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Marijuana Legalization Initiative Loss in Oregon Was Avoidable

Washington and Colorado brought home the bacon for the drug reform movement... but Oregon was a lost opportunity worth revisiting.

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▪ Be cautious when driving with any amount of cannabis on your person, even if it’s under an ounce. Possessing even a gram is enough probable cause for an officer to search you, and test your blood.

▪ Understand that even if you consumed cannabis days ago, you may not be safe, and should take these precautions. Active THC lingers in the body for days, and we have no home test for individuals to determine if they’re below 5ng/ml before they drive.

Sensible Washington will work vigorously on making a change to this policy. The Legislature can’t alter it with a majority vote for two years (though they can with a two-thirds majority vote), but we will lobby our state’s house and senate to try and build support for a repeal of this mandate.

The Washington state legislature has more than a year to work out the mechanics of production and distribution through a network of state-run stores. The right to possess an ounce or less of marijuana takes effect December 6 of this year, as does per se DUI. Prosecutors in several counties dropped misdemeanor possession the day after the election. Alison Holcomb told the media she was “incredibly moved” by the gesture and that it took “incredible courage.” Lawrence O’Donnell quoted her approvingly on MSNBC on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

The next night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow displayed and read aloud tidbits from a webpage the Seattle Police Department had created to answer questions concerning I-502. The subtext of all this love from MSNBC is that the system works after all, democracy abides. Rachel made no reference to the role that money played in getting a law passed in Washington and a law tripped up in Oregon.

 

Fred Gardner is managing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s, the journal of cannabis in clinical practice. He can be reached at editor@beyondthc.com

 
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