Filmmakers Preparing Documentary On I-502 Legalization Push


Seattle filmmaker Josef Wilke is doing a documentary on Washington state Initiative 502, Local Voices: I-502, a voter initiative regulating the sale of marijuana which will be on November’s general election ballot.

“We are attempting to show the entire story of I-502,” Wilke told Toke of the Town in an exclusive interview. “We want to balance the media coverage which has ignored the DUI legislation and other concerns, specifically medical marijuana patients’ concerns.”

“Our documentary is not going to make a difference in the November 6 election,” Wilke said. “In fact, it is going to be more about what happens after the election.”

“I-502 seems to be marching to a victory,” Wilke said. “We intend to release our film in April of 2013. We want to document the promises that are being made b y the campaign to address legitimate concerns and hold them to account as we gauge the reactions and of actions by both our state and federal governments.”

Wilke is working through local Seattle video production company Confluent VideoMedia, owned by Tim Sheehan. Tim is producer for the film.

Toke of the Town got a chance to ask Wilke and Sheehan a few questions about the 502 documentary.


Toke: When did you first take on the project of doing an I-502 documentary?

Tim’s been following Hempfest ever since the first one at Volunteer Park 21 years ago. We are both local filmmakers and decided to collaborate on this project.

Toke: What made you decide to do this film?

We decided to make a film that actually takes legalization seriously and recognizes that there are many sides to this issue.

Toke: Do you feel that I-502 is a step forward for the marijuana community?

Time will tell if this is the right step. We want to cover how the changes to our laws will affect the marijuana community by covering what happens after the election at both the state and federal levels. Our release date will be 2013. Other states will see what was done here and hopefully will be able to promote their own improved laws.

Toke: In your estimation, are patient concerns regarding the DUI provision valid?

We have clearly heard complaints about the DUI provisions in the bill. We plan to present to researchers to review physiological impairment studies concerning marijuana usage. They will help us closely examine Grotenherman’s study that led to the 5 ng provision. We plan to document our own independent blood tests on known users.

Toke: Has zero tolerance for those under 21 been a major concern for young people?

We have heard many complaints about the zero tolerance provision for
people under the age of twenty-one. [Seattle marijuana attorney] Doug Hiatt said, “I have zero
tolerance for zero tolerance laws.” Others we’ve talked to feel like 21
is a good legal limit for cannabis users and don’t understand the zero
tolerance issue.

Toke: Can a bill which leaves the prohibition on home cultivation in place be considered true legalization?

No, this is clearly not a legalization measure,
it is all about “regulating” the use, production, distribution, sale and
taxation of cannabis. This also splits the reform minded community.

Toke: How can people support the making of this film through Kickstarter?

can post our project link in your article or ask your readers to please
look up Local Voices: I-502 at They can then
pledge a level of support and share the link on their social media
outlet of choice. Kickstarter is a popular and easy to use website to
raise funds for worthwhile projects. If our budget goal isn’t met within
the time allowed (due 8:59 PM on 10/8/12) pledgers are released from their promise and we don’t get any of the funds.

we continue to investigate the promise and impact of I-502, we feel
more and more, that the nation and world will be watching what happens

We feel that Washington state pot smokers will become,
unwittingly, the foot soldiers of a new front in the battle for
marijuana reform.

Our hope is to give these combatants, and
others considering similar reform efforts, a documentary that offers
them cover by shining a light on the difficult path ahead.