NO ON I-502 Committee
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Sarich – Committee Manager
Opponents of I-502 Fight Back Against Misinformation Campaign by New Approach Washington
The “NO ON I-502” Committee will be holding a press conference to clarify, once and for all, our opposition to I-502 and to debunk the propaganda from NAW, and some in the press, that we represent some mysterious, greedy group of marijuana business interests that they’ve failed to specifically identify.
In a McCarthy-era style campaign, New Approach Washington is using their vast financial resources, complicit members of the media and influential local political connections to misinform the public regarding the specific issues surrounding our opposition to the initiative.
On September 5th, the Tacoma News Tribune published an editorial entitled “So where is the campaign against legalizing marijuana?” The author, Patrick O’Callahan, complained that “As far as I can tell, there’s little credible opposition to initiative I-502. (I’m not counting the ‘medical marijuana” people-who have a mercenary stake in its defeat-as credible.)” O’Callahan then opined that he could not find any “coherent statewide campaign against I-502” to participate in a scheduled TVW debate sponsored by the newspaper.
Steve Sarich, the official spokesman for the campaign against I-502, commented that: “The staff at TNT apparently didn’t try using Google, since our organization appears on the first screen of a search for “No I-502”. Perhaps they simply decided for themselves that we should not be included in this debate over I-502.”
Again, on September 6th, the League of Women Voters, along with the King County Bar Association, co-sponsored a forum on “legalization and drug policy”. This forum, instead of featuring drug policy generally, was almost exclusively concerned with I-502 and included two prominent I-502 sponsors, John McKay and Dr. Kim Thornburn, but only had Commander Pat Slack of the Snohomish County Drug Task Force to argue the case against the initiative. Despite having contacted the LVW prior to the event, and requesting to be included, the official “NO ON I-502” Committee was not allowed to participate in the “forum”.
During this forum on “legalization and drug policy”, any questions from the audience regarding the DUID issues were intentionally screened out, either by the LWV staff, or by the moderator, Jonathon Martin of the Seattle Times, whose newspaper has publicly endorsed I-502. When there was finally a question asked from the audience regarding the DUID provisions of the bill, the forum was abruptly terminated by the LWV staff running the event.
According to Poppy Sidhu, “NO ON I-502” treasurer, “It was very clear to everyone there that both the LVW and the NAW were determined to prevent the DUID issue from being raised at the forum.”
On September 9th, the Tacoma New Tribune printed another salacious editorial virulently attacking the medical marijuana community, claiming that it’s the “medical marijuana monopoly” in partnership with the “quack” doctors who are fueling the opposition to I-502. They stated that “The real agenda here is not about nanograms – it’s about money. It’s about the loss of monopoly”.
In addition to members of the NO ON I-502 board, speakers at the press conference will include top marijuana attorneys Jeffrey Steinborn, Aaron Pelley and Douglas Hiatt, who will address the facts surrounding both legalization issues, as well as the “Per Se” DUID provisions of I-502 and the dramatic impact this law will have on tens of thousands of voters in Washington State.
According to well-known Seattle defense attorney, Jeffrey Steinborn, “This law will have tragic effects, especially for young people, the poor, and young men of color who are the traditional targets of law enforcement profiling. The patients are protesting because they know that they’ll also be targeted under this initiative.”
NO ON I-502’s Steve Sarich maintains that: “Our opposition to the initiative is primarily focused on the DUID provision of this bill that will criminalize thousands of Washington State medical cannabis patients and young people that are not, by any standard, impaired. Even I-502 sponsors have admitted that the scientific evidence does not support this arbitrary limit and the only reason that this was added was for political, and not public safety, reasons”.
When questioned, former U.S. Attorney and I-502 sponsor, John McKay admitted: “I-502 is not going to move forward, in my view, with the kind of support it’s getting without a provision on driving while impaired and I think that the science is going to have to catch up.”
NO ON I-502’s treasurer, Poppy Sidhu, pointed out that “It’s critical to have definitive science on whether or not impairment can be proven by a specific THC blood level before we start locking people up in this state. Mr. McKay wants to pass this law, for “political reasons”, and then hope that some future scientific study proves that he wasn’t wrong and that innocent people weren’t unjustly convicted. That’s not the way our legal system should work in America.”