Will Initiative 502 Pass? Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Perspective

Will Initiative 502 pass?  Yes it will.  The latest polls show that the law is ahead in the polls 53% to 44%.  It is true that California ran a similar ballot measure in 2010 that failed.  However, that measure in California (Proposition 19) was behind in the polls at the time of the election (45% for, 53% against, at the end of October). Initiative 502 lawyer The reason why Proposition 19 was defeated in California was because the opposition raised the specter of “stoned drivers” and because the law lacked a regulatory framework to convince the voters that the sales of cannabis would be tightly regulated.  Mothers Against Drunk Drivers ran opposition ads in October, 2010 to proposition 19.  In Washington, the opposition to Initiative 502 has not been well-funded.

Questions remain about the fairness of the law in the treatment of people accused of “Marijuana DUI.”  Many such charges will be based on spurious evidence as the “green tongue” phenomenon. The law also envisions a marijuana sales network regulated like state liquor stores.  It is questionable whether the federal government would ever allow such a regulatory scheme.   In eastern Washington the federal prosecutors essentially closed all the medical marijuana dispensaries.  It is hard to imagine them tolerating state-run marijuana stores.  At this point it seems like a foregone conclusion that the law will pass.  The question that remains is how will Initiative 502 be implemented?  We will have more on this later….


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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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