Legalization drive divides pot supporters

Aug. 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM

SEATTLE, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Attendees at Seattle's annual Hempfest say they're divided over a ballot effort to legalize possession of marijuana in small amounts.

Supporters of Washington's Initiative 502 say it is key to keep the national ball rolling on the issue while others in the pro-marijuana community said they feared people covered by the state's medical marijuana law could be subject to arrest because of 502's impaired-driver provisions, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Washington's measure would eliminate penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for people at least 21 years old and establish tax regulations for marijuana's sale in state-licensed stores.

What concerns medical marijuana users however, is a provision that would create a driving standard based on definable blood limits for marijuana, which is stricter than the current driving-while-impaired laws. Many medical marijuana patients said they don't think they'd be able to meet the standard after smoking their medicinal doses, the Times said.

"I never in a million years imagined myself to be on a stage advocating against the passage of a marijuana legalization law," Steve Elliott, who writes "Toke Signals," a column for the Seattle Weekly, said during a debate on the initiative during a debate at Hempfest.

Legalization measures also are on the ballot in Oregon and Colorado.

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