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Is I-502 a Good Idea for Drivers? Debate at the UW with the Mayor.

Posted by Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney | Oct 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

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I-502 Debate at the UW
When Washington voters go to the polls next month, one of the items they will be voting on is the initiative that would legalize the sale of up to an ounce of marijuana. But is this referendum a good option for the state's residents?

Initiative 502 was the topic of a well-attended and lively debate this past week at the University of Washington. While various arguments were made for and against the proposition, much of the talk centered on the provision that would create a zero-tolerance policy for marijuana in Washingtonians under 21.

The bill also sets the baseline level of active THC (the active ingredient in pot) at 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood for drivers.

Marijuana advocates call this part of the legislation unfair, since trace amounts of THC can be present in the bloodstream for a day (or longer) after marijuana is consumed.

At the debate, Seattle Attorney Pete Holmes (who favors I-502) said that the zero-tolerance proviso and the 5 nanograms for drivers was necessary in order to gain the bill's passage by voters. But medical marijuana entrepreneur Steve Sarich countered that it would ensnare college students and potentially wreck their futures.

A large component of the UW debate was the racial impacts of marijuana prosecution.Fellow supporter Leslie David Braxton, a Baptist minister, called it a weapon of "institutional racism." Although his fellow African Americans make up 7 percent of Seattle's population, more than half of the marijuana prosecutions in the city were against blacks until Holmes was elected and stopped charging marijuana-possession cases, he said."The war on drugs has been a war on black and brown people," said Braxton, of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in South King County.

What do you think? Does the zero-tolerance part of I-502 make it an unacceptable choice? Or is it better to vote in some type of marijuana legalization despite its drawbacks? Or is legalizing marijuana a bad idea altogether?A

About the Author

Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney

Highly rated by former clients, who praise his warm, knowledgeable courtside manner and his fierce determination to reduce or eliminate charges. An accomplished speaker, author, and leader in DUI defense statewide Kevin is well respected by judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys across the State of Washington for his expertise, integrity, and knowledge in the complicated forensic science area of impaired driving allegations.

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