Seattle Marijuana Activists On I-502: ‘Find Another Answer’


Don Skakie
Dr. Gil Mobley’s testing indicates that patients with many times the proposed I-502 5 ng/ml DUI limit were able to pass the Washington State Patrol’s standardized impairment tests

By Don Skakie
Washington State Correspondent
Toke of the Town
Sunday’s Medfest in Seattle was a great time for the public, patients, activists and speakers to meet, socialize, examine products, hear speakers and talk with each other. The day-long event was punctuated by music by some great performers and passionate speakers heard with much interest by those in attendance.
Regarding Washington state legalization ballot initiative I-502, which includes per se DUI provisions for anyone above five nanograms per milliliter of blood (5 ng/ml), Dr. Gil Mobley told attendees that many MMJ patients’ blood levels never fall below 10 nanograms per milliliter (10 ng/ml) and that many live their lives (including driving) with much higher levels without evidence of impairment.
Mobley’s testing of individual patients included preconsumption, post consumption as well as “days after” testing with no intervening consumption.

Subjects with levels many times the I-502 proposed 5 ng limit were able to pass the Washington State Patrol’s standardized impairment tests, serial seven counting high numbers backwards tests, spelling five-letter words backwards tests, reaction time testing and neuro-cognitive assessment/short term memory testing, done at the time of and with each blood draw.

Don Skakie
Event organizer Martin Martinez, left, was one of the first legal medical marijuana patients in Washington state. State Representative and Congressional candidate Roger Goodman, right, supports cannabis legalization.

​One patient’s levels still hovered around the 5 ng limit 48 hours after consumption with no evidence of impairment.
He also related that a group of physicians and Medical Review Officers meeting in British Columbia recently subjected themselves to second hand cannabis smoke without personal consumption and THC was found in their system the next morning showing that those under 21 exposed to second hand smoke can be wrongly found guilty of impairment.
Jake Felicé, MD, spoke on the need for studies on the different effects of different strains and historical evidence of cannabis’ medical and religious use over thousands of years. He also expressed concerns that taking the control and distribution away from those that can provide for themselves and the benefits of that model may be lost to big business that may have profits rather than the best interests of patients and others that may benefit at heart.
Event organizer Martin Martinez renewed the call for all concerned to continue working the problem with legislators and overwhelming them with public opinion. This was echoed by event MC Vivian Mcpeak’s call that we need to “find another answer” other than I-502’s 5-ng limit.
Washington State Representative and candidate for Congress Roger Goodman’s wide-ranging remarks about domestic violence, kids and responding to all constituents’ concerns showed he is not a single-issue candidate, but it was his remarks on his proposed congressional efforts to deschedule cannabis that resounded with those in attendance.
Saying that our elected leadership is responding to outreach and education by activists, Goodman pointed out that we are at a cultural turning point.
He called for reform of the banking system by supplanting the FDIC insurance that precludes safety and security for cannabusiness with a state institution. “Cultural pressure is coming up against the law,” he said and called for defunding the ineffective programs of the DEA, ONDCP and NIDA as well as other actions including allowing the ‘Drug Czar’ to legally speak about legalization.
According to Goodman, legalization of cannabis is a legitimate healthcare, financial, jobs and community issue. He wants penalties for minors to approximate those of alcohol offenses, even as they are drastically different substances with drastically different effects.
Pointing out that most voters are 50 and up, Goodman called for activists to lobby their representatives and meet with and educate moms, teachers and older voters if reform is to be successful.
The common thread of all the speakers was that if the 5 ng/ml per se limit of I-502 becomes law  — rather than evidence of actual impairment, as is currently the case — it will be a disservice to the public, resulting in undeserved convictions for adults who consume responsibly and zero tolerance for youth who can have detectable levels simply from second hand smoke.
While some in the crowd mentioned hearing that I-502 had gathered the necessary signatures to qualify to the Legislature, inquiries after the event found no such information in the press or on New Approach Washington’s website or Facebook Page.
With the use of paid signature gatherers that have little or no personal investment in the cause, it is suspected that many signatures will be found to be invalid. If I-502 is qualified based on representative sampling, expect a call for a full count and verification of signatures by concerned activists, patients and the public.