Impacts of I-502 on the Horizon?

Washington State is on the verge of becoming the first state in the nation to let adults over 21 buy taxed, inspected marijuana at state-licensed shops. Supporters say passing Initiative 502 on November 6, 2012 could make drug laws more reasonable, prevent thousands of arrests a year, and bring Washington hundreds of millions of dollars to help pay for schools, health care and basic government services.

The initiative would create a system of state-licensed growers, processors and stores, and would impose a 25 percent excise tax at each stage. Adults 21 and over could buy up to an ounce of dried marijuana; one pound of marijuana-infused product in solid form, such as brownies; or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids. The cannabis would be subject to testing to establish its THC content. Sales wouldn’t begin immediately. The state Liquor Control Board would have a year to establish guidelines. Sales wouldn’t begin immediately. The state Liquor Control Board would have a year to establish guidelines.

As most folks know, Marijuana remains illegal under U.S. law, and when state and federal laws conflict, federal law takes precedence. The Justice Department has been non-committal on the subject, but if I-502 passes, many lawyers believe the Department of Justice is likely to try to block the law on the grounds that it frustrates the Controlled Substances Act. That could leave just part of the initiative standing: (1) decriminalization the possession of up to an ounce of pot under state law, with no way to buy it legally, and (2) a driving-under-the-influence standard that opponents consider arbitrarily strict.

If the initiative passes: (1) public use or display of marijuana would be barred, (2) no marijuana facilities could be located near schools, day cares, parks or libraries, (3) employers would still be able to fire workers who test positive for pot, (4) it would remain illegal to privately grow marijuana for recreational use, though medical patients could still grow their own or designate someone to grow it for them, and (5) it would be illegal to drive with more than 5 nanograms of THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, per milliliter of blood, if the driver is over 21; for those under 21, there would be a zero tolerance policy.

As one would expect, some law enforcement agencies have voiced concerns about increasing availability of marijuana, especially for teens, and the difficulty of enforcing the DUI provisions outlined in I-502.

If you or a loved one is faced with a criminal charge (including DUI, Possession of Marijuana or other drug related charges) in Western Washington, you deserve the assistance of a reputable and qualified Seattle DUI attorney who will relentlessly defend your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI lawyer who has an intimate understanding of Washington DUI laws and the legal issues that could win your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI defense attorney who is not afraid to stand up against the prosecution and aggressively fight for your rights and interests. SQ Attorneys is the right Western Washington DUI law firm for the job. Call for a free initial consultation – (206) 441.0900 (Seattle); (425) 998-8384 (Eastside) – it will be the best decision you make all day.

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10.0Gregory Wayne Schwesinger
10.0Saad Qamer Qadri