Marijuana Legalization Initiatives: We Need Unity, not Infighting

Marijuana Legalization Initiatives: We Need Unity, not Infighting

10 days before election-day. The marijuana legalization initiatives are slipping in the polls; Washington I502 is still ahead, but support is softening; Colorado 64 is in dangerous zone; Oregon Measure 80 is trailing badly. We need a general mobilization of the drug policy reform activists. We need unity, not internal infighting.

I urge the marijuana activists who are OPPOSING the marijuana legalization initiatives in Washington or Colorado to reconsider their position.

Will these initiatives grant all the policies on the activists’ wish list? No, they won’t! But it will be a vast improvement over the existing regulations, which are medical marijuana in both states, just like medical marijuana is an awkward compromise, but that is vastly preferable to prohibition. With the Washington and Colorado initiatives, the medical marijuana will lose the tax-free easy profits it has been enjoying in the legal grey-zone where it has been operating for the past few years. On the other hand, it will reduce the fear of the Feds, the raids in the wee hours of the day, the drug squads knocking down your door in your sleep. It won’t eliminate the threats from the fed, but instead on fighting on your own, the state will fight for the industry, which makes a huge difference.

Yes, the initiatives on the ballot have restrictions that are questionable within the activists’ community. Could the initiatives be less restrictive? For an answer, let’s look at the polls: I502 in Washington is the most restrictive of the three initiatives on the ballot. It is the one with highest polling and the only one with a very good chance of passing. Amendment 64 in Colorado is not as restrictive but is in a thigh race and sagging support as we get closer to election-day. Measure 80 in Oregon, which is the closest to the marijuana activists’ wish-list is trailing badly in the polls and stands little chance of winning.

The lessons we can draw here are quite clear: the general public might be ready for some restrictive form of marijuana legalization under tight control, but is not ready for more lax policies. In particular, the public wants reassurances on protection of minors and driving under the influence. The public wants to make sure that we do not replace bad policies with even worse policies. Last but not least, drug prohibition has been going on for over 100 years, marijuana prohibition for 75 years. For all that time, the public has been bombarded by a constant and sustained barrage of propaganda, depicting drugs in general and marijuana in particular as evil and worse. It will take a long time to undo the effects of a century-long propaganda machine. We need incremental steps to reassure the public that the sky will not fall after marijuana legalization. The public has legitimate concerns about the children and youths and will not accept alternatives that do not restrict underage access. The current medical marijuana laws in California for instance, have provoked serious backlash as dispensaries were popping up all over the place, especially around schools, with hawkers peddling marijuana cards on street corners.

Finally, legislations are not written in stone; they change and evolve, as we are currently witnessing. Alcohol regulations were quite restrictive when prohibition was first lifted, and have become increasingly lenient as time goes by. The same will happen with marijuana regulations if we ever get to the end prohibition.

Bottom line: Do you prefer to fight from a purist, principled position that doesn’t stand the slightest chance of ever winning enough support, or are you ready to settle on a reasonable compromise that can move the debate to the next step?

  • Anon

    This article’s plea and overview is oversimplistic and short-sighted.

    It’s not a matter of strict vs. lax., or purist vs. realistic.

    502 is an absolute piece of shit. Any regular user (and/or medical
    user, especially) WILL have an illegal amount in their system EVERY
    SINGLE TIME they get behind the wheel of their car, even if they haven’t
    consumed any in weeks.

    A DUII will FUCK UP your life really hard and really fast. So every
    single time you go drive somewhere you know your life could be fucked in
    a heartbeat. (Resentful police WILL pull over cars driving away from
    dispensaries, at the very least. You can take that reality to the
    Screw you, whoever botched that shit and then expects us to just ‘take
    one for the team’, living in fear, so that we all can at least have some form of legalization. That price isn’t worth it.

    (Also, if you get into a wreck and you are DUII, YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY AT FAULT. If someone is injured in that wreck, expect a civil lawsuit that will fuck over THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, financially. Think about that. That’s REAL.)

    If these measures fail, blame the fuck-ups who designed them, not
    lack of unity or enthusiasm. I personally would way rather wait a
    little while longer and vote FOR an elegantly written measure, rather than helping birth the turd that 502 is and living with those ridiculously crappy consequences.

    Hell, I have to be honest and suspect that this amateur-hour crap
    (502) is a strong indicator that the cannabis movement doesn’t actually
    have their shit together enough for it to become legal yet, in the big
    picture. It’s like a teenager who needs to prove that they are ready to
    drive by demonstrating resposibility, and if they’re carelessly
    wrecking their bicycle maybe that says something very significant…

    • Trommy

      Try to get your information from someone who isn’t interested in making a fortune selling cannabis illegally. There are a lot of people who don’t want to see this legalized because it will make them have to get a legitimate job.

      • DUI standard applies only to active THC, which drops below 5 ng/mL
      within a matter of hours, not the inactive metabolite carboxy-THC that
      can be detected days, or even weeks, after last use.

      • Guest

        I’m curious Trommy what is your source? The initiative text on this is very high level

    • Bastiat’s Ghost

      lol DUI? really?

      Right now it doesn’t even matter if you are DUI or not. You just go to prison, period, if you have anything on you and anything in your system active or metabolite. Cops plant stuff on people all the time, too. Blood work can be forged. So on and so forth. You are presumed guilty until… well, until not proven innocent, and you can be sued right now as things stand and have your “financial life ruined” (as if you care because you are behind bars for a million years anyway). I will gladly take a financial hit over a prison term, thanks so very much.

      You people who want to keep waiting are as bad as DEA’s top narco enforcers. Worse even, because they distract others from the real issues. Sometimes I wonder if you are in fact paid shills from DEA or Sinaloa. Wouldn’t be the first time…

      I Was a Paid Internet Shill

  • Corey Donahue

    Is US drug prohibition and the consequences of the US drug prohibition a Crime Against Humanity? According to Michelle Alexander, the United States “imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid”. 1966, the UN General Assembly labelled apartheid as a crime against humanity (resolution 2202 A (XXI) of 16 December 1966) and in 1984 the Security Council endorsed this determination (resolution 556 (1984) of 23 October 1984). So if apartheid is a crime against humanity, what is something that is larger then a crime against humanity?

    October 28, 2012 Crazy For Justice International Contact Corey Donahue

    Thursday in Mexico City, Corey Donahue, founder of Crazy for Justice International entered the Embassy of Bolivia in order to seek asylum from the political persecution he faced at the hands of the governments of the United States of America. Corey has been a lifelong cannabis and human rights activist. He has faced arrest many times due to his political belief that the US government’s drug prohibition is a crime against humanity. When reached for comment Corey had this to say, “I have been persecuted many times by the governments of the United States, be it being arrested in the Governor´s office for no offence or being put in jail for possession of less than 1oz of cannabis even though I have a constitutional right to possess 2oz or having a restraining order take out against me not once but four times by members of the government of the State of Colorado and I have had enough I will no longer be persecuted for my political beliefs.¨ In an attached video statement Corey spells out more of his quest for asylum.

    The Bolivian Embassy is working with Corey Donahue on his asylum claim. The government of Bolivia asked for as much detailed proof of political repression at the hands of the Governments of the United States America. If anyone has pictures, videos or verifiable stories of political persecution at the hands of the US governments, especially regarding drug related issues, please email them to Crazy for Justice International at Upon receiving these reports the staff at Crazy for Justice will relay the evidence to the Government of Bolivia as well as other governments and peoples around the world.

    To confirm this story you can call Ricardo Olmos, Encargado De Asuntos Consulares Enbajada De Bo

    • Feek

      The US imprisons people because of an action they knowingly took. Apartheid imprisoned people because of the color of their skin. See the difference?

      Moreover, Merriam-Webster defines “crime against humanity” as:
      “atrocity (as extermination or enslavement) that is directed especially against an entire population or part of a population on specious grounds and without regard to individual guilt or responsibility even on such grounds”

      Every single person imprisoned under the draconian drug laws that we have in this country were done so on a one-by-one basis, with the prosecution sufficiently proving guilt in each case.

      I 100% agree with marijuana legalization and taxation, but let’s not get all sensational when expressing our thoughts, yes?

  • jway

    When it comes to marijuana, the federal government has been hampered by decades of group think. It has insulated its core decision-makers with “yes men” until now they genuinely believe that the prohibition causes more good than harm. Unfortunately for all of us, this just isn’t true.

    We need to put the safety of our children FIRST and tell our legislators to legalize marijuana like beer and wine at the federal level.