POST CATEGORY: Access, Northwest, Opinion

Barely Legal

December 01, 2012 | NORTHWEST LEAF

What patients need to know about living in an I-502 world

Does I-502 affect my current authorization or possession limits?

No. Medical marijuana laws remain unchanged under I-502. This means that RCW 69.51A is still the law of the land in regards to medical Cannabis. Patients can still grow up to 15 plants and possess 24 ounces of usable medicine.

Do I still need my authorization to get pot at access points?

Yes. Without a valid authorization you will not be able to obtain medicine from access points. All non-patients will need to wait until the state-licensed stores pop-up in a year or more to obtain that legal bud.

Now can I share my medical pot with recreational users?

No. State MMJ law does not allow you to share your medical Cannabis with non-patients. Doing so is a crime under RCW 69.51A and I-502.



When will the state-licensed stores be open?

It will take time, that's for sure. Under I-502, Washington has 'til Dec. 1, 2013 to establish a licensing scheme and program for establishing the stores. Given how slowly Olympia works, expect to see the first stores late 2014 at the very earliest.



Can I defend a pot DUI if I am a medical patient?

No. As of Dec.  6th the DUI component of I-502 is considered "per se," meaning that anyone (patient or non-patient) who is found driving with over 5ng/ml of active THC in their bloodstream will be automatically guilty of DUI, regardless of impairment. You do not get to defend this. It's the most disturbing aspect of I-502, making it vital for patients to use discretion when medicating and driving at some point in the future. Never smoke in a vehicle.

Can I medicate in public now that pot is "legal?"

No. Doing so will violate both medical marijuana law and I-502. It could still result in a civil infraction in the city of Seattle, or stronger charges in other counties. The only completely legal place for patients as well as recreational users to use Cannabis is in the privacy of their own home. That means no smoking in city parks, outside of bars or in the back row at a concert. Public display of marijuana is also still not allowed, so don't show what you picked up to your buddies if you want to ensure you're within the law.

How long after smoking can I legally drive?

Wait an hour or more for every half-gram you smoke to give your body time to chill. The legal maximum under I-502 is 5ng/ml but that's a threshold a few tokes will makes you surpass for hours.



What happens if I get pulled over and I have Cannabis or have used recently?

According to Seattle Police, the scent of marijuana in your vehicle alone will not be probable cause for a search, sobriety test and/or blood test. However, this almost certainly will not be the case outside of Seattle. It is extremely important that patients and recreational users not smoke/medicate in their vehicles, and to keep medicine in a sealed environment where the odor cannot be detected by an officer. Definitely put everything into your trunk. 



Does the zero-tolerance for recreational users under 21 apply to medical patients?
Though this has yet to be tested in court, it appears  police could potentially arrest MMJ patients who are underage. Normally this would be something to call the ACLU about, but they're the people who helped fuel this arbitrary law's passing. Same goes for the DUI limit on patients. If you are a minor Cannabis patient it is extremely important to use discretion and tact about when/where you medicate, and who you inform about your patient status.

Will my local access point remain open after the state stores open?

This is a gray area, but probably. Patients will still need access to quality medicine and personal treatment, something the State will not provide. People will still want to become patients because it offers more protection from the law, better possession limits, and the ability to cultivate your own medicine.

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