dealers like Walgreens and Wal Mart and Bartells and Safeway and Fred Meyer all have pharmacies stocked with everything from opiates, to benzo’s to anti psychotic’s Anti-Depressants and lets not forget the doping of small children with crap like using adult blood pressure medication to treat ADHD gee think ur kid might be a little lethargic and calm if he was taking mega doses of blood pressure meds. yes thats right they are doing that and now giving ant psychotics to Autistic kids not even FDA approved for that use, nor the blood pressure one either parent beware check out what your pediatrician is prescribing if you truely care about you childs health.
    Yes all that while dispensary’s only do focus on one all natural alternative to all these money making options from your friends the BIG PHARMA…
    Gee we are just big fat criminals aren’t we for offering something so safe and effective and for so many things from light anxiety relief to cancer relief and relief for many debilitating auto immune diseases, its a proven anti-siezure, anti-inflamatory, the list is endless and no side effects in most cases totally benificial.
    Is it so hard to imagine that we who use cannabis or help other to use cannabis are not interested in synthetic pharmacueticals that cause other damage when there is a safe all natural alternative that we are more comfortable with, are we some sort of freaks for not embracing the drug store mentality of a different pill for every ailment. Are you saying we would be more respectable if we offered all kinds of other drugs that generally cause more harm than good is that what you are saying????

  10. independent says:

    Calling doctors pot friendly practioners churning out green cards for DRUG SEEKERS…
    Wow are you now saying that anyone who is pot friendly is some sort of sub human?
    What planet do you live on there is a national debate right now with an overwhelming majority in this country that are pot (cannabis) friendly.
    Alcohol is a drug a quite harmful one when used ecessively or for long periods of time.
    Why are you not calling anyone who walks into the store and buys a bottle of liquor a drug seeker in a derogatory fashion as you do cannabis users.
    Studies show cannabis use has no long term negative effects really!
    Nicotine is a drug why do you not call all who purchase a pack of smokes a drug seeker or a deadly drug seeker is even better concerning cigarettes
    Why because those killer drugs are LEGAL and you find that ok while persecuting, insulting, and name calling those of us who simply want to use cannabis and it harms no one and it helps us for our own personal reasons and for that we deserve your diatribe of HATE…
    shame on your kind for this horrid example of what?
    Because we won’t let you dictate our choices or conform to your reasoning of what is right or wrong concerning our own bodies and what we want to put into them.
    One thing is true for sure we who make our own choices for our own personal well being and believe we have a right to control our own choices and we believe all should enjoy this right, we are the righteous!
    You on the other hand have a personal agenda to take a side of a national issue and vilify something for personal gain by appeasing what you believe to be your readers who agree with unrighteous behavior like trying to control others personal choices and freedoms you are not genuine in your position.

  11. independent says:

    Driving while high has been going on for as long as driving while intoxicated on liquor has and that would be probably be since the first automobile…
    The science is not there because there is no measurable number of driving while high related accidents to draw from.
    Driving drunk is easily measured by the sheer number of people causing alcohol related accidents and fatalities annually.
    We have a .08 limit in our state directly related to the statistics that showed even .10 was to much and then lowered to .o8 this 5 nano crap has no basis or justification they are trying to deal with a so far non existent issue how rediculous is that. Wouldent it make sense to build the data set and statistical information first before setting an arbitrary number that could literally ruin peoples lives for a non existent issue like I said before common sense approaches. And if one were to consider the studies that have been done in the UK and here they show out of the gate cannabis influenced drivers were even more catious behinfd the wheel than those with nothing in their system.
    Why do we ignore these studies and facts that have already been done, the one in the UK was published and is a real study….
    You use the word driving while drugged if that be the case then why don’t we have people being hauled in for taking their prescription drugs that straight up have warnings on them for operating a vehicle or machinery where is your big concern for that and why have we not set some arbitrary number for those drugs?
    I’ll tell you why because our government is hypocrites who refuse to offend or impead the sales of their big pharamcuetical friends thats why!!!

  12. independent says:

    Last but not least, the real debate here is so far from the loss of a monopoly are you serious really…
    The drug cartels made rich and powerful during prohibition and this so called waste of a war on drugs are the only monopoly that continues to win with prohibition.
    Anyone who owns a medical cannabis collective who still believes that cannabis should only be for medical purposes and not legalized is as delusional as the crafters of prohibition and the war on drugs themself.
    Any true cannabis or drug reform activist wholely belives in legalization.
    What we do not believe in is bought legislation that will punish the medical users by taxing them out of a way to get the medication they need, ruin thier driving record with ridiculous unfounded blood levels, and would put unwarranted and invasive rules on those who would produce, process or sell the newly legal cannabis.
    It should have no more rigorous regulation than alcohol or tobacco does plain and simple.
    Why should the government still get to use the bullcrap of the schedule to profit especially when it comes to medicinal use patients should be afforded tax free medication and covered medication just like those who purchase pharamceuticals or over the counter prescribed drugs.
    If if they can’t receive that fairness then they should be able to buy it over the counter for the safe and effective all natural herb that it is, not taxed through the roof like a killer drug like cigarettes or the like period reality and truth for once not profit and lies and cheats.

  13. BenLivingston says:

    For those that want to see the DUI issue debated for an hour or more, see the video from the I-502 Seattle City Hall debate:


    The following video features arguments from an I-502 volunteer, and Josh Berman, owner 4Evergreen Group, of the largest medical cannabis authorization clinic in the state.


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