According to a 1930 news bulletin issued by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, “A user of marijuana becomes a fiend with savage or cave man tendencies …. he suddenly becomes violent and may kill.”
A total of 27 states passed laws criminalizing marijuana and in 1937, after two 30 minute hearings, President Franklin Roosevelt put the “Marihuana Tax Act” in effect, the same criminal prohibition of marijuana that remains in place today.
Washington is 1 of 16 states that allows medical marijuana. Doug Reggio, a medical marijuana patient who uses marijuana for both anxiety and depression said, “At one point in my life I was on 10 different medications, which of course none of them were side effect free, sometimes my meds would keep me up for over 48 hours, man it was horrible.”
According to Reggio, legalizing marijuana would be profitable calling it a “green gold rush.”
In the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) crop report marijuana comes in at number two for Washington’s top cash crop, with apples being number one. In the United States as a whole, marijuana trumps all with an estimated production value of about $35.8 billion. That is almost double the production value of corn in the United States.
A local medical marijuana grower who asked to be unidentified said, “I make an extra $100,000 a year just by growing marijuana.”
According to him, if legalized, there will be new job openings, less populated jails which in turn will leave room for “actual” criminals, and states will have additional money to put towards things like education. “Marijuana alone can save the schools,” he said.
“Marijuana is just the start, everyone keeps forgetting about hemp, which can also become a billion dollar cash crop, hell even George Washington had fields of hemp,” he said.
Hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant providing tough fibers and very low Tetrahydrocannabinol, most commonly known as THC. Smokable marijuana only comes from the female plant, whereas hemp can come from both the male and female plant.
According to the “Writings of George Washington,” in a note to his gardener Washington wrote, “Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”
According to local Andrew Withee, “[Marijuana] would be a gateway drug for other drugs to become legalized. Cocaine is made from natural sources, and so are mushrooms. All natural doesn’t mean it’s all good for you.”
Executive Director of NORML Allen St. Pierre, who supports medical marijuana legalization, said in the latest issue of The Stranger, “the medical marijuana industry is driven by profit … it’s not driven by compassion anymore. It is driven by the need to make money.”
Both locals Cristen Mckenzie and Katrina Dvorcek said they want marijuana to be legal but Mckenzie thought “the government will have too much control over it.” Also, “it would bring forth a new influx of problems to bud lovers,” said Dvorcek, “I know a few people who seriously need it in order to survive a day in life and if the government controlled it, I don’t know how they could survive.”
Brian Short, a student at SPSCC said, “It’s somewhat like the passing of liquor being sold in grocery stores. It is now easier to access but you will be paying more money for certain types of alcohol. You will have less to choose from and they won’t be selling airplane shots as well.”
This fall Washington will have a chance to make marijuana legal by voting on Initiative 502, and recently a campaign called No on I-502 claims that “Initiative 502 would penalize medical marijuana users who drive with active THC in their blood. Any driver with five nanograms of THC or more per milliliter of blood will automatically be guilty of driving under the influence.”