Is I-502 a trick or treat for voters and patients?

By John Novak

As people across  state of Washington celebrate Halloween, we would like to take time to reflect on I-502.  Has it been a trick or a treat for voters, taxpayers and medical patients since the initiative passed in 2012?

With more than 40% of the state’s cities banning the businesses, it looks like the voters in those areas without stores have been tricked.

However,  consumers in areas that have allowed stores to open have also been tricked into paying huge prices on miniscule amounts of product.

While cannabis prices have remained at a steady average of $10 per gram in both the medical and black market since like 1985, it’s at least double that, if not more, in the I-502 stores.  Quality is suspect, as is consistency.

For now, the campaign promise of reducing the black market have been a trick.

Have promises by the main sponsors been fulfilled?

Tax revenue from I-502 was promised to be in the hundreds of millions.  Stores were opened earlier this summer and as of early October, the total amount to the state was $3.5 Million.  Nowhere near the projected amount.

So what are the positive things about I-502?

Some jurisdictions have seen a decrease in marijuana arrests.  It hasn’t stopped the racial profiling, as Seattle found out when a single officer accounted for the vast majority of tickets handed out to mainly people of color for “public display”.

About the only other thing we can think of is it has helped spark new conversations at the national level.  And that has been a treat since now more states are now jumping on the bandwagon.

Sponsors of the initiative said this would happen if passed, even if the language was flawed.  And they readily admitted the flaws. The mantra became, “pass it now, fix it later”.

That was nothing more than a trick as nothing has been done to fix it is since it passed. They knew the taxes were too high.  Once it passed, the sponsors disappeared into the night like kid who got his candy and is off to the next handout down the road.

More importantly, They knew it would threaten he rights of medical patients, even though they claimed publicly it would be a treat for us.  In fact, the patients were told to roll over and die and take one for the team.

Since passing, law enforcement and the legislators, with the help of the media, have launched an all out assault to completely discredit and dismantle nearly everything in our medical cannabis laws.

They blame the medical community for undermining the recreational stores by selling cannabis at $10 per gram.  A neat trick to avoid the obvious: an overtaxed and over regulated I-502 model will never be able to beat that price.  Especially when the IRS adds in their take.

They say most of the patients are fake, claiming upwards of 90% don’t have qualifying conditions in spite of the glaring fact that not a single credible shred of evidence has ever been submitted to back up this claim.

With all this trickery going on, perhaps the most obvious glaring hole in the entire plan has been the use of the term “legal”.

While the complaints about medical undermining recreational, this has been a trick to convince people that I-502 is somehow more legal in the eyes of the federal government.

Well, the trick is, they are no more legal in the eyes of federal law than they were before I-502 was passed.

When the feds released their guidelines for state regarding cannabis regulations (remember the Cole Memo?), the last paragraph was largely ignored:  Cannabis is illegal and we will come after you at any time and you have zero defense against us doing so.

It is well past time in the state for patients to start being treated with dignity and compassion.  Not tricked into giving up hard won rights to use cannabis to treat our medical conditions.

Both the state and federal government must end this trick or treat politics on cannabis.

By the way, did you know the federal government owns patents on the medical use of cannabis and has been sending out tins filled with joints to a small group of patients?

Trick or treat, America!

UPDATE:  Just moments after writing this article, the Associated Press released a story about how the WSLCB broke the Open Public Meetings Act 17 times.  See the story on KOMO 4 News:

Also at with links to relevant documents

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