SSDP Endorses I-502, Washington Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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Students for Sensible Drug Policy endorses Initiative 502, Washington’s historic marijuana regulation ballot measure, which will make the state among the first in the nation to license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession, for persons over twenty-one years of age. Although we see this as a step in the right direction, as a group representing young people, predominantly college students, we feel that adopting a zero-tolerance DUI limit for anyone under 21 years of age was misguided.  This translates into a standard of criminalizing anyone — including medical marijuana patients under the age of 21 — with anything over zero nanograms per milliliter of marijuana’s major compounds in their bloodstreams, levels not indicative of actual impairment. We are deeply concerned that this initiative will set a precedent for other states considering similar proposals in the future. Despite its flaws, we recognize that drafters of the initiative intended to mimic Washington state’s policy related to persons under 21 who are caught driving under the influence of alcohol.  This sensible drug policy represents a huge step forward.  It is not the last step in establishing a regulatory model, it is the first.