The Guru of Ganja, Ed Rosenthal, isn’t convinced Washington state legalized marijuana. “Don’t let anyone say this is legalization. Nothing is legal except possession of under an ounce of store-bought marijuana,” the long time activist writes in a recent blog post criticizing the state’s 2012 legalization initiative after returning from the most disappointing Hempest yet. Instead of enjoying marijuana openly at the popular annual Seattle event, Rosenthal noticed that attendees were too afraid to smoke in public.
Why? Because in Washington State smoking marijuana in public is a misdemeanor. Possession of 28 grams is legal, but possession of 29 is a crime. Possessing 40 grams or more is considered a felony and so is growing your own weed in your own backyard. Now does this sound like legalization to you?
It gets worse. “The state commission is trying to eliminate medical marijuana as a separate category, Rosenthal tells us. That means patients will be subject to the same exorbitant taxe rate as recreational users,” he says. Another major flaw of I-502? Driving with a minimum amount of non-intoxicating analog in blood results in a DUI. Rosenthal calls this the “Chauffer Employment Act” because there’s not a stoner in Washington who smokes weed everyday that could pass the blood test.
According to Rosenthal, Washington’s I-502 is awful, stinks of pork juice and actually worsens the situation of the average Washington State marijuana user. “This is why marijuana users should never vote for a bill that prosecutors and cops like—it’s just not in their interest,” he says.
Rosenthal believe it’s up to stoners—the people who have a stake in this issue to create a realistic, workable bill in California that protects the interests of the people—whether or not they smoke weed.
Introducing the Marijuana Initiative Bill of Rights—Rosenthal’s proposed template for the 2016 California Initiative and other state’s looking to legalize.
1.) All current marijuana laws prohibiting possession, use, sales and production shall be repealed and this law will replace them.
2.) Cannabis will be placed under civil authority and regulation. Criminal penalties will apply only to a limited number of activities.
3.) All residents shall have the right to grow their own marijuana and to share it with family and friends.
4.) Medical marijuana shall be manufactured and provided separately than adult-use and a marijuana recommendation shall be treated as a prescription by the state. Medical dispensaries will be permitted in all jurisdictions.
5.) Adult-use stores shall be allowed on a county and city basis. They will be prohibited only by a vote of the people to prohibit them.
6.) Manufacture and processing shall be permitted in all cities and counties, and licenses to do so shall be granted when the zoning and appropriate permits are secured. These permits and the zoning laws shall not be designed to restrict the opening or continued existence of these enterprises.
7.) Adult use shall be permitted on private premises at the owner’s discretion; “public” smoking bans may apply to streets and other public property.
In 1972 the first California Marijuana Initiative proclaimed as its goal, FREE, LEGAL, BACKYARD MARIJUANA—it still rings true!
SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM THE GURU OF GANJA HIMSELF:
In the past, Marijuana Policy Project and Drug Policy Alliance have been very influential in the funding of state marijuana initiatives. If you like the ideas expressed here write to Drug Policy Alliance and Marijuana Policy Project and tell them that you will settle for nothing less. It is important that they understand the opinions of marijuana users who they say they are trying to help.
Here is a sample:
I am a marijuana user concerned about the implications of Washington’s “legalization” law and I don’t want that sort of legalization in [your state]. I want you to know I will not support an initiative, or a politician that supports an initiative, that is not in line with the Marijuana Users Bill of Rights.