If you didn’t see what happened at the anti I-502 press conference today, here’s what you missed:
The spokesman for a new Washington state medical marijuana organization is looking for work after being fired at his own inaugural press conference.
Philip Dawdy, a longtime figure in the state’s marijuana reform community, had invited reporters to the law offices of Seattle lawyer Kurt Boehl for the kickoff of the new trade group, called Safe Access Alliance. The purpose was to discuss opposition among medical marijuana patients to Initiative 502, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use in Washington.
Two members of the another group, the No on I-502 campaign, crashed the news conference and accused Safe Access Alliance of co-opting their message — and their donations.
After some minor theatrics by the protesters, Boehl, the president of Safe Access, escorted them to the door. As Dawdy continued speaking, Boehl grew frustrated and stepped to the microphone, announcing that Dawdy didn’t speak for the organization and that Boehl would be answering any further questions.
At the end of the news conference, he canned Dawdy within earshot of the reporters.
“You’re fired!” Boehl told him. “You embarrassed us.”
I’ve been vocal about the shortcomings of I-502 before and I still have concerns about its potential negative impacts, but if this is what the opposition has devolved to, filling in that Yes oval won’t be so tough for me in Nov. I’ve lost count of how many complete bullshit arguments I’ve seen by anti-502 folks, from claiming that it overrides our medical marijuana provisions (it doesn’t), to claiming that police will arrest people at next year’s Hempfest en masse for passing joints (seriously?), to knowingly making incorrect claims about how long active THC can stay in your system.
The most common argument I run across is the claim that it’s not legalization because possession of more than one ounce will remain illegal and you can’t grow your own plants. At a certain point, this does come down to semantics, but the reality is that establishing a legal marketplace for producing and selling marijuana is legalization enough that the federal government is expected to freak out and try to pre-empt it. And that’s the main point here. Of all of I-502’s flaws, the overriding factor for me is that its passage triggers that big conflict with one of the most misguided federal policies in the history of the United States, and that’s something that drug law reformers have been fighting to get to for years. I-502 will do that, even if it does leave a few more messes to clean up.