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Is I-502 Better Than The Marijuana Law We Have Now?

Posted on  October 31, 2012 by  News Admin

  By Troy Barber Sensible Washington If I-502 -- on the November general election ballot -- passes, national headlines will read "Washington State Legalizes Marijuana!" This is what national marijuana law reform groups have been dreaming of for more than 40 years. The practical application of the law, however, will be something very different, the end results could yield some very negative impacts, and all the headlines would be for naught. I-502 is not legalization; it is decriminalization. The language creates a narrow exception for the right to possess limited amounts of marijuana or cannabis-infused foods and beverages. The tax-and-regulate portions conflict with federal law and are likely to be preempted. This will leave no legal production or retail sale of product for consumers, leaving illegal markets to fill new demand. Current marijuana laws in Washington State treat possession of less than 40 grams as a misdemeanor. In many simple possession cases, a first offense may be deferred, leaving no criminal record, or carries a mandatory minimum penalty of one day in jail and a $250 fine. I-502 only protects people from arrest for possession for up to 28 grams -- it does not allow non-medical home grows, nor does it remove any of the civil or criminal penalties from the state code. Any violation outside their narrow exceptions are fully prosecutable under state law as it currently exists. I-502 creates new limits for driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC, more commonly known as DUID, or "drugged driving"). These...