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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 11 2012: A news article in the Arizona Republic yesterday stated that 24 doctors issued 80% of all user cards in our state.

    That is not news as everyone knows the doctors to go to for a work excuse, meds, etc ...

    The elephant in the room is still the Feds. They have repeatedly stated that it is against federal law and they will enforce that law. Has Washington received any feedback on that issue?
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      Nov 11 2012: I don't know about Washington, but here in California the feds are using tax loopholes to target the major dispensaries. They are not going after individuals. What I've heard - and this is not first hand, so rumor alert - I've heard that it's not Obama driving this, but other agencies within the Federal government that he has not yet chosen to spend political capital on changing. Post-election, that may or may not change. We'll have to see.

      I agree with you Robert. I think the biggest issue of all here, is the states rights issue. I think this has to end up in the supreme court. As far as I can see, the federal government is clearly violating the constitution here. Not that that's stopped them from violating other constitutional rights in the past.
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      Nov 11 2012: I concur with you Bob, feds will be the issue. I think that in this case though, the feds should take a step back and let it play out in these two states, given the overwhelming evidence against the previous model

      Have you ever looked at the experience in Portugal after the decriminalization of drugs in 2001? Very interesting outcomes

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      Nov 13 2012: In this case the LCB liquor control board has said that they will be working with the federal government to find a way to make the state law compatible with the federal position, I don't know what they have heard from the feds but the seem very confident for a group that was not vocally in favor of the new law that they will work the details out.
      They will be working on details till Dec 2014, and my guess is that the huge tax revenues anticipated and the share of that the feds will see is going to be a part of them working things out. What does anyone know about the production of fuel from cannabis?If we can finally openly grow large crops can we make a profitable desirable replenish able fuel?

      I think that I will look into providing a service for the farmers that provides security and verification of compliance with the rules for Grassp and state law as well as providing reliable witness testimony and risk reduction for insurance companies. It seems like a good rewarding business and it would provide a needed service to the new industry without actually taking the gamble of being involved in the industry.
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        Nov 13 2012: Russell, A Cal responder said that the feds are going thru taxes to stop them, in Arizona we worked with them also and it ended up being we will go after you, it is against fed law.

        I wish you better but do not expect it.

        For the time being I would not work in the industry until all things are settled with the feds and the new laws are written and passed. Someone will have to serve as a test court case. I do not want to enter into that lottery .... probally the only one I would ever win. Not telling you what to do just sayin ...

        Good luck. Bob.

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