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Passing a joint resolution
November 8, 2012 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Voters have made marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington. But what does this mean? Teasing out the subtleties of Washington State's Initiative 502 and Colorado's Amendment 64 will take some time. Here are some clues...

  • Marijuana has been immediately decriminalized in Seattle.
  • The Governor of Colorado is dissuading people from the hasty consumption of Cheetos.
  • The Federal Government, in the form of the Department of Justice, has no additional comment
  • The Governor of Washington State is not taking calls from the Department of Justice.
  • The legislation has troubled bankers, and further legalization could damage the profits of drug cartels by 30%
  • posted by twoleftfeet (130 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

     
    We'll have to see how the Obama administration responds, It depends on whether or not his crackdowns on marijuana were due to concerns over re-election or sincerely held. Given his, er, personal history, it didn't seem to be based on principle. Hopefully he'll go back to his original positions on this, like he did with Gay Marriage.
    posted by delmoi at 8:34 PM on November 8, 2012


    thank you for making this post. I don't understand why the govt would rather spend money to fight marijuana than make money on taxing it. well, other than justifying the increase of surveillance and enforcement of punitive drug laws on minorities..

    it's a rational response to the ridiculousness of the war on drugs. and maybe there's going to be a hesitation on the part of business after the dramatic reversal of the medical marijuana experiment in California. the same disconnect between state/federal is still there, and basically saying it is full on legal without the pretense of having to see a doctor, who will not deny you the rx anyways, is potentially a more provocative move.

    but this is rational progress. prohibition clearly isn't working, let's try something else.
    posted by ninjew at 8:39 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Interesting limits for possession in Washington state: 1 ounce of pot, 1 lb of edibles or 72 ounces of "liquid tinctures or cannabis oils." Unless the definition of cannabis oil has changed greatly in the last ten years, 72 ounces is an absurd amount to possess - legally or otherwise. I'm not complaining, I'm just trying to imagine my 20 year old self with a two liter pop bottle of hash oil.
    posted by Lorin at 8:42 PM on November 8, 2012 [20 favorites]


    Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has already decided that the 10th Amendment doesn't apply.

    If the MJ is grown in Washington, sold there, and consumed there, and never comes near a state border, it's still "interstate commerce" and the Feds have jurisdiction.
    posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:43 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    If the US Attorneys for WA and CO are like Laura Duffy, it will be hard to legally buy marijuana. She has been pretty successful in shutting down every dispensary in San Diego County.
    posted by birdherder at 8:44 PM on November 8, 2012


    Feds do have jurisdiction, but the vast majority of marijuana arrests are done by local police, probably pulling people over and searching their cars, or doing under cover arrests of local dealers (I guess?)

    So is the federal DEA going to start putting cruisers on the street trying to pull people over and look for weed? Are they going to do stings against people on craigslist? Probably not.

    Major operations might go down, but individuals growing reasonable amounts of weed in their homes for handfuls of people probably have nothing to worry about.
    posted by delmoi at 8:47 PM on November 8, 2012


    The toothpaste is out of the tube. It's a slow slog towards universal acceptance now.
    posted by basicchannel at 8:48 PM on November 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


    Legalizing possession is a good first step. And access isn't generally an issue in the Pacific Northwest. But birdherder is right: the USAG, in California anyway, has pretty much exclusively been targeting growers (legally or otherwise) for prosecution, not so much with the users (unless they coincide with the former).
    posted by Brak at 8:49 PM on November 8, 2012


    Interesting difference between the laws: Colorado allows individuals to grow themselves, up to six plants I think. WA doesn't allow this. Marijuana growing will be a state-licensed and taxed activity, not something private citizens can legally do for their own private use. WA recently rid itself of state-controlled liquor stores, but this new law will put in place state-controlled pot stores.

    So as of Dec 6, it will be legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in WA, but there will still be no legal way to obtain such a thing.
    posted by hippybear at 8:49 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


    The toothpaste is out of the tube. It's a slow slog towards universal acceptance now.

    I don't think it'll be so slow. I honestly expect this to be faster than the gay marriage reversal.
    posted by downing street memo at 8:50 PM on November 8, 2012


    I have sort of been assuming the feds are going to come down on this like a ton of lead bricks, but it's still hard not to feel somewhere in the neighborhood of jubilant about it. It's a serious gesture in the direction of sanity. It feels like the entire drug war is a lot more up for rational discussion than it was a week ago. I've seldom felt so good about a vote.
    posted by brennen at 8:50 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    The faster that America abandons the ghost of Richard Nixon, the better. We should have never declared the War on Drugs. Think of it: a war on plants, a war on chemicals, a war on altered states of mind -- an excuse for a "war" on african-Americans and Latinos.

    It has been a stain upon the character of our nation.
    I applaud Washington and Colorado for breaking the inertia.
    posted by Three Books at 8:51 PM on November 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


    As a long-time supporter of marijuana decriminalization/legalization, I agree with you. There's still a ways to go, but these are big steps that are happening, and I'm excited to (finally) see it.
    posted by Brak at 8:52 PM on November 8, 2012


    It will be very interesting to see this from 2000 and 3000 miles away. Let the experiment begin.
    posted by andreaazure at 8:53 PM on November 8, 2012


    It will be very interesting to see this from 2000 and 3000 miles away. Let the experiment begin.
    It is going to be way more interesting from 0 miles away. This is a good year to live in Seattle.
    posted by b1tr0t at 9:00 PM on November 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


    Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has already decided that the 10th Amendment doesn't apply.

    Cue the Assassination Drones.
    posted by codswallop at 9:01 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Interesting that WA state stores that once sold spirits were closed down, but will be reopened again (in whatever capacity) to sell pot. How quickly things change!
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:01 PM on November 8, 2012


    Cue the Assassination Drones.
    How well do they work against a.... smoke screen?
    posted by b1tr0t at 9:02 PM on November 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


    For this I could support the concept of devolving federal power to the states - which sadly was the stated goal of the guy who just lost the election. Obama and his party are not down with states rights.
    posted by three blind mice at 9:05 PM on November 8, 2012


    Think of it: a war on plants...

    To be fair, their roots are everywhere
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:09 PM on November 8, 2012


    Four of the judges who ruled in that case have left the court. There may be two more retirements before the court gets this case.
    posted by humanfont at 9:16 PM on November 8, 2012


    Keep in mind that this is in the context of a lot of American allies wanting to rethink drug treaties. I can imagine the us using this as an excuse to open a dialogue with Mexico and the rest on this.
    posted by empath at 9:17 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    WA state stores that once sold spirits were closed down

    Why in the world would they do that? The LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) is the only government institution that makes consistent profit, and a handsome one at that - and, they're very spiffy stores.
    posted by CynicalKnight at 9:20 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I'm so excited these props passed. Even if the Feds crack down, it's at least started a national discussion. Maybe Obama won't laugh and dismiss the questions about MJ now.
    posted by Arbac at 9:21 PM on November 8, 2012


    Interesting difference between the laws

    That's really the most interesting thing about it. When they ended alcohol Prohibition, they left it up to each State to decide how to handle it, and I think we're seeing the same thing now, though the motivation this time is bubbling up from the bottom instead of having a Constitutional Amendment.

    So you've got these really silly alcohol laws in the United States. They vary from State to State. You can be in one place, and you can't buy alcohol on Sunday, but you can go a short drive to a different State, and buy alcohol until the bars close at 2 AM, and then drive to another State where the bars don't close until 4 AM. The laws are pretty arbitrary. Some council invented them decades ago and they've stuck, because it's really hard to motivate people to make tiny changes in existing law.

    Washington State and Colorado have both taken bold steps here in simply decriminalizing marijuana, and I predict that both of them as a consequence will suffer with stupidly specific regulations concerning it. Other States will wait their time, learning the lessons from those two States, and invent better legalizations.
    posted by twoleftfeet at 9:22 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Why in the world would they do that?

    WA voters decided to allow private liquor sales and abolish the state-run system last year.
    posted by edeezy at 9:26 PM on November 8, 2012


    Why in the world would they do that? The LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) is the only government institution that makes consistent profit, and a handsome one at that - and, they're very spiffy stores.

    As as Londoner recently moved to Toronto, after I got over the initial annoyance of not being able to buy beer at 2am which I realistically didn't quite need, I have grown to love the LCBO. It's made my drinking much more varied and enjoyable.
    posted by Damienmce at 9:27 PM on November 8, 2012


    Why in the world would they do that? The LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) is the only government institution that makes consistent profit, and a handsome one at that - and, they're very spiffy stores.

    Costco came into Washington and bought an initiative that closed down state stores and allowed private businesses to sell spirits. Of course, the promise was that alcohol would be cheaper by taking government out of the picture, but in fact, prices went up once Costco and pals worked out prices with the distributors. Libertarianism isn't much good when the private sector effectively does price fixing. Still, that's a derail for another thread.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:27 PM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


    WA state stores that once sold spirits were closed down

    Why in the world would they do that?


    It was the result of another popular vote referendum, led largely by Costco, and fed by the theoretical public interest in having market pressures drive down costs. So far that hasn't born fruit, but it's only been in place for about 6 months, and markets take time for price wars to break out. Plus the state still controls alcohol a level or two above the local sellers, and there are plenty of taxes being collected even without the state-run or licensed stores being the only sellers.
    posted by hippybear at 9:28 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Seattle is full of MMJ dispensaries. It seems like every neighborhood has at least one. (Well, maybe only the kinds of neighborhoods I visit.) They're out in the open, with prominent signage. They take out colorful, unambiguous ads in the alt-weeklies. This has been the case since, what, 2008 or so? All of this is utterly illegal under Federal law, since MJ is still a schedule-I substance. If the DEA wanted to shut it all down they could do so very easily.

    CynicalKnight: Because the conventional retailers wanted to get in on the booze-selling action, basically. CostCo was a big backer of the change, AIUI.
    posted by hattifattener at 9:29 PM on November 8, 2012


    Also, Costco didn't come into Washington. Its first store was in Seattle.
    posted by hippybear at 9:30 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Costco didn't come into Washington. Its first store was in Seattle.

    You think alcohol was their end game? No way! Costco was just waiting to take over the marijuana dispensary market.

    They actually have good prices. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do with four pounds of marijuana.
    posted by twoleftfeet at 9:35 PM on November 8, 2012 [30 favorites]


    what it means:

    "In Colorado, weed is more popular than President Barack Obama.

    More people voted for Amendment 64 -- which legalizes and regulates recreational use of marijuana -- than voted for the president."
    posted by wallstreet1929 at 9:39 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I just don't know what I'm supposed to do with four pounds of marijuana.

    Get rid of 3lbs 15oz of it quick! That's what you'll have to do with it.
    posted by hippybear at 9:39 PM on November 8, 2012


    CynicalKnight: "Why in the world would they do that? "

    So I can go into Safeway and buy a bottle of vodka at midnight. Also we're starting to see more micro-distilleries and it makes it nice that they can now sell their own product.
    posted by the_artificer at 9:40 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Costco can make a fortune by offering free bong hits next to the snack aisle.
    posted by humanfont at 9:41 PM on November 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Seattle is full of MMJ dispensaries. It seems like every neighborhood has at least one. (Well, maybe only the kinds of neighborhoods I visit.) They're out in the open, with prominent signage. They take out colorful, unambiguous ads in the alt-weeklies. This has been the case since, what, 2008 or so? All of this is utterly illegal under Federal law, since MJ is still a schedule-I substance. If the DEA wanted to shut it all down they could do so very easily.

    They are in CA. Although to be fair the amount of crime associated with medical weed growing in Northern CA was immense and growing when I lived there and it was a big problem. Armed robberies of growers properties, gun battles, weed operations being used to fund meth labs, "medicinal growers" making 99% of their income selling on the side.. it was definitely NOT working as it was very well. At least not if you lived in a producing area.

    If Obama throws his hands in the air and legalizes it all it's going to wipe out the entire rural economy between Napa and Portland. There are many communities up there that depend on pot and third and fourth generations kids who've grown up in what amounts to an alternate society. It'll be interesting to see what replaces it, and sadly I'm pretty sure the answer is: meth.
    posted by fshgrl at 9:42 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Costco can make a fortune by offering free bong hits

    Dude, how stoned do you have to be to believe that?
    posted by twoleftfeet at 9:45 PM on November 8, 2012


    I'm curious how they are going to implement and enforce the tax regime alongside the existing no-tax medical marijuana system. I can't think of another product off the top of my head that has both tax-free and taxed versions that aren't in some way made artificially different to discourage diversion.

    E.g., there's both taxed and untaxed fuel, but the untaxed stuff typically is dyed so that it's harder to divert for taxed use. Or, in other states, you simply can't buy "untaxed" fuel at the pump, and you apply for a tax deduction for off-road use after the fact.

    It seems like one of those two approaches is eventually going to have to happen, if WA and CO actually end up taxing cannabis at the levels that were being discussed prior to the vote. E.g., three levels of 25% taxes is pretty high, and the temptation to avoid one or more levels of tax by passing a product off as destined for the medical market and then diverting it further down the supply chain is going to be high.
    posted by Kadin2048 at 9:47 PM on November 8, 2012


    Also, Costco didn't come into Washington. Its first store was in Seattle.

    True enough, I was wrong about that. Still, they don't seem a "local" mom-and-pop business so much as a multinational which happens to have headquarters in Washington, and their effective purchase of public policy still seems like a general problem we need to solve. In that light, perhaps one reason that opposition to the MJ initiative failed was because the dispensaries didn't have a Costco on their side.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:47 PM on November 8, 2012


    If Obama throws his hands in the air and legalizes it all it's going to wipe out the entire rural economy between Napa and Portland.

    That entirely depends on what national legalization looks like. If it's like beer, where you can make your own small amounts for personal use but have to go through regulatory hurdles in order to sell to others, or if it's like booze where you aren't legally allowed to distill at all for personal use but producers can obtain licenses, then that rural economy will likely survive.

    If it's just a full-on removal of any prohibitions whatsoever, it's likely that economy can still survive if they're producing quality product year round that is worth the money. I can grow my own tomatoes at home, but can't be bothered to set up grow lights to have fresh tomatoes during the winter. Thus, we have commercial hot house tomatoes.
    posted by hippybear at 9:50 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    weed operations being used to fund meth labs

    I thought meth funded meth labs.
    posted by ryanrs at 9:50 PM on November 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


    Voters have made marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington. But what does this mean?

    it means reddit has gone bananas for the last two days
    posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:51 PM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


    There are many communities up there that depend on pot and third and fourth generations kids who've grown up in what amounts to an alternate society. It'll be interesting to see what replaces it, and sadly I'm pretty sure the answer is: meth.
    I don't see why they wouldn't reinvent themselves as boutique/craft ganja farms.


    OTOH, if we make manufacturing illegal, that will clearly encourage a thriving black market in US manufactured goods. Someone should write that short story.
    posted by b1tr0t at 9:51 PM on November 8, 2012


    Mexican leadership has noticed, and they're wondering what they're doing spending their money and blood to stop this stuff if it's going to be legalized up here.
    posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:53 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


    their effective purchase of public policy still seems like a general problem we need to solve.

    I don't think that's really the case. It was put up to a popular vote, it passed. It isn't like Costco was lobbying congresscritters to get legislation passed. And they certainly weren't doing any real lobbying of the public outside of advertising. And as the 2012 election proves, you can spend all you want on elections, but Sheldon will tell you it doesn't mean you'll win.

    I think the reason it passed was because of people like me, who come from other states and who go home to visit and see that a bottle of booze which is selling for $40 in WA is selling for $12 someplace else, and they tell people that this law would be a good thing.

    Again, it's only been in effect for 6 months. Markets don't turn on a dime. And WA still licenses the wholesale distributor market, meaning there's still a government-controlled bottleneck where prices are set. It may appear that Costco is reaping some kind of financial benefit from higher prices, but as with many stores, they post what THEIR price is, and there are layers of taxes added on above that.

    Give the market time. Within 2-5 years, prices will have fallen dramatically. You can bookmark this comment and we'll revisit it in 2015 and see how things are going.
    posted by hippybear at 9:55 PM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


    In Colorado, weed is more popular than President Barack Obama.

    See also: Libertarians. I was a little afraid the late-in-the-game popularity of Gary Johnson here might actually swing things in the Presidential race by appealing to people who turned out mostly to vote for 64, and suddenly had an explicitly pro-weed candidate in front of them.

    That entirely depends on what national legalization looks like. If it's like beer, where you can make your own small amounts for personal use but have to go through regulatory hurdles in order to sell to others, or if it's like booze where you aren't legally allowed to distill at all for personal use but producers can obtain licenses, then that rural economy will likely survive.

    Yeah, I mean, at this point, I buy almost all of my beer local from smalltime producers. That's a pretty good economic model for an intoxicating substance with discriminating consumers. And it sure seems like the people who were growing in rural CO before MMJ rolled in here turned into the ones who're growing local product for that industry, and got a wider/deeper distribution network into the deal. I'm not sure that would change for the worse under a regime of legal recreational use.
    posted by brennen at 9:57 PM on November 8, 2012


    There already are boutique/ craft growers. For example say hypothetically that growing using generators isn't very environmentally friendly and there is a growing local backlash against it but its necessary to keep your grow op secret. So people advertise that their weed that is grown using biodiesel powered generators so its climate neutral. You can get organic or biodynamic. They already have to do that to compete. If Dole Foods starts producing on an industrial level its going to gut the gray economy of the region.

    Just so its clear- I'm 100% fine with legalizing it. I think medical marijuana is a failed experiment though.
    posted by fshgrl at 9:58 PM on November 8, 2012


    loquacious once wrote about what it would be like when weed was sold openly in stores (from 2008):

    Weed from the grocery store: There's only one kind of weed, and it comes in a cellophane baggy on a lurid orange hang tag, found amongst the "ethnic spices" isle, hanging between some bland looking dried peppers and a pale bag of dubious looking horchata drink mix, all in the same plastic bags. The weed looks and smells suspiciously like oregano. Despite this it still costs $20 per gram.

    Weed from BevMo: Everything is available from $5 bales of ditchweed to $200 dollar a gram gourmet hybrids grown exclusively in a caviar-seaweed mulch constantly prayed over by Rastafarian priests playing deep, soothing dub. Thankfully, there's also an array of consumer friendly pot - all of which pretty much costs $20 a gram, just like before legalization.

    Weed from Trader Joe's, round 1: Decided by a coin-toss, Trader Joe's decides that weed is "produce" to be sold in the "produce" section. Therefore there is only one or two kinds of weed. One is labeled "organic weed" while the other just says "weed". The organic variety costs about 30% more by volume. Both varieties come in the same packaging - a clear plastic shell crudely taped shut, with simple labeling. The weed in both containers looks roughly identical, and it looks like they came from the same farm. In some Trader Joe's, you can find "fresh weed" in the refrigerated produce isle between the bags of spinach and blocks of feta. It looks just like the other weed they sell, except it is slightly moist and refrigerated.
    I'm not quoting the rest of it but it's good!
    posted by marble at 9:59 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    it sure seems like the people who were growing in rural CO before MMJ rolled in here turned into the ones who're growing local product for that industry, and got a wider/deeper distribution network into the deal. I'm not sure that would change for the worse under a regime of legal recreational use.

    Interestingly, a good portion of the final season of Weeds (and especially the final few episodes) deal with this pretty explicitly. Those who have production in place now are those who are likely to benefit in huge ways as this progresses.

    See also this Newsweek/Daily Beast article on The New Pot Barons, which is odd in some ways, but quite good in others.
    posted by hippybear at 10:01 PM on November 8, 2012


    We have had MMJ shops on every corner here in Colorado for several years and getting a card is beyond easy. I am curious how this new law will affect the 18-21 year olds with bad backs and whiplash that seems to begin on their 18th birthdays since it legalizes weed for 21 and over only...
    posted by Isadorady at 10:06 PM on November 8, 2012


    I think medical marijuana is a failed experiment though.

    Well, it was always a dirty legal hack, anyway.

    Maybe it's gone worse in other places, but I'm pretty sure it's the reason 64 passed in Colorado: Despite some hassles and a slightly higher percentage of stoned dumbass teenagers and a bunch of annoyed Republicans, anybody in the state with sufficient motivation has been buying the stuff in a nice storefront where they talk about varietals and take credit cards for quite a while now, and lo, the apocalypse has failed to loom and the tax revenue is pretty good.
    posted by brennen at 10:09 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    weed operations being used to fund meth labs

    I thought meth funded meth labs.
    posted by ryanrs at 9:50 PM on November 8 [1 favorite +] [!]


    The drug trade is a business like any other. New operators approach venture capitalists for funding. Say you need $40K to pay the guy who comes and makes your meth. It'll take, I dunno a month and you'll get $150K of product at the end of it (I am making these numbers up so bear with me, I have never done this myself obviously!). You live in a little rural town- who do you know that might be willing to loan you $40K for a month at say 100% interest?? Hmm, maybe your cousin who just sold his crop might! There is also the business model where you just get a list of addresses with licenses to grow weed and rob them. It's pretty imperative when you rent in some areas to know who lived there before you.

    And I don't even smoke weed, this stuff was so out in the open and in the local news so often it wasn't hard to figure out how it was all tied together.
    posted by fshgrl at 10:09 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I am curious how this new law will affect the 18-21 year olds with bad backs and whiplash that seems to begin on their 18th birthdays since it legalizes weed for 21 and over only

    The American Journal of Pediatrics will no doubt have a good time wrestling with the amazingly consistent 36-month recovery times from whiplash that seems to affect only those young people from Colorado...
    posted by Kadin2048 at 10:13 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Friend works for a national politician on the Hill in one of these states. Friend got an E-mail from the politician today with the re: Pot. Jist was what do we do?

    In the modern media world, the revolution will be slow-mo and take a decade.
    posted by Ironmouth at 10:15 PM on November 8, 2012


    There are three dispensaries (one directly across the street from a 7-11) within a ten minute walk of my house in Seattle. There are about five more within a mile or two. Not that I've been paying attention, in case this legislation passed, or anything.
    posted by hades at 10:18 PM on November 8, 2012


    it was definitely NOT working as it was very well. At least not if you lived in a producing area.

    The problem is the federal law which still criminalizes weed, not the state law which decriminalizes it. Were pot legal-full-stop you would not see any more violence than you see in alcohol or tobacco production.
    posted by Justinian at 10:21 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


    As a native Oregonian I must say, I am disappointed our measure didn't pass. How could Washington beat us!? Oh well, as long as I don't need to pump my own gas I'll be happy.
    posted by Somnolent Jack at 10:27 PM on November 8, 2012


    I think the first stage is going to be an attempt to de-schedule marijuana at the federal level and devolve it to the states, who handle the majority of the issues with it anyway.

    It'll be a screaming hoo-hurrah, but that's probably the first step.
    posted by mephron at 10:33 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I had unreturned emails and phone calls in to all four of my congressional candidates in the election this year which asked this question:
    Two ballot measures (marijuana and gay marriage) are on the ballot this year. Both of them, if passed, will be in direct contravention of Federal law. What will you do to support the expressed will of the people on a Federal level if either or both of these measures pass in Washington?
    I'm sad that I didn't ever get a response. It would have been illuminating. (Actually, the lack of response on behalf of all the candidates was quite informative in and of itself.)
    posted by hippybear at 10:39 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    The problem is the federal law which still criminalizes weed, not the state law which decriminalizes it. Were pot legal-full-stop you would not see any more violence than you see in alcohol or tobacco production.

    Uh, yeah, that's what I was saying. The quasi illegal nature of growing weed in CA hasn't worked out too well.
    posted by fshgrl at 10:41 PM on November 8, 2012


    ok cool but what if i like drugs that aren't weed
    posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    As for pot, here's the question. Feds rely on local LE in drug issues. If its legal, will local cops cooperate? Unknown.
    posted by Ironmouth at 10:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    ok cool but what if i like drugs that aren't weed
    The trouble with the prohibitionist attitude of lumping all illegal drugs together is that people will see that the legalization of weed doesn't lead to the downfall of civilization. Some people will be open to the legalization of more drugs. I'm not sure that legalizing heroin and crack is a good idea, but perhaps it is better to cut the cartels off at the knees and treat addicts as something other than criminals.
    posted by b1tr0t at 10:49 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    If its legal, will local cops cooperate? Unknown.

    This is something I'd really like to have someone in the know explain to me: To what extent, and in what ways, are local cops obligated to cooperate?

    I really don't have a good sense of the structure of power / legal authority / responsibility between Federal, state, and city/county agencies on stuff like this.
    posted by brennen at 11:00 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    hippybear, we agree on many things, but you are dead wrong about Costco not buying the liquor store privatization thing. They were the single largest source of funding for both the campaign proper and the advertising run in support of not only the successful 2011 initiative but also the immediately preceding, and unsuccessful, 2010 initiatives. More reading about the 2011 initiative and the 2010 initiative can be found here.

    That said, I initially moved to Washington State in 1990 to be closer to my grandparents and to live in a state with state-run retail stores. I couldn't care less what they sold. What was important to me was that sections of the Washington consumer economy were explicitly ruled off-limits from competitive capitalism. I hoped that given that basis this approach might be properly and rationally extended to health care and education, and that my fellow citizens would join me in telling Ronald Reagan and his ilk to go fuck themselves.

    It's been evident for some time that wasn't how the last 25 years were going.

    Costco's highjacking of the legislative process follows well-worn ruts laid down by our state gadfly Tim Eymann and Seattle's City Council. Seattle managed to build not one but two stadiums with public money despite multiple defeats of these proposals at the ballot and to refuse to build a popularly-mandated mass transit system despite multiple successful ballot measures in favor of it.

    The difference for me is that when Costco's initiative passed, I stopped caring about or believing in Washington politics in toto. It was the last straw. I also stopped buying liquor to stock my bar in-state and shopping at Costco, not because it makes a difference, but because I am a vindictive motherfucker and you can't have my money. I also spent much of the last year enthusiastically attending baseball games at Safeco, because I no longer accept the responsibility to keep or pursue any semblance of coherent ideology.

    I spent a few posts during the presidential race here vaguely defending bitter apathy as an ideology before seeing it as a waste of time, and I actually pretty much feel that this post is a waste of time too. But I can clearly point to the Costco initiatives as the catalyst for hanging up the phone. I don't imagine I'm some sort of special snowflake, so I think it's reasonable to imagine that there are other well-educated deeply frustrated citizens of Washington State who watched the process go down and at the conclusion decided they had better things to do than worry about politics ever again.

    I'll never stop being mad about the Costco initiative. I can't really say I don't understand their shrugging and acting in the accurate understanding that our democracy is explicitly a marketplace, but I will resent it until the day I die.
    posted by mwhybark at 11:04 PM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


    I really don't have a good sense of the structure of power / legal authority / responsibility between Federal, state, and city/county agencies on stuff like this.

    Follow the money (budget funding).
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:16 PM on November 8, 2012


    I think medical marijuana is a failed experiment though.

    MMJ was wildly successful at getting a helpful drug to a fuckton of people who benefitted from it. If you're going to sit around and measure the policy by how many people are NOT supposed to get the drug, then I would like you to please kindly point out what drug actually succeeds at doing that.
    posted by P.o.B. at 11:26 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I initially moved to Washington State in 1990 [..] to live in a state with state-run retail stores.

    I imagine that's a pretty narrow constituency.
    posted by ryanrs at 11:34 PM on November 8, 2012


    I think medical marijuana is a failed experiment though.

    MMJ was wildly successful at getting a helpful drug to a fuckton of people who benefitted from it. If you're going to sit around and measure the policy by how many people are NOT supposed to get the drug, then I would like you to please kindly point out what drug actually succeeds at doing that.
    posted by P.o.B.


    I'm all for legalizing pot properly and all for people using it for medical purposes and what happened in CA was great for the consumers I know. But it wasn't policed even minimally as far the medicinal aspect went and the conflicting laws created problem in the areas that support production: a totally unprotected workforce and a shit ton of crime surrounding production. Read this thesis on growers in Humboldt for some background (pdf warning). Growers post ads for employees stating that they must be attractive females willing to have sex with them, growers are overwhelmingly concerned with armed robbery, in some areas production is being taken over by established criminal elements and the profits are used to fund other criminal activity.

    Proper legalization at all levels is going to have to happen or you'll see similar issues. Probably not in the cities where people are consuming more easily and are happy but on the production end where growers and workers exist in a foggy area, lacking protections.
    posted by fshgrl at 11:38 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


    [Deleted comment posted in wrong thread; carry on. ]
    posted by taz at 12:10 AM on November 9, 2012


    Seattle Times: U.S. marijuana vote may have snowball effect in Latin America
    posted by telstar at 12:11 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    does washington really spend 1.4 billion on mexican weed? i got serious doubts, but i live in seattle...maybe it's a different story to the east or something.
    posted by lar206 at 12:15 AM on November 9, 2012


    Canada Toughens Marijuana Sentences As US States Legalize
    posted by telstar at 12:20 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has already decided that the 10th Amendment doesn't apply.

    The 10th amendment, for all intents and purposes, is a truism, and is almost never used to overturn law that is claimed to be unconstitutional, because that's not how the Supreme Court works. Instead, when a claim is made that the Federal Government has no power to make a given law, the burden is on the Federal Government to show that a given law that is being challenged is within the scope of its enumerated powers, and if they fail to do so, the law is overturned for being outside of that scope. They don't need, and do not use, the 10th to overturn. They simply say "You do not have the power to make that law."

    The only time the 10th has been cited as a reason for overturning a law is when the Federal Government attempts to compel State Governments to enforce federal law, which is regarded as the Federal Government usurping well accepted state powers, namely, the power of policing. The last time this popped up was in Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997).

    So, when Gonzales v. Raich came about, the court said that the power to ban marijuana was based on the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper clause -- and it was so obviously so that even Scalia voted with the majority in support of the Commerce Clause applying, and he *hates* anything that even gets close to the Commerce Clause.

    John Paul Stevens in an interview said that while he *deplored* the policy, the Federal Government was acting completely within the law, and it would be wrong for him -- as an ultimate arbiter of US law -- to overturn that legislation because he personally disagreed with it. That's a political question, not a legal one, and political questions are fully and wholly within the realm of the legislature and executive branches, not the judiciary. Doing so would be like given a personal foul to the Pittsburgh Steelers for wearing their throwupback uniforms. Yes, you might agree with that, but it's not wrong. Hideous uniforms are *not* illegal in the NFL.
    posted by eriko at 12:24 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Cynics say what you will about the Feds coming down on this - it could also go the other way. This might be the first domino for pot [and other drugs] to become legalized in many other states and eventually in countries all over the world.
    posted by victory_laser at 12:27 AM on November 9, 2012


    mwhyman: Tim Eyman needs to be shot out of a cannon. He's singlehandedly the worst thing for Washington state politics out there (for the love of Bob, he's responsible for the fuckheaded two-thirds-to-change-taxes thing), second only to that asshat whose attitude is "LIGHT RAIL IS THE DIVIL'S WORK!".

    But hey, if you're that single-issue constituent, more power to you. I'm considering starting a business to explicitly oppose Eyman through the system. Maybe if we do that we can fix a few other things, too.
    posted by mephron at 12:31 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Tim Eyman needs to be shot out of a cannon.

    I sense a really good initiative for the next election.
    posted by twoleftfeet at 12:45 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


    > There are many communities up there that depend on pot and third and fourth generations kids who've grown up in what amounts to an alternate society. It'll be interesting to see what replaces it, and sadly I'm pretty sure the answer is: meth.

    I honestly have a great deal of difficulty understanding your reasoning here.

    Where exactly do you think all these new meth customers are going to come from? Do you imagine that people who smoke pot are just such generic druggies that if marijuana is legalized but their erstwhile pot dealer shows up with a bag of crank they're going to say, "Hell, I never liked having teeth anyway?"

    Regarding the legalization - it isn't going to happen in this Administration.

    Mr. Obama is no friend to pot - he and Michelle believe that quitting pot is what allowed him to become the superhero he is today: "Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man." He's had every chance to cut back the war on drugs - with a stroke of the pen, he could have taken pot off Schedule 1 and he did not - and his Justice department has been pretty relentless in zeroing in on medical marijuana growers.

    Perhaps a President Christie will do it...
    posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:50 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    But it wasn't policed even minimally as far the medicinal aspect went and the conflicting laws created problem in the areas that support production

    I think this is exactly the thing that weighs down discussions about this subject. I get what you're saying that it could have negative benefits, or it could have positive benefits as other studies have shown, but at best we're talking about a muddy situation and talking specifics is the only way to muddle through the subject. MMJ is one thing, production and how people go about that is another. In WA I have heard nothing like that going on, other than the people setting up grows that don't fall within already set guidelines and then unsuccessfully try to claim they are "legal".

    and his Justice department has been pretty relentless in zeroing in on medical marijuana growers

    Really? They should hire me down at the DOJ. People would be amazed at my extra special abilities in zeroing in on MMJ by simply looking at various weeklies.
    posted by P.o.B. at 1:00 AM on November 9, 2012


    This is pretty amazing, looking through the two laws they are a subtle and well written way to turn marijuana into the addressable public health disaster it is rather than the FUBAR criminal catastrophe it has been. As the field of studying pot has matured away from the laughable bullshit pretend science of the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, we have found very real harms from the plant - particularly in chronic use and particularly in young people. Just because the government had been lying to us all along about the harms of pot, doesn't mean they haven't turned out to be right.

    Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife
    Recent reports show that fewer adolescents believe that regular cannabis use is harmful to health. Concomitantly, adolescents are initiating cannabis use at younger ages, and more adolescents are using cannabis on a daily basis. The purpose of the present study was to test the association between persistent cannabis use and neuropsychological decline and determine whether decline is concentrated among adolescent-onset cannabis users. Participants were members of the Dunedin Study, a prospective study of a birth cohort of 1,037 individuals followed from birth (1972/1973) to age 38 y. Cannabis use was ascertained in interviews at ages 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38 y. Neuropsychological testing was conducted at age 13 y, before initiation of cannabis use, and again at age 38 y, after a pattern of persistent cannabis use had developed. Persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline broadly across domains of functioning, even after controlling for years of education. Informants also reported noticing more cognitive problems for persistent cannabis users. Impairment was concentrated among adolescent-onset cannabis users, with more persistent use associated with greater decline. Further, cessation of cannabis use did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users. Findings are suggestive of a neurotoxic effect of cannabis on the adolescent brain and highlight the importance of prevention and policy efforts targeting adolescents.
    posted by Blasdelb at 1:02 AM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


    lar206: "...maybe it's a different story to the east or something."

    I technically still live on the east side and everyone I know there either grows their own or gets it from Seattle.

    victory_laser: "Cynics say what you will about the Feds coming down on this "

    Once the rules are hammered out by the states I honestly believe that if the sellers and grower pay their taxes and operate within the local laws that the feds will turn a blind eye. It will be interesting to watch what happens.
    posted by the_artificer at 1:15 AM on November 9, 2012


    The feds can, and probably will clamp down. They will focus on shutting down open growers and distributors. They will make it so they live in fear of prosecution, which will erase the main benefit of legalization which is taking the immoral criminal elements out of the distribution process.

    Users, however, will mostly be in the free and clear. The majority of the country favors legalization already. In a few years people will notice Colorado and Washington have not suffered any ill effects and the majority for legalization will grow even larger.

    These votes in these two states were the biggest victory for anti-drug war activists ever so far, and they will be the tipping point.
    posted by Drinky Die at 1:43 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I'm just trying to imagine my 20 year old self with a two liter pop bottle of hash oil.

    And isn't the oil at a different and higher penalty than the just dried product?

    I'm looking forward to hearing about the Cancer cure rates.
    posted by rough ashlar at 2:00 AM on November 9, 2012


    I like how the feds position seems to be that the drug war is far too dignified and sacrosanct to respond to lowly state-level legalization WHICH ACTUALLY PASSED YOU DUMB FED MOFOS.
    posted by telstar at 2:22 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    "I'm looking forward to hearing about the Cancer cure rates."

    Oh Jesus Christ, that video is ridiculous. Here is a decent and well referenced account of what promise that cannabis actually does have for cancer treatment.
    posted by Blasdelb at 2:51 AM on November 9, 2012



    Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife


    Got a copy of the paper itself? I don't know if this is one of those Correlation ne Causation things. ( e.g.: Diesel Exhaust Fumes could be causing the issue, too. )

    And is this study self-reported? Or are there any objective metrics?
    posted by mikelieman at 2:53 AM on November 9, 2012


    Got a copy of the paper itself? I don't know if this is one of those Correlation ne Causation things. ( e.g.: Diesel Exhaust Fumes could be causing the issue, too. )

    And is this study self-reported? Or are there any objective metrics?
    "

    Here is the PDF, the authors did indeed use objective metrics.

    I probably should have linked to a review though, here is a good and relatively recent one:
    Cannabis, the mind and society: the hash realities [Abstract]
    Cannabis has been known for at least 4,000 years to have profound effects on the mind — effects that have provoked dramatically divergent attitudes towards it. Some societies have regarded cannabis as a sacred boon for mankind that offers respite from the tribulations of everyday life, whereas others have demonized it as inevitably leading to 'reefer madness'. The debate between the protagonists and prohibitionists has recently been re-ignited, but unfortunately this debate continues mainly in ignorance of our new understanding of the effects of cannabis on the brain and of studies that have quantified the extent of the risks of long-term use.
    I can't be sure if it is open access from my university internet connection, but if it isn't please feel free to memail me with an email address I can send a PDF to - for the purposes of this academic discussion that we are currently having of course.
    posted by Blasdelb at 3:40 AM on November 9, 2012


    See also this slightly more recent review from 2008,
    The influence of marijuana use on neurocognitive functioning in adolescents.
    Marijuana use is common in adolescence, yet neural consequences have not been well delineated. This review seeks to ascertain whether heavy marijuana use in adolescence is associated with persistent neurocognitive abnormalities, and whether adolescents are more vulnerable to the impact of chronic marijuana use than adults.

    Among heavy marijuana using adults, neurocognitive deficits are apparent for several days following use, but may disappear after one month of abstinence. Studies of adolescent heavy users have identified impairments in learning and working memory up to six weeks after cessation, suggesting persisting effects, yet raise the possibility that abnormalities may remit with a longer duration of abstinence.

    Given ongoing neuromaturation during youth, adolescents may be more vulnerable to potential consequences of marijuana use than adults. This is supported by rodent models, which show greater memory impairments in animals exposed to cannabinoids as adolescents relative to those exposed as adults. Further, adult humans who initiated use in early adolescence show greater dysfunction than those who began use later. Together, these results suggest that adolescents are more vulnerable than adults to neurocognitive abnormalities associated with chronic heavy marijuana use; however, the impact of preexisting risk factors is unknown.

    Adolescents demonstrate persisting deficits related to heavy marijuana use for at least six weeks following discontinuation, particularly in the domains of learning, memory, and working memory. Further, adolescents appear more adversely affected by heavy use than adults. Longitudinal studies will help ascertain whether preexisting differences contribute to these abnormalities.
    posted by Blasdelb at 4:05 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Compare and contrast that study with the health snd cognitive impacts of a decade of heavy drinking.
    posted by humanfont at 4:25 AM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


    "Compare and contrast that study with the health snd cognitive impacts of a decade of heavy drinking."

    One of the more important reasons for researchers to be very careful to share this kind of research in accessible reviews is that there is no large segment of the lay public claiming that heavy drinking is perfectly harmless, the final cure-all for cancer, or good for you.
    posted by Blasdelb at 4:47 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Just so happy for my peeps.... I'm considering retiring to Seattle now. Lived there for several years in the 90s and spend a lot of time there now, but this would get me back when I quit working for good.

    Or New York could get its shit together, you know?
    posted by spitbull at 4:47 AM on November 9, 2012


    Blasdelb, these laws make weed legal for 21+-year-olds, not adolescents.

    three levels of 25% taxes is pretty high, and the temptation to avoid one or more levels of tax by passing a product off as destined for the medical market and then diverting it further down the supply chain is going to be high.

    Ah, but the effective 'tax' taken by every level of illegal distribution is, what, 100%?
    posted by showbiz_liz at 4:59 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Blasdelb, these laws make weed legal for 21+-year-olds, not adolescents.

    While 24-26+ year olds would be a more clinically meaningful line, the probable ability of these laws to keep pot out of the hands of minors more effectively than prohibition is one of the best arguments for it. I don't think anyone in this thread has voiced opposition to them yet.
    posted by Blasdelb at 5:11 AM on November 9, 2012


    I am not a marijuana user (IANMU), but it seems to me that there is like a significant difference between heavy use and more moderate consumption habits. It would also seem that most users, like those who consume moderate amounts of alcohol, avoid heavy usage because after one bad hangover or two they moderate their consumption. Also there are people advocating alcohol as having health benefits. Have you forgotten all te stuff about how drinking a glass f red wine every night would make you live longer?
    posted by humanfont at 5:22 AM on November 9, 2012


    While 24-26+ year olds would be a more clinically meaningful line, the probable ability of these laws to keep pot out of the hands of minors more effectively than prohibition is one of the best arguments for it. I don't think anyone in this thread has voiced opposition to them yet.

    Truly and in good faith, I don't understand how any one of these arguments could possibly apply to marijuana and not to alcohol or tobacco. I can't find a logically consistent position which keeps weed illegal and keeps alcohol and tobacco legal. If you oppose having ANY of them legal, I disagree but can understand- but if you favor the status quo, I really can't understand that. It is logically inconsistent.
    posted by showbiz_liz at 7:15 AM on November 9, 2012


    Blaisdelb, having read the one of those surveys that's open-access, I think "public health disaster" is really hyperbolic. AIDS is a public health disaster. Tobacco is a public health disaster. Drug resistant TB is shaping up to be a public health disaster. Trans fats are probably a public health disaster. Cognitive effects that probably exist, but are subtle enough that they're not bang-on obvious and can't trivially be separated from confounding factors, are not a public health disaster.
    posted by Hizonner at 7:19 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


    See also this slightly more recent review from 2008,
    The influence of marijuana use on neurocognitive functioning in adolescents.
    Marijuana use is common in adolescence, yet neural consequences have not been well delineated. This review seeks to ascertain whether heavy marijuana use in adolescence is associated with persistent neurocognitive abnormalities, and whether adolescents are more vulnerable to the impact of chronic marijuana use than adults.


    i'm sorry. i don't like smoking pot and if you think smoking pot is going to make you or the world a better place, fuck you, that's idiotic. But, that "scientific" study is HILARIOUS:
    After reviewing the literature, there is preliminary evidence of persisting neurocognitive abnormalities among adolescent marijuana users. Subtle deficits in learning and memory, working memory, and attention have been observed in heavy using youths at least 6 weeks following cessation of use, although these impairments may not last as long as 3 months after discontinuation. In addition, it appears that adolescents are more vulnerable to the neural impact of heavy marijuana use than adults. Animal research and studies of human adults support the conclusion that those who begin at an earlier age show greater dysfunction than late-onset users. Importantly, no study demonstrated improved performance among marijuana users, or among early-onset users relative to late-onset users, indicating a disruptive effect of cannabinoids. In addition, lighter use was not always associated with neurocognitive decrements in humans [36, 37] or animals [63], suggesting that impairments may be related to heavier use. Taken together, the studies reviewed suggest that adolescents who persist in frequent marijuana use may be at risk for persistent neurocognitive abnormalities.

    Although adolescents who use marijuana heavily demonstrate decrements compared to non-using teens, it is still unknown whether marijuana use caused or contributed to these effects. In most cases, decrements were observed among those with relatively heavy, regular marijuana use. Lighter use, even if chronic, was often not associated with neurocognitive dysfunction. Thus, it is unclear whether only very heavy use is detrimental to brain functioning, or whether very heavy users differ from lighter users on other factors that account for abnormalities...
    I mean, the scientific study of marijuana sounds like a fun job:
    Neural functioning was examined among 17 young adult marijuana users and 16 controls in an electrophysiological study of visual processing... Subjects underwent steady state visual evoked potential recordings while viewing flickering white squares on a black background.
    but there is basically only marginal evidence from that article that mj has *any* detectable persistent cognitive effect on heavy adolescent users. The most unequivocal results come from "rodent studies" which are obvious fraught with difficulties. All the the relatively minor long-term effects observed in the human studies are easily explained, *as indicated in the article*, by the sociology of heavy use rather than any actual associated neurological damage. Basically, if you are paid to show mj is a menace to kids, you better well say something but the sauce is extremely weak and they know it.

    And, speaking of sauce, as the study authors note:
    First, heavy users of marijuana are more likely to use alcohol, nicotine, and other illicit substances. A recent study revealed that among adults with a lifetime marijuana use disorder (DSM-IV criteria for abuse or dependence), 82% also met criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and 48% met criteria for nicotine dependence [3].
    If you have even the slightest experience with the havoc caused by heavy drinking... if you thought you could get drinkers to replace alcohol with pot, there is nothing to suggest this wouldnt be a vast improvement for everybody from a harm reduction perspective. I mean, replace, pot, with alcohol in that "study", and the whole thing looks idiotic. But "science" must be served right?
    posted by ennui.bz at 7:28 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


    "Seattle managed to build not one but two stadiums with public money despite multiple defeats of these proposals at the ballot and to refuse to build a popularly-mandated mass transit system despite multiple successful ballot measures in favor of it."

    I'm not sure why this stadium myth is so widespread, but it drives me nuts. The Seahawks stadium was not defeated in the election. It passed. (It was a statewide election. Voters in Seattle weren't very supportive, but that didn't matter since the rest of the state mostly supported it.)

    The Mariners stadium only failed one election and it was a very, very close call. (It was winning on election night and then the ballots counted later threw it to the other side.) And to be specific, the stadium itself didn't fail -- a specific tax plan to build it did.

    So the Legislature, under pressure from a lot of folks since the M's chose that Fall of 1995 to suddenly get good, reasonably thought "this came so close to passing as it is -- let's change it enough to get more support." So they came up with a substantially different tax plan from the one that had failed.

    They did not submit the new plan to the people for a vote, mostly because the M's had given them a deadline to get it done. And unfortunately, this has led to many, many complaints over the years, usually in the form of "We voted the stadiums down and we got them anyway."

    But the thing is, that's false. One of the stadiums was approved in a public vote. And the other one was built with a different tax plan than the one that failed, so you can't exactly say it was voted down, either. No one ever asked the question "Do you want a new stadium at all?" and it is not reasonable to assume that everyone who voted against the tax plan was absolutely against a stadium, though clearly many were. But if you want to say that the M's stadium was voted down, fine. That's just one stadium, one election, not "multiple defeats of these proposals at the ballot."

    Now, I'm with you on the Monorail thing. Multiple successful measures, but it seemed that some folks were just determined to keep bringing it to a vote until they could convince enough people to vote their way. Kind of like the charter school folks this year.
    posted by litlnemo at 7:56 AM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


    In related news:

    DARE curriculum drops pot

    posted by SomaSoda at 8:12 AM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


    I don't know if the details will work out well (and I fully expect the Feds to start going after big growers and distributors at some point), but the basic idea of the Washington initiative is to start treating pot more or less like hard liquor. Add a regulatory and taxation structure, accept that there are health implications of overuse (and of driving while intoxicated), but in the end saying that social and individual harm is greater under prohibition.

    That's true of alcohol, and I think some decades from now it will be accepted wisdom that it's true of pot as well. With much tighter regulatory constraints, I think it's probably true of hard drugs as well -- I'd far rather that the hard core addicts in my community could get prescriptions for their addictions rather than needing to commit crimes to support their habits, buy and use unclean drugs and needles, and occasionally OD because of changing purities or odd things that get mixed in. I'm sure it would be cheaper to give them all free drug prescriptions than it is currently to keep incarcerating them, paying for their ER visits, and paying for the social costs of the crime and other impacts of their habits.

    But that's hard drugs; pot is more at the beer-and-wine end of the drug spectrum, and I'm glad we are inching towards treating it that way.
    posted by Forktine at 8:15 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I am happy to be living in Colorado, where sanity seems to finally have prevailed in this country. I figured California would be at the forefront of legalization, but I guess enough Californians have moved here to sway the vote. I also like the part of our law which allow a person to have up to 6 plants of which 3 can be mature. That essentially makes sure that there can be a legal supply immediately upon certification of the election by the Governor. People won't have to wait until a legal store opens up in 2014. I don't see the feds busting people growing at home for personal use, nor do I see them busting people for possession. The local and state police won't be enforcing federal law either. It allows for a semi-underground environment for cannabis, and people will see it won't destroy Colorado society.

    I will agree that the medical marijuana experiment here is somewhat of a joke. Yes a certain number of people d0 benefit medically from being able to buy and use cannabis easily and legally, but as was mentioned upthread, it's absurdly easy to get a MMJ card, and plenty of people have for recreational reasons. There's even a "Daily Deal" for MMJ, and you'll see sign wavers in the street, and signs proclaiming happy hours at dispensaries. While it may have been a joke, it was an important step in the legalization experiment and process. It was a hack that got the legalization ball rolling. Rick Steves is right that this is going to be a state by state process just like with alcohol prohibition. There will be many steps to be taken, and it will be a process, but the ball is rolling.

    Politically the legalization effort is interesting as well. The Governor, a Democrat, who made his money in legal drug selling being at the forefront of the microbrewery phenomenon came out against the amendment. The Colorado Democratic party had marijuana legalization on it's platform while the Republican party came out against legalization. The irony with the Governor is obvious, but the Republican party is supposed to be about fiscal responsibility and less government intrusion is more subtle. Tom Tancredo, resident crazy conservative and xenophobe felt his Libertarian roots and came out for the amendment, thus thumbing his nose at the Republican establishment. Many in the Medical Marijuana industry were against it. Outwardly they were against how the law was written, and the lack of language dealing with the Federal element, though obviously they have a lot of profit at stake, so more practical reasons abound. I think in the end that the population shows that it has common sense, and passed the referendum.

    The next year will be interesting with how government deals with this. The state government here has amazingly shown a practical streak in working with this issue. They decided that the people of the state had shown their will, so in spite of personal misgivings, they worked through a regulation process with medical marijuana. I expect the Governor to certify the election, and he is meeting with the Department of Justice in the next week to see what this means for the state. I expect people in Colorado who want to will enjoy smoking when they want, the rest of the country will watch and see if Reefer Madness happens here, and hopefully the country will see how absurd marijuana prohibition is, and hopefully hemp will be legalized as well.
    posted by Eekacat at 8:52 AM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


    But what does this mean?

    So, I had a conversation with a criminal prosecutor (at a bar) when Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana possession. The talking points he had against it were (1) smoking causes cancer; (2) issuing a $100 fine allegedly costs the state $300; and (3) legalization would have no real impact because marijuana laws are only enforced when the police know that someone is up to something worse, but are unable to prove it. The rare people who get prosecuted solely for marijuana possession, he told me, were the ones who you would want to see put in jail anyway, but would otherwise get away clean.

    The first two points aren't really worth dealing with, but the third is pretty striking. There used to be stories in Massachusetts criminal courts every day that started with police approaching a car, smelling marijuana, and using that as probable cause to search the car; or stopping someone to ask questions, patting them down for safety, and detecting by their trained cop fingers that the leafy green substance they were feeling was a bag of marijuana; or knocking on an apartment door, looking inside, and seeing marijuana in plain view on the table.

    Basically what this prosecutor was telling me was that the primary use of marijuana laws was to criminalize people the police believed to be guilty, in order to search them when the police otherwise lacked probable cause, and in order to punish them when prosecutors otherwise lacked evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Since decriminalization, state police and state prosecutors can no longer use the law that way. (For example, the odor of marijuana is no longer probable cause to search a car, because there's no way to know whether it's more or less than an ounce.) That's a huge difference, even if it remains illegal on the federal level.
    posted by jhc at 9:17 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


    weed operations being used to fund meth labs

    Breaking Bud.
    posted by dhartung at 9:36 AM on November 9, 2012


    I hope that this starts a more sane approach to drug laws in general. It will be a real shame if this stops with pot, and doesn't go on to LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, etc.
    posted by empath at 9:46 AM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I don't doubt that chronic, heavy marijuana use is bad for you. But that's also true of alcohol, and tobacco, and donuts, and sitting around on your ass, and none of those things is illegal.

    My brother lives in an area of Seattle where there are a lot of grow operations that fuel our local MMJ industry, and he says it's terrible. The grow houses aren't secret, which means that there are well-known locations that have just a shit ton of drugs in them at all times. But because of the weird legal grey area that those grow houses operated in, they couldn't feel comfortable depending on law enforcement to show up to protect them against thieves without also confiscating their livelihood. There is a lot of gun violence in his neighborhood, and from his sense, the majority of it is around either thieves or growers defending themselves against thieves. It was a bad situation. It remains to be seen how (or if) the passage of 502 will change that situation, but I have hopes.
    posted by KathrynT at 10:52 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle

    Best question:

    SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back?

    No.
    posted by Cash4Lead at 11:02 AM on November 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


    Cash4Lead, that's a great document. Clearly lays out where the law is clear, where there is conflict, where things are just plain unknown. Plus, I feel compelled to point out that that is an official Seattle City Government web page that has a YouTube video of the pipeweed scene from LOTR embedded in it. AND it uses "TL;DR" correctly and appropriately.
    posted by KathrynT at 11:06 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


    empath: indeed, for me the reason to be hopeful about marijuana legalization is not so much because of marijuana itself, but because it seems to be a first step toward a general abandonment of drug prohibition. When I feel optimistic I think that knocking the most popular drug out first will defund and thus de-fang the drug war enough to make the rest of the job easier. When I feel more pessimistic, though, I worry that legalizing the most popular drug first will give enough people enough of what they want that there will no longer be energy to push for a general rollback of prohibition.

    It's just barely possible to imagine working up a popular movement to legalize MDMA or LSD... but what I really want is a world where I can drop by my local specialty headshop after work on Friday to pick up a couple doses of 2C-B, notice a display advertising some new thing called 4-AcO-DMT, browse through the pamphlet to find out what it does, decide it sounds interesting, and go home to have an interesting weekend, secure in the knowledge that the chemicals have been produced safely in a professional lab, that they are exactly what they say they are, and that the statements about their mechanisms and effects are consistent with current psychedelic research.

    There just aren't enough people interested in that kind of experience to get the laws changed if we have to do it one drug at a time. The only way I can see this happening is if we can build up momentum toward legalization of popular drugs and then get a general legalization to ride along on its coattails.
    posted by Mars Saxman at 11:52 AM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


    but what I really want is a world where I can drop by my local specialty headshop after work on Friday to pick up a couple doses of 2C-B, notice a display advertising some new thing called 4-AcO-DMT, browse through the pamphlet to find out what it does, decide it sounds interesting, and go home to have an interesting weekend, secure in the knowledge that the chemicals have been produced safely in a professional lab, that they are exactly what they say they are, and that the statements about their mechanisms and effects are consistent with current psychedelic research.

    That would be an interesting and perhaps fun approach to drug legalization. I'm willing to be surprised, but my bet is a bifurcated approach to legalization, basically "similar to alcohol" vs "hard drugs." Things that are similar enough to alcohol (eg pot, hash, maybe a few other things) will get the full legalization experience, complete with taxation, etc, more or less like the new initiatives. And then the hard stuff will eventually get a medical/harm-reduction approach, where you go to your doctor or the public health department and get registered as an addict, entitling you to buy a regulated supply of cocaine/heroin/etc sufficient for your addiction and of guaranteed purity and cleanliness, similar to how Portugal and a few other places are experimenting with, and very similar to how we already deal with prescription medicines.

    I'm just not convinced we are going to want to keep paying the financial and social cost of prohibition, and eventually a more rational approach is going to be more compelling.
    posted by Forktine at 12:46 PM on November 9, 2012


    Okay, I didn't see this post and posted this in the recently deleted one, but I think it's a cool article about a possible constitutional crisis.

    "Could Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Pave the Way for Nullification?" From the article: "How far states will have to go to exercise self-government depends above all on the intractability of the DEA. I have no doubt that if it actually came down to states arresting DEA agents the federal government would be forced to reevaluate. Doubling down would mean arresting the governor or invading, and that seems exceedingly unlikely."
    posted by resurrexit at 1:31 PM on November 9, 2012


    Jon Stewart Plays A Game Of ‘Find The Narc’ With Media Coverage Of Marijuana Legalization
    posted by homunculus at 1:38 PM on November 9, 2012


    Victory for Pot Means Beginning of the End of Our Crazy Drug War: With the voters in Washington and Colorado legalizing marijuana, Martin A. Lee argues that the war on pot may be over—and good riddance to decades of bad science, scare-mongering, and harsh laws.
    posted by homunculus at 1:47 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Since Washington may be proceeding with State-run stores, has anyone seen speculation as to how the doctrine of sovereign immunity would come into play? I didn't pay that much attention to sovereign immunity in law school.

    For CO, if private businesses are setup to grow and sell, clearly they're in violation of Federal Law, which SCOTUS has already decided trumps the States on this issue thanks to the commerce clause.

    However, in Washington, it seems like it could be State Actors that grow and sell. Would they then be legally protected since the Federally illegal actions were taken within the scope of their State employment?

    TL;DR - Does sovereign immunity let State Actors break Federal laws in the scope of their State employment?
    posted by Arbac at 1:48 PM on November 9, 2012


    Hundreds of Pot Cases Dismissed in Washington State as a direct result of this new initiative, in King and Pierce counties alone.
    posted by spinifex23 at 4:35 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Also - with this + Gay Marriage? Washington State is going to be a really interesting state to live in, for quite a while. Stoner gay weddings for all!
    posted by spinifex23 at 4:37 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Weed, schmeed. Now if only we could legalize hemp.
    posted by SomaSoda at 5:41 PM on November 9, 2012


    Passing a joint resolution

    I can't be the only person who wants to see more jokes like this.
    posted by triggerfinger at 6:17 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


    triggerfinger: "I can't be the only person who wants to see more jokes like this."

    If you had spent time watching the news networks Wednesday you would probably be cured of this desire.
    posted by the_artificer at 6:42 PM on November 9, 2012


    SomaSoda: "Weed, schmeed. Now if only we could legalize hemp."

    You know it did, right? The Colorado initiative legalizes industrial hemp and the Washington one decriminalizes it.
    posted by gingerbeer at 9:38 PM on November 9, 2012


    triggerfinger: "I can't be the only person who wants to see more jokes like this."

    If you had spent time watching the news networks Wednesday you would probably be cured of this desire.


    I just have to say that I came up with that joke on my own, with no influence from the news networks on Wednesday. I know this because I got way too wasted Tuesday night, and couldn't possibly have recovered enough to watch anything on Wednesday. I'm pretty sure about that. What day is it today?
    posted by twoleftfeet at 10:07 PM on November 9, 2012


    Marijuana in Colorado: Ready for Business, Complete with Regulations
    posted by homunculus at 3:54 PM on November 10, 2012


    Good article from Politico.
    posted by gingerbeer at 5:16 PM on November 11, 2012


    The Fight Over Medical Marijuana: An Op-Doc profiles Chris Williams, a medical marijuana grower in Montana who now faces life in prison.
    posted by homunculus at 1:40 PM on November 12, 2012


    Mexico president says pot votes in US leaves Washington with no ‘moral authority’ for drug war
    posted by telstar at 12:46 AM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Since Washington may be proceeding with State-run stores, has anyone seen speculation as to how the doctrine of sovereign immunity would come into play? I didn't pay that much attention to sovereign immunity in law school.

    To my knowledge, Washington state is not doing anything with state run stores. There's nothing in the initiative to that effect, which actually talks about taxation on retailers. Actual policies are still to be determined.

    For CO, if private businesses are setup to grow and sell, clearly they're in violation of Federal Law, which SCOTUS has already decided trumps the States on this issue thanks to the commerce clause.

    I believe people are jumping the gun a little bit when calling the issue of federal jurisdiction settled. The 2005 case was controversial, and there are some new justices on-board. People suspected Roberts wasn't too pleased with that decision. There are some fingerholds if somebody wants to push a new case. I for one am eagerly awaiting an opinion (majority or dissent) that characterizes the court's historical reading of the commerce clause as, "Dude, it's like all connected."

    TL;DR - Does sovereign immunity let State Actors break Federal laws in the scope of their State employment?

    No. But in theory, the things that the Federal govt can legislate are few. (In practice, unlimited.)
    posted by nathan v at 11:01 PM on November 14, 2012


    Your drug war at work
    posted by homunculus at 11:09 PM on November 19, 2012


    UN Official Wants U.S. To Cancel Marijuana Legalization Votes
    posted by telstar at 7:13 AM on November 22, 2012


    Tommy Chong optimistic Obama administration will allow legal pot
    posted by homunculus at 2:24 AM on December 6, 2012


    The Dude abides, and says “take it inside!”
    posted by gingerbeer at 11:09 AM on December 6, 2012


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