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Legalizing Marijuana in Seattle and the Role of a DUI Attorney

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | Oct 10, 2012 | 1 Comment

An initiative to legalize Marijuana in Washington state is on the November ballot

Initiative 502 proposes to legalize marijuana in Seattle and Washington State in an effort to better regulate the controversial substance.

There have been a lot of interesting proponents of I-502, including the Children's Alliance, a Seattle-based advocacy group, as well as regional National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the state Labor Council, several former federal law-enforcement officials and Seattle's mayor, city attorney and City Council.

Opponents of I-502 include the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Most opponents feel that legalizing marijuana would create a black market for the substance, which would undermine the ability for the state to collect any revenue and taxes. A surprising opponent of the proposed law is a group that represents medical marijuana patients.

According to this group, new DUI laws that accompany the initiative would be too harsh. According to a Seattle Times blog, I-502 "decriminalizes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults and allows for heavily taxed and regulated sales of cannabis products in state-licensed storefront 'pot shops.' It would set up state-licensed marijuana grow farms, legalize hemp production and pay for hundreds of millions of dollars of drug-abuse research." However, the initiative would also create some of the most stringent DUI laws found around the country.

Opponents of the initiative are against establishing a per se legal limit for marijuana

The group that opposes I-502- but supports the use of medical marijuana- says that the provisions for driving under the influence of marijuana would create too great of a need for DUI attorneys, as drivers could be charged with DUI, although they are not actually impaired. I-502 "provisions institute a per se limit of 5 ng/ml for adults 21 and over, and create a zero tolerance threshold for those under 21," says The Seattle Examiner. However, active THC blood levels do not correlate to being actively impaired, so many medical marijuana patients are concerned that they could be charged with DUI although they are not actually impaired.

If a per se legal limit for marijuana is established, many people fear an increase in marijuana DUI arrests

The No On I-502 website includes information that states that police and law enforcement agencies have already predicted an uptick in arrests, prosecutions and incarcerations if the initiative passes. The site also includes a 2010 article written by DUI Defense Lawyer John Scott Fox that explains, "once an officer hears from the accused that he smoked marijuana or drank alcohol at some point earlier in time, the task is unconsciously transformed into finding evidence to confirm this information."

It is worth noting that although there is a "legal limit" of .08 for driving under the influence of alcohol, there is not currently a "legal limit" of .08 for driving under the influence of marijuana.

If the measure passes and there is an increase in the number of DUIs stemming from marijuana use, you can bet that there will also be an increased role of DUI attorneys in the cases.

At Wolff Defense, we specialize in fighting on behalf of DUI victims. If you have been charged with DUI, give us a call today to discuss your rights. You can't beat the charges without a good DUI lawyer on your side.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 18 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.


andrewshi Reply

Posted Oct 11, 2012 at 14:02:30

Thank you for this forward-looking view into pot DUIs — your passion and insight on marijuana is invaluable.

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