[Editor’s Note: Article’s Genesis There are potheads who reference Gil Kerlikowske’s push to implement a national 5ng/mL whole blood THC per say DUI threshold, they say he approves of I-502 because it contains a whole blood active THC threshold of 5ng/mL – the Director of the ONDCP is actually pushing for 0ng/mL threshold but that is beside the point. These statements ignore the fact that it is this man’s primary job to maintain marijuana prohibition. That is why I made this graphic and posted it to Facebook. Which, elicited a comment response from Rhone and I feel duty-bound to address these remarks. My blog is a better media to reply than Facebook, and that is why you are now reading this article.]
The Graphic Truth: Gil Wants You
Rhone: “ If I-502 passes it will screw thoes who use medical cannabis and young adults 18 to 21 under a DUI clause it is better to vote no on I-502 its not like 80 in Oregon witch is better written “
Rhone: “5 ng of thc is lower than any patient will have in there blood stream so they will be getting more unjust DUI’s and 18-21 age group falls I’m a zero tolerance meaning 0 ng in there systom so DUI’s and a record that will stay with them the rest of there life causing a whole new problem to deal with maby if you talk to Steve Elliot from Toke of the Town about this he has a lot of info. Reading it in its entirety you’ll see there are clauses that do not favor patients.”
Apologies for taking so long to reply, nevertheless, you must forgive me for while I was away trying to medicate to carry on with my day I realized your remarks deserve my full attention.
I suffer from persistent and debilitating PTSD, Anger Management and abandonment issues, anxiety, and colitis – none of which qualifies me under Washington’s medical cannabis statutes. I also suffer from other persistent and debilitating conditions such as chronic pain from multiple spinal and skeletal injuries (I think the persons who jumped me twice in one night broke my back and ribs), wasting, and appetite loss. All which are covered under Washington’s qualifying conditions (as long as you don’t respond to conventional pharmaceutical treatments, and or your doctor is not a dick, then you get denied the tamper-resistant paper you use in court to prove legal standing as one of the eligible sick in a Washington courthouse).
Granted, as a tangent, none this matters because I am not a resident of Washington State, which means I cannot seek refuge under the tattered tarp of Washington’s medical cannabis laws. Nevertheless, when this initiative passes a month later any trips made by out-of-state patients and recreational consumers to Washington’s Seattle Hempfest, other rallies, smoke-ins, concerts, and plethora of other reasons to visit will do so with either substantially less legal risks or no legal risks at all under the protection of this beacon of legalization, I-502.
Enough about me let us delve into your comments. I will speak to both simultaneously and in the order that best facilitates conveying the thoughts that reading your observations stirred within my mind.
Minors and the .00ng’s
The proposed revision to 46.61.503 “Driving under twenty-one consuming alcohol – penalties” implementing a .00 ng/mL thru 4.99ng/ml whole blood active THC limit is a stringent restriction set forth for minors utilizing their driving privilege; this is a fact (1). Here, for you to mull over, are some additional facts.
Violation of this statute is a misdemeanor (1) and additions to this law provide an affirmative defense for minors testing positive for active THC metabolites (1). This initiative also protects minors who would currently test positive for cannabis hours, days, and weeks after consuming due to the current language of RCW Section 46.61.502 “Driving under the influence”, which currently allows prosecutors to charge minors with DUI for any amount of cannabinoids (2) found in their system. The language of the current DUI law states, “any drug” found in a drivers system indicates impairment which is enough evidence to convict a defendant (2). This includes any amount of the plants metabolites found in a minors system regardless of whether it is active or inactive THC (2). Albeit, this is a gross misdemeanor, unless the youth is reckless and receives four or more convictions over the course of ten years then the violation becomes a class C felony (2). Additionally, any minor who tests at or above the 5ng/mL whole blood active THC after I-502’s passage receives the same protections as adults under the new law that includes affirmative defense (2).
However, let us not forget. We are talking about a measured step of legalization for adults twenty-one and older who currently get thrown into jail and prison for possessing any amount of 1oz of marijuana, 16oz of marijuana infused food product, and 72oz of liquid infused products that I-502 legalizes (3).
Moving along I will now address your other points.
Playing the Patients Card
Unfortunately, my friend, you played the “patients” card. I was willing to let the “What about the children?” card pass with minimal objection but then you pulled out that card and I am not letting that shit slide. In fact, I am calling bullshit, total bullshit!
Compared to the number of people who unlawfully medicate and those who choose not to break the law to medicate to the actual number of people this word “patients” legally represents it is a small quantity of individuals provided relatively few legal protections from criminal penalties. Subsequently, examination of this term reveals its true nature, propaganda intended to misrepresent and malign I-502 by ganja entrepreneurs within the medical marijuana industry who out of fear of losing future profits vehemently oppose this initiative. Let us now look at Washington’s medical cannabis laws to determine whom this term specifically denotes when opponents play this card.
The individual must first be a “qualifying patient” (4) who suffers from one more of the following “terminal or debilitating condition[s]” (5).
(a) Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders; or (5)
(b) Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications; or (5)
(c) Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications; or (5)
(d) Crohn’s disease with debilitating symptoms unrelieved by standard treatments or medications; or (5)
(e) Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments or medications; or (5)
(f) Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications (5)
Only persons afflicted with sever and fatal cases of these diseases and illnesses can currently become recommended by licensed medical personnel to use marijuana – without arrest protection – who are the actual persons referenced when opponents use this phrase. Although, it is more accurate to call these persons qualifying, recommended, quasi-legal patients when specifically discussing this initiative.
Now I turn my attention to Washington’s citizens ignored by these statements. I will begin by examining the situations they face and the definitions of these statutes to reveal some of the other cracks and flaws inherent in the state’s current laws.
This limited number of legislatively approved illnesses forces many sick people unable to attain tamper-proof recommendations from health care providers onto the illicit market to attain medication exposing the ineligibly ill to arrest and prosecution. Similarly, it overlooks a large number of the non-qualifying folks who choose not to take the legal risks to consume this herb to treat their ailments. Another major difficulty facing these individuals whose ailments meet the States requirements is the majority of these maladies must fail to respond to conventional FDA approved pharmaceutical treatments making marijuana a last resort treatment option. This is further complicated because doctors are not legal bound to fill out an authorization, leaving it up the medical professionals discretion to sign the document. Moreover, it is best that medical records of these folks reflect this “last resort need” for use as evidence in their defense in the event police charge and or arrest a qualifying, recommended, quasi-legal patient for breaking recreational marijuana laws and prosecutors take the newly created criminal defendant to trial.
Individuals also require health insurance and the finances to visit a “health care professional” (6) to pursue, with most qualifying illnesses, conventional therapies before receiving their recommendations – this process can take months or years away from the healing process, managing the patients malady, and possibly their life. As previously stated, signing the tamperproof paper for their client is entirely up to the discretion of the patient’s health care professional – nothing in the law mandates a doctor write a recommendation. This “taper resistant paper” (7) is the only proof the person possess to show they are legally able to possess cannabis when confronted by law enforcement. In addition, and as mentioned previously, it is up to the officer’s discretion to charge them with a crime or let them slide with the proper paper work.
Now, as it is relevant to the overall discussion, I explore the situations facing these authorized folks once they have attained their recommendation.
After achieving this standing, the patients can then proceed to grow their own herbs. That is if they can manage to pay for the setup costs of gardening and enjoy the skillsets necessary to grow medicinal grades of the plant in the quantities needed to treat the individuals’ illnesses. If not these persons must now seek out a “designated provider” (8) to grow the medication and or produce any refined cannabinoid extracts as well as any food and or liquid products. These designated providers are limited to one eligible sufferer per fifteen-day period, meaning any problems with this provider can leave these people without legal access to their medicine for an indefinite period.
Unless of course they choose the next option, if the qualifying, recommended, quasi-legal patient can afford the marked up prices, is to “donate” (9) to a quasi-legal collective. These businesses take advantage of lax enforcement of the laws allowing for “collective gardens” (10) within jurisdictions that permit this liberal interpretation of collective gardens turned into nonprofit revenue streams for renegade growers, processors, distributors, and vendors.
The next option for the qualifying, recommended, quasi-legal patient is, if they choose the Wild West outlaw approach and can afford the costs, illegally purchasing medication (9) from an unlawfully operated business called a dispensary (11) by outlaw growers, processors, distributors, and vendors. There are no state regulations permitting these businesses and consequently they are subject to legal preemption, forfeiture, and the full weight of the mighty iron fists of both state and federal governments.
I-502 changes none of the wholly inept and inadequate medical cannabis laws of Washington State; again, the authors wrote this initiative to re-establish part of the adult recreational marijuana consumers’ human right to stay out of a cage. It just so happens that many sick people not currently offered the few statutory protections of the qualifying, recommended, quasi-legal patients will also benefit from its passage.
Therefore, the blanket use of the term “patients” obscures the fact that many people would utilize marijuana but do not take the risk to purchase it on the illicit market and that many folks utilizing it risk their freedom to purchase their medication. The most egregious insult is using this term “patients” to defame the initiative ignores these people’s plights and the positive impacts passaging this first step in legalization will have for these abandoned beings.
The Forgotten Patients
Speaking of the marginalized sick not covered under Chapter 69.51A Medical Cannabis; let us look at two of the ways I-502 positively affects these people.
First, all adult out of state medicinal marijuana consumers visiting Washington and all adult in state illicit and non-practicing patients will no longer face arrest and felony charges for possessing up to 1 oz. of marijuana, 16 oz. of infused food, and 72 oz. of liquid infused marijuana products. Second, these same people also receive safeguards from the draconian “DUI” laws – with protections added in for minors from the “Driving under twenty-one consuming alcohol – penalties” statute – that currently convict people for any amount of active THC or inactive THC metabolites in their system.
These two truths are major accomplishments that this initiative’s passing achieves at the state level for the disregarded sick of Washington while at the same time it accomplishes its primary goal of establishing legal protections that begin re-establishing the human right of all adults’ twenty-one and older in Washington to consume cannabis free of legal repercussions.
After examining the reality that I-502 benefits these forgotten patients and healthy people who can and do end up in courts and languish behind the bars of this draconian system to this deceptive term “patients” used merely to win political victory exposes these statements for what they are, destructive, divisive, and despicable tools of propagandists and prohibitionists.
Looking at I-502 in its proper context this initiative is a great first step in the process of ending these failed policies in Washington State. The actions taken now will lead to the toppling of the federal and state walls of prohibition imprisoning all lives of Americans. Additionally, these forward movements will help lead to global repeal of cannabis prohibition bringing about a bright new future for all humanity and the world.
The Graphic Truth: Table Of Patients
The following graphic is a simple visual representation to help you understand the challenges in legally attaining medical cannabis for patients within Washington.
1. RCW 46.61.503 Driving under twenty-one consuming alcohol – penalties (I-502 Bookmarked PDF Pages 58-59)
9. How do I get medical marijuana (cannabis)? Can I buy it? “The law allows a qualifying patient or designated provider to grow medical marijuana (cannabis). It is not legal to buy or sell it.”
11. “Dispensaries” Washington State Department of Health Medical Cannabis FAQ Are dispensaries legal? “No. The law does not allow dispensaries. The law only allows qualifying patients and designated providers to possess medical marijuana; the new law allows qualifying patients and designated providers to participate in collective gardens.”
- Did the Medical-Marijuana Industry Go Too Far Campaigning Against Pot Legalization Initiative 502 at Hempfest this Weekend? (slog.thestranger.com)
- Why I’m Voting For I-502 (Warts and All) (horsesass.org)
- I-502 Opponents Break Out the Clown Shoes (horsesass.org)
- I-502, marijuana is the new hemp, and the facts with a side order of opinion. (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)
- I-502, legalization, Class C felony amounts permitted, and the facts with a dash of opinion. (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)
- I-502, driving is a privilege not a right, and the facts with a dash of opinion. (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)
- I-502, driving under the influence, and the facts with a dash of opinion. (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)
- Is No on I-502’s “Important Resources” webpage an honest mistake or a blatant lie? (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)