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Medical marijuana users push for arrest, driving protections on ballot

Post by Alexis Krell / The News Tribune on Jan. 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
January 6, 2012 2:08 pm

Arrest and driving protection for Washington medical marijuana users is the goal of a ballot initiative filed with the state this morning.

Currently called the Washington State Safe Cannabis Act 2012, supporters say the measure aims to protect medical marijuana patients from being arrested for using the drug.

They say medical marijuana use is currently an affirmative defense for patients in court, but that this doesn’t prevent patients from arrest and legal battles related to the drug.

Mimi Meiwes, an author of the initiative, says the group has serious concerns about driving limitations for users proposed in I-502, a different initiative filed last week that would legalize recreational marijuana use.

502 suggests a 5 nanogram limit for THC blood levels for drivers 21 and older, which medical marijuana users say doesn’t accurately define impairment and would take away their driving freedoms.

Meiwes says her initiative would prevent the use of THC blood levels to judge impairment.

She added that it also distinguishes between marijuana and hemp plants, which would allow Washington farms to grow hemp — a product used for its fiber that contains lower levels of THC.

Supporters must wait for the proposal to be reviewed and assigned a number, which should take several weeks, before collecting signatures in favor of putting the measure on the November ballot.

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