Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: medical marijuana

April
2nd

Despite I-502, illegal pot threatens to undercut legal

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

“Legalize it and tax it,” went the mantra of marijuana advocates trying to mainstream the drug. Washingtonians got the legalization part when they passed Initiative 502; they may not see much of the tax part.

The Liquor Control Board’s new pot consultant, Mark Kleiman, has thrown icy water on giddy projections that the state might collect hundreds of billions of dollars from taxes on legal sales of marijuana.

That’s not likely, Kleiman said, for several reasons. Chief among them is the criminal black market in pot that will continue to lurk in

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Sep.
11th

Yours truly gets dissed by the “No on I-502″ folks

Love it.

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”.
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Sep.
9th

Cannabinoid on the lam in California

Here’s a fascinating Los Angeles Times profile of a “medical marijuana” dealer who’s been driven underground but still likes to live dangerously.

It would be unfair to assume he’s typical of dispensary operators around here. Washington’s medical marijuana regime has cleaner roots than California’s; it was low key and mostly nonprofit until 2009.

In California, as the Times notes, “The medical cannabis trade did not rise from a boardroom meeting when voters passed the medical marijuana initiative Proposition 215 in 1996. It sprouted out of the marijuana networks that already existed, with largely the same growers, middlemen and customers.”

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Sep.
8th

I-502 has flushed out the medical cannabis industry

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

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Aug.
25th

From our U.S. attorney, more flabbiness on pot shops

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington, says marijuana shops shouldn’t operate within 1,000 feet of schools or playgrounds. Naughty, naughty.

One question: What about marijuana shops more than 1,000 feet away from schools and playgrounds? In Western Washington, hundreds of them continue to flip off every law in sight – and their neighbors to boot – while Durkan’s office shows little apparent interest beyond a few token busts.

On paper, Durkan – at the recent behest of Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama – says she won’t tolerate the trafficking of marijuana under the guise of “medicine.” Other U.S. attorneys are walking this talk seriously; they’ve been moving against hundreds of dispensaries in Eastern Washington, California and other states.
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July
26th

Is medical marijuana making us sick? (A psychiatrist’s view)

MANY CLAIMS ABOUT POT’S BENEFICIAL EFFECTS JUST DON’T HOLD UP

By David Sack

The Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, the culmination of years of controversy over the sale of pot here. Meanwhile, in Oakland, a federal crackdown closed the nation’s largest dispensary amid protests and demonstrations. But authorities rarely seem to address the real issue about marijuana in California: Is it good medicine?

Some proponents of medical marijuana argue that pot is “natural” and therefore better, or at least no worse, than legally prescribed drugs, which may be addictive and may carry dangerous side effects. But natural is not the standard for whether a drug is safe and effective.

Marijuana advocates also say that physicians who warn against marijuana merely want to push prescriptions. But just because some doctors practice bad medicine with legal drugs doesn’t make marijuana good medicine. In most cases, it isn’t.

Anyone who wants to get a medical marijuana card knows there are unscrupulous doctors who will give you a recommendation with few questions asked. Without doubt, medical marijuana hands a get-out-of-jail-free card to people who just want to get high. Those who get a card and indulge in the infrequent use of marijuana will probably experience few problems. But the situation is different with chronic marijuana use.

Marijuana acts on cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These receptors, which are the most prevalent in the nervous system, influence just about every bodily function, including memory, attention, disposition, arousal, motivation, perception, appetite and sleep.

Many chronic marijuana users insist that marijuana is not addictive the way alcohol and other drugs are. However, neuroscience, animal studies, clinical reports of withdrawal in humans and epidemiology all show that marijuana is potentially addictive.
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July
11th

Coming soon: The South Tacoma marijuana district

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Take a look at the map to the right.

The dark spots mark properties where “medical marijuana” could be sold under a plan the Tacoma City Council appears ready to approve. There are numerous potential sales sites, especially in South Tacoma.

The dark spots with diagonal stripes mark areas where the marijuana can be grown in collective gardens and sold to anyone with an easy-to-obtain “green card.”

Note the broad grow-and-sell zone running down South Tacoma Way. Few other Washington cities feel the need to accommodate marijuana sales – which are illegal under state and federal law – so the plan promises to turn South Tacoma and the South End into magnets for many of the region’s marijuana seekers. Read more »

April
30th

On cue: Bemoan the bankers’ snub of marijuana merchants

For wounded innocence, the medical marijuana industry brooks no rivals.

In this Seattle Times story, the people who run marijuana dispensaries complain that Washington financial institutions have grown leery of handling their money, reducing them to operating on cash. Banks = bad guys.

It seems the state’s banks are obsessing about a triviality, the fact that selling marijuana is, well, kind of against the law. Against federal law, state law, every law in sight. Seattle and Tacoma may not be interested in enforcing the law, but there’s those nasty feds. Maintaining accounts for pot merchants could get the Justice

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