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russell lester

Orchardist, Grange

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Debate: Washington state's legalization of marijuana

Yesterday in WA state I-502 was passed. What are the pros and cons as you see them of this act? What should the federal government do?

In plain language, here is what Initiative 502 will do:

This law legalizes the possession of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. The only marijuana that would be legal to sell in this state would be grown by specially-licensed Washington farmers and sold in standalone, marijuana-only stores operated by private Washington businesses licensed and regulated by the state. There would be a 25% sales tax, with 40% of the new revenues going to the state general fund and local budgets, and the remainder dedicated to substance-abuse prevention, research, education and health care. Advertising would be restricted. A new marijuana DUI standard that operates like the alcohol DUI standard would be established.


Closing Statement from russell lester

So far the biggest change I have personally seen is that their are more people open about their use of pot, and to tell the truth a general improvement in mood and communication. Some of my friends have reacted with a powerful pro democracy sentiment that was absent in them prior to the passage by this state of legal recreational pot use and gay marriage, a strong identification with Washington State and unprecedented loyalty to the state. There remains a lot of curiosity as to the Federal response and to the longer term effects. What if for example this has the unintended consequence of affecting the federal supremacy of law? I am very grateful to all who contributed and read this conversation thank you.

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    Nov 10 2012: During a plane ride I was on shortly after California legalized cannabis, I happened to sit next to an executive of a major pharmaceutical, who will remain nameless. He told me that they had plans "on the shelf" to deploy high quality cannabis as an over the counter medication that anyone could pick up. Of course, being a pharma, it would be all processed and pill form, and that's a whole other issue. But I thought that was fascinating, and I wonder how that would play in the whole larger market.

    One of the amazing things about Cannabis is that it is extra-ordinarily cheap and easy (and fun) to grow large amounts of high quality herb for personal use in your own backyard or inside your closet. I think that's just one of numerous medicinally useful plants that many people could and perhaps should grow themselves.

    Anyone who researches the history of the anti-cannabis movement in the early part of the 20th century will quickly see that it originated from lies and greed. Refer Madness is a classic example of our government lies and propaganda machine focused on its own citizens. It's so farcical that it's actually played as a form of comedy today.

    Our country went through 13 years of the so-called era of "Prohibition" (1920-1933), during which we made alcoholic beverages a crime. Our current era of cannabis prohibition stretches back over 70 years. Being so much longer, it's probably going to harder for society to adjust back to the way things always were before cannabis got banned in the first place.
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      Nov 10 2012: How would this scenario take you. In the morning you get up, put the coffee on, smell the rich aroma wafting up and then load the shot inhaler with a spot or decide to take it old style and smoke it, i had guys work for me who, if they smoked gave more of themselves than they would if they didn't but the reality is is that the majority loses focus while on the job and red eyed guys while on site doesn't sit well with the clients. I used to be a social smoker until i realized i was getting to the point where i was going out and actually looking for it, I'm not against it but let's hope that the law states that it can only be used within your domicile only.
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        Nov 11 2012: I just read a story on Yahoo news that was a Q and A about the law that just passed in Washington State. The law is evidently that an employer who learns that you are a user of marijuana CAN still fire you, even if the drug is legal.

        Beyond this, just as a workplace does not need to allow tobacco smoking on site, a workplace obviously would not need to allow marijuana smoking on site.

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        Nov 11 2012: I think some people will use any drug as a way to check out to avoid a deeper pain in their lives. Others can handle it. Yet others get a true medicinal value from it. Whether it was pot or something else, I think some people will find anything to abuse and then they check out. They would likely become psychologically addicted, as they would to whatever they were using to numb a personal pain.

        Certainly many people do this with alcohol. To modify your scenario, there are real people who will put the coffee on and have a bloody mary while they're waiting.

        And even more will have those multiple cigarettes in the morning. We know that this kills hundreds of thousands of people a year. Statistically, you are more likely to have an employee that is addicted to cigarettes and then gets cancer and dies, or drinks too much after work and then crashes their car into someone else, as opposed to someone who smokes pot and either gives you more or less on the job.

        Comparing cannabis with alcohol and cigarettes, the toll on human life is significantly smaller with cannabis, according to all the available data I've seen. [If anyone has counter evidence I would love to see it!] I think it's hypocritical of us (society/government) to support the two most harmful substances while arresting people for the least most harmful.
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          Nov 12 2012: Those are two very real strong arguments that can't be denied, In my country they are powerful revenue generators for our government, Tax cigarettes and tobacco high and get the spinoff from those that can't give it up. We've allowed alcohol to be sold through small business outlets where we use to only have it sold by Pubs and special outlets, The area of my city where i live voted to keep it under the old system, This may seem strange to some but we don't have alcohol in our supermarkets.

          Drive to another part of our city and you see alcohol outlets on every corner and in every supermarket and now my small country has a drinking problem and our country tried to reform the bill that allowed it but was defeated by the power of the small businesses that the bill created, it was amazing to see my government give in citing how it impinged on the rights of the people to have access to entertainment, there was never ever a cause to stop access just limit the amount of licenses available. This in itself doesn't stop alcoholism but our stats has shown that by allowing alcohol outlets everywhere has shown a marked rise in alcohol consumption and a go-fast drinking culture. I would say Marijuana would be better sold by small business but not in alcohol shops, a limited amount of licenses for special outlets. It will be a great tax revenue source.


          As the Law states, it will free up police resource time.
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      Nov 11 2012: Refer Madness was played as comedy in the 60s as well, wasn't it?

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