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and we could use a push from you and your church if we are to protect children this year instead of next. While churches are not allowed to advocate for or against politicians they are able to be fully active in initiative campaigns. A church may ask is members to sign petitions or gather signatures and are allowed to encourage their members to vote for or against ballot initiatives. There is an initiative set to be on the November ballot that proponents claim would “legalize” the external possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana, I-502. I say “the external possession” because the proposed initiative would make the internal possession of marijuana while driving a crime under many circumstances, even if the driver was never impaired. Patients successfully treating seizure or spasticity disorders with marijuana now would need to choose between being safe drivers and being legal drivers. States that have legalized medical marijuana have seen 5% drop in beer sales resulting in a 9% drop in alcohol related fatalities. How much further would those alcohol sales drop if adults were simply able to grow their own marijuana or share it socially with friends like people currently do with beer and wine. (http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2011/11/medical_marijuana_laws_fewer_traffic_deaths.php) I-502 is a ruse by the alcohol industry to protect its profits. It was written by the same person, John McKay, who wrote I-1183 which will soon close the Washington State liquor store, putting hard alcohol where minors can more easily shoplift it. I-502 is a continuation of that industry’s effort to retain market share. They currently control the only legal way for most people who do not pray to feel better without a prescription. Under I-502 it would remain a felony for people to transfer marijuana from one adult to another preventing any social use even with ones spouse. I-502 may very well end medical marijuana in Washington State as we know it by making it illegal for virtually any person that use cannabis therapeutically to legally drive. It would also force the closure of all access points until they got a license from the state. Licenses the state is very unlikely to grant as the federal government has threatened to arrest any state employee that issued a similar license for medical purposes only. http://archive.org/details/WAGovernorGregoirePartialVetoSB5073MedicalCannabisBill The most destructive thing I-502 does though is to make felons out of our children for days or even weeks after the last time they consumed any marijuana or if they had close contact with a marijuana smoker and then needed to drive, even if the youth had never consumed marijuana in their entire life. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21763088) So what is a Christian to do when they see mostly children and young adults, 47% of those arrested for marijuana offenses currently are under 23, being put in jail with pedophiles and other criminals for possession of one of God’s creations? The most destructive thing about marijuana is not using it but a conviction that may end a young person’s future by closing of educational or job opportunities. How can we as citizens continue to allow our government to protect the profits of the alcohol industry and other corporate giants at the expense of our children? Our government is manufacturing criminals out of children, by sending them to jail when they have hurt no one and giving them criminal records for choosing a path safer than alcohol. We must stand up and say enough is enough. Our current laws do not prevent any one that wants marijuana from getting it and encourage our youth to sell it. What has been proposed by the alcohol industry is worse yet. Tobacco kills more Americans than any other preventable cause. Years of well funded research shows the only connection between marijuana smoking and cancer is that it seems to prevent most cancers from occurring in tissue the smoke or ointment comes in contact with. If people who wanted to smoke were allowed this far safer alternative billions of dollars in medical bills would be saved annually and many of our friends or relatives would still be with or would be far healthier.
Even caffeine that most children have ready access to without parental approval and is sold in vending machines kills more Americans every day (approx 6) then marijuana alone has in all of recorded history, including through traffic accidents. The real reason marijuana is against the law to produce or possess is not to protect children or even adults, but is to protect the profits of major corporations. I-502 is simply a continuation of that policy. The Cannabis Child Protection Act takes a very different approach. We do not think that corporate profits should come at the expense of our children. We believe the greatest factors driving marijuana into the hands of the youngest members of our society are the fact that sales and sharing marijuana are treated as the same offense, penalties for adult commerce are extreme compared to penalties for those under 18, and being a drug dealer the highest paying job a high school or collage student can get. CCPA can change two out of three of these, but I-502 would very likely not fix any of them. First it would remain a felony for a minor to sell marijuana or for an adult to sell it to a minor, with the one exception that if the minor sells to another minor less than 3 years younger it is a misdemeanor. This mirrors current law. Minors caught sharing when there is no commercial activity would at most receive a civil infraction for a first offence and a misdemeanor for subsequent offences. Making it less of a crime to share marijuana than to sell should be the greatest factor in minimizing marijuana commerce by our young people. This law actually encourages people to profit from sales to anyone they would consume with. Second currently any violation of the control substance act is a felony. The one exception is possession of less than 40 grams, or about an ounce and a half of marijuana. Under the CCPA adults would be able to grow, possess, and transfer marijuana for personal use and limited economic activity as long as they did not involve minors in line with the rights not granted to the respective governments by the people of the United States and the State of Washington. Third the CCPA can not create good paying jobs for young people. What it can do is lower the profits to be made from marijuana sales and encourage people that transfer marijuana to ask for ID because it would be legal for adults to transfer marijuana to other adults but remain a crime for an adult under almost all circumstances to transfer marijuana to a minor. CCPA is not funded by a political party, lawyers, or corporate interests, nor does it need to be. It is a grass root effort about protecting people not profits. Our mission is to protect kids from laws that encourage adults to use them to sell marijuana and other drugs. It is about making sure that people have the right to use a plant that God gave us to improve our health. To choose the medicine that works best for the patient even if it does not come out of a pill or alcohol bottle. It is about people coming together to do the right thing for the right reason. Marijuana legalization is coming to Washington State, possibly this year. Your church can have a major say it what legalization looks like by allowing the public a choice. The question about marijuana for a long time has been “What but the children?” The CCPA answers that question. We ask you to take the time to read what the CCPA has to say. I-1223 and I-514 are the same except for when the signatures need to be turned in and when they would be voted on. The future of many young people will be affected by your action or inaction. Once again may God bless us all.
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