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After Legalization, What's Next? Attorney Who Helped Free the Weed in Washington State Talks Strategy

An excerpt from the new book, "Legalized It!"

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Bienenstock: Do you think there’s a possibility those rifts can heal?

Holmes: I think that when they see the genuine good that will come as a result of I-502’s passage, it will just be undeniable. Also, this type of opposition is far from uniform. There are a lot of medical marijuana supporters who have been big supporters of mine and want to see I-502 pass. Some of the best dispensaries will be positioned to be among the first licensed retailers, and some very progressive-minded folks in that industry are not part of that loud—and it’s usually loud—opposition. So let’s make sure we don’t paint them all with one broad stroke.

The people that bother me the most, really, are not the reformers opposed to I-502, and not even the traditional opposition among law-enforcement types, but rather the people I know who are interested in progressive government, that care about these issues—but that dismiss marijuana policy with kind of a little giggle and ask me why I would waste my time and political capital on it. The people who still think that it’s not a serious issue.  

That’s where I’ve had to educate some people I thought knew better about the real impact of these laws. That it’s not just an irritation for some people; this is actually doing harm to our country. The War on Drugs has made us the number-one jailer nation on the planet—and all educated and concerned citizens should know that and want to do something about it. And so that they would smirk and say, you know, “Gosh, you just wanna help people get high”—it’s disappointing, because it’s really such high-minded policy that underlies all of this. 

Fortunately, even those types are starting to see that this is a very serious effort, with serious public support. 

Trans High Corp/ High Times, 2012 -- All rights reserved. This excerpt has been published with permission from the author.

David Bienenstock is a writer, editor and digital film director currently employed as the West Coast Editor of High Times magazine. The author of  The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook  (Chronicle Books, 2008) has traveled around the world to write about cannabis sativa, interviewing rock stars, scientists, growers, dealers, prisoners, politicians and philosophers, while covering everything from the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam to the biggest pot fields in Vancouver, Canada. He also directed the best selling marijuana cultivation DVD of all time ( Jorge Cervantes' Ultimate Grow ), and its sequel, shot on location in Spain