By Ezra Eickmeyer
The sponsor of I-502, New Approach Washington, in collusion with Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger, have been accusing the medical cannabis community of opposing Initiative 502 because of greed.
So, let’s say for the sake of argument that everyone who provides cannabis to patients was just a greedy capitalist trying to get a million bucks. We all know that is NOT the truth at all, but just humor me for a moment.
Their current “market” consists of medical patients ONLY, no more than 160,000 people, but very likely less. Considering that these patients are mostly in the Puget Sound region, we estimate that about 2 to 4 percent of the population either has become or will become a patient.
I-502, assuming the feds don’t trample it, would open up the market to everyone over 21, or close to 5 million people, of which 10 to 30 percent are likely customers. That seems like a huge increase from 2-4% of the population. I can be bad at math and almost flunked trig in school, but I think 502 would potentially provide a 250 percent to 700+ percent increase in the size of the state’s legal cannabis “market.”
In other words, 502 would open up the largest cannabis market ever known in modern history and more money is to be made with the passage of 502 than under current law, right?
Tell me how greed would push a capitalist to oppose an initiative that would increase the market from well under 200,000 people statewide to possibly a million or more adults overnight? Where is the math I am missing here?
According to the Yes On 502 smear machine, greed is causing greedy people to oppose the option to make more money… How does that work?
I-502 authors and political strategists know that the only force that could finance a campaign strong enough to bring 502 down is the medical cannabis community. The cops seem unconcerned (they will have new enforcement tools on cannabis and won’t lose a single union job to this initiative or they’d be all over killing 502) and the “save the children” anti-legalization crowd has been utterly silent.
Knowing all this, the plan was laid months ago by New Approach Washington to start demonizing the medical community as just greedy and as just trying to protect “stoned driving.”.
Greed is obviously and plainly not the factor pushing almost the entirety of the medical community against 502. I know very few people in the medical community who are against legalization, or who are just in it for the greed. They have everything to benefit from legalization.
The reality is that the providers become very protective of their patients and have a history of advocating for patient rights, even sometimes at the expense of their own bottom line and legal security. The details of this initiative are terrifying and do their own work of turning patients against it.
It’s bad enough that NAW is so willing to throw medical patients under their bus just to be the first ones to pass a decriminalization initiative, and it is very sad to see the tactics being deployed to crush opposition to 502 — but twisting the image of those who have taken such risks to help sick people is over the top.
New Approach Washington and their attack dogs at The Stranger should hold a little more integrity than to try and make demons out of compassionate risk-takers for the sake of winning an election.
|Ezra Eickmeyer wrote this article for Toke of the Town
Ezra Eickmeyer is a professional political operative of 16 years, including 10 years as an Olympia business lobbyist. He has represented organizations such as NORML, Washington Cannabis Association and Safe Access Alliance to various governments and was instrumental in securing provisions in SB 5073 (2011) that established collective gardens as viable access points. He has also volunteered extensively for Hempfest and other non-profits.