I-502 in Washington State gets $1.25 Million in New Donations
Initiative 502, the marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot in Washington State this fall will be able to buy a major TV ad campaign for the measure thanks to some $1.25 million in new donations, including a $450,000 donation from Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis.
The donations will buy a $1 million TV-ad blitz in August, before other campaigns saturate the airwaves, according to I-502 campaign manager Alison Holcomb.
I-502 would legalize possession and sale of up to 1 ounce of marijuana. It would impose up to a 75 percent excise tax on marijuana and cannabis-infused products at new state-licensed marijuana stores, and would allow state-regulated grow farms to operate.
Some oppose I-502 because of the excise tax.
The excise taxes imposed by I-502 would dramatically increase costs on patients, says Philip Dawdy, who is organizing opposition to the measure, but is someone who has previously fought for marijuana law reform in the state.
"I-502 made a serious miscalculation," said Dawdy. "They calculated that getting the votes of soccer moms were more important than medical-marijuana patients."
While legalization and regulation are sure to bring down the inflated prohibition-era price of marijuana, some states surrounding Washington will still have the marijuana black market in place and thriving, and those markets will get some supply from legal Washington cannabis, keeping prices artificially high. A 75% increase on top of this for taxes could indeed make marijuana even more expensive than it is now.
In which case, the black market will survive in Washington as well, as drug dealers will be able to sell marijuana cheaper, without the tax.
Others donating to the I-502 campaign include travel guru Rick Steves, who gave $250,000 and who had previously donated $100,000; and the ACLU of Washington, who gave $100,000.
Portugals Overwhelming Success with Drug Decriminalization
In 2001 the country of Portugal decriminalized the possession and use of drugs, meaning there is not a legal market for selling drugs, but that law enforcement officials stopped wasting time on arresting drug users.
It’s basically a half way step toward legalization, since the government still doesn’t have regulatory control over the drug market. Drug dealers stay in business, they are just no longer selling to criminals.
When Portugal adopted this position toward drugs 11 years ago, all kinds of doomsday experts came out of the woodwork to say what a disaster it was going to be. As many of you know, it was the opposite of a disaster, with drug addiction rates plummeting and Portugal having one of the lowest rates of drug use in the European Union.
This is because people don’t base their drug use decisions on laws, but on personal preference. If the U.S. Congress, The President and all the states agreed tomorrow to make drugs decriminalized, how many of you would run out and try some crack or heroin? Are you not hitting a crack pipe right now because it’s illegal, or because you don’t want to smoke crack?
White House: No marijuana for PTSD
Marijuana Kills Again
A mother in Washington State is searching for answers; answers to why her 22 year-old son is dead after turning himself in for a probation violation stemming from the possession of a small amount of marijuana.
Rose Saffioti says her son suffered from extreme allergies – which the police were aware of since they had a note from his doctor detailing his needs.
“I feel I owe it to Michael to learn what went wrong,” she says. “It was only going to be a couple of days.”
Rose has hired a lawyer and is hoping that other inmates saw what happened and might shed light on what led to her son’s death on July 3rd.
Michael Saffioti worried his entire, short life about his allergies. One day in jail and he is dead. All because he was caught with a small amount of marijuana about a year ago. He then missed a court date, leading to his turning himself into the authorities.
Imagine a world where people who have a small amount of marijuana are treated like the human beings they are. They don’t have to fear what might happen to them in jail because it’s silly to put people in jail for having plant matter on their person.
Pro-Medical Marijuana Judge in NY Dies of Cancer
Brooklyn judge Gustin Reichbach passed away this weekend due to stage 3 pancreatic cancer. A couple months ago he wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times expressing his support for medical marijuana, which he used illegally to alleviate his suffering.
"My survival has demanded an enormous price, including months of chemotherapy, radiation hell and brutal surgery... Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep," Reichback wrote. “Given my position as a sitting judge still hearing cases, well-meaning friends question the wisdom of my coming out on this issue. But I recognize that fellow cancer sufferers may be unable, for a host of reasons, to give voice to our plight. It is another heartbreaking aporia in the world of cancer that the one drug that gives relief without deleterious side effects remains classified as a narcotic with no medicinal value.
“Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease. I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year. Medical science has not yet found a cure, but it is barbaric to deny us access to one substance that has proved to ameliorate our suffering.”
Under federal and NY state law, Judge Reichbach was a criminal. But what is criminal about sick people choosing what they ingest in their body? Fortunately he was never disciplined for his marijuana use, but that’s a right that belongs to every adult. Cannabis users aren’t hurting anyone, and neither was Judge Reichbach.
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