To Legalize or to Not Legalize, That is the Question

Legalization of Marijuana? Some are in favor, others not so much. Washington State’s effort is outlined in Initiative 502 (I-502). I-502 would ultimately license and tax a private marijuana industry. Adults over 21 would be allowed 1 ounce of marijuana bought from a licensed store. Users would be allowed to drive with marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, in their blood in amounts less than 5 nanograms per milliliter.

Currently users can buy marijuana at $200 to $300 an ounce, either on the black market or from a medical marijuana dispensary. In either case it is unregulated by the state Liquor Control Board – opponents of I-502 want to keep it that way. Opponents of I-502 have also voiced their concerns about creating a pre-determined DUI standard. It is argued that over time people develop a tolerance to THC and thus THC levels may be over the proposed 5 nanograms limit; the effects of the marijuana are not felt at the 5 nanogram level, and drivers can operate vehicles safely at levels beyond the prescribed 5 nanograms. Currently there is no predetermined level of marijuana intoxication (unlike alcohol related DUI’s, which are set at .08). Prosecutors can only prove Marijuana DUI if they can show the driver was impaired by a “totality of the circumstances”. In other words, it takes more than just showing a person had a certain level of THC in his bloodstream. Under I-502, however, the prosecutor would only need to prove a certain level of THC was in the system (5 nanograms) to warrant a conviction.

On the other side of the bar, Proponents of I-502 and the 5-nanogram standard use political arguments to make their point in support of the initiative. I-502 has tremendous support and has already attracted $1.1 million in private money. The very fact it is on the ballot is telling of what the people want and desire. If I-502 passes, politicians will take notice, particularly if it passes big. In turn more support will develop and perhaps more politicians will take action on behalf of their constituent’s. Of course, the opposite can happen too, and that is the legalizers’ point, our laws should reflect the position of the majority.

If you or a loved one is faced with a Marijuana related offense in Western Washington, you deserve nothing less than the very best representation from a reputable and qualified Seattle criminal attorney who will relentlessly defend your case. You deserve a Seattle criminal lawyer who has an intimate understanding of not only Washington’s criminal laws, but also the legal issues that could win your case. You deserve a Seattle criminal defense lawyer 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 criminal 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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