|SUNDAY, 06 NOVEMBER 2011 22:58|
|A marijuana legalization proposal by New Approach Washington has activists taking sides in the Evergreen State. While Initiative 502 would tax and regulate cannabis, co-sponsor Rick Steves admits it’s a “sober, pragmatic and conservative law.”
I-502 limits use to over 21 and has a provision that blood-tests drivers stopped for being allegedly under the influence. “If you’re caught driving intoxicated, they should throw the book at you,” Steves says, defending the DUI provision which defines intoxication as five nanaograms of THC. This has led Seattle Hempfest producerVivian McPeak to state, “I cannot, in good conscience, support New Approach Washington.” I-502 co-sponsor Rick Steves
On the other side, I-502′s campaign director Alison Holcomb (known for her work with the ACLU), says: “When you’re making big changes, you need to take incremental steps.”
“It deals head-on with the reason Prop 19 failed,” explains TV travel host Steves, referring to last year’s failed initiative in California. “It deals with legitimate concerns. It’s the most viable legalize marijuana bill that has ever been presented to a state in the United States.”
Sensible Washington‘s Doug Hiatt disagrees. “The way they are doing it is completely insane,” he says. “It’s a giant waste of time. Why pass something that won’t work? It’s not real reform.”
Ironically, one of I-502′s biggest supporters, former U.S. Attorney John McKay, prosecutedMarc Emery. Other backers include Washington State Democrats, State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes, Washingston State bar president Sal Mungia, and philanthropists Harriett Builitt and Bill Clapp. New Approach has raised more than $1 millionso far; in order to get on the ballot it needs 241,000 signatures.
Nora Callahan of The November Coalition won’t be signing on. “We want a law for the people,” the reformer relates. “I don’t know if this law cuts it.”