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December 6th, 2012
10:08 AM ET

"No on I-502" Committee Manager Steve Sarich says new law legalizing recreational pot use in WA 'criminalizes' medical marijuana patients, wants law overturned

A new law legalizing recreational marijuana use in Washington takes effect today. Adults 21 and over are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, and while many in the state are lighting up and celebrating the law today, not everyone is supporting it. Steve Sarich is the Executive Director of the Cannibis Action Coalition and runs a local dispensary for medical marijuana patients. He’s also the Manager of the "No on I-502" Committee, which was the most vocal opponent of the Washington law being passed. He shares his view live from Seattle on “Starting Point” this morning.

Sarich and the “No on I-502” group have filed a lawsuit attempting to get the law overturned. The committee sites new DUI rules for their opposition. “My job is to protect patients in the state of Washington,” Sarich says. “And this law criminalizes every single medical marijuana patient every single time they drive,” especially for those under 21. Sarich explains that active THC can stay in the system for up to 30 days. So “that legal joint you smoked two weeks ago is still in your system today, and under the new law if you get pulled over, and they take your blood, you’re going to be guilty of per se DUID” which is “a life changing crime for those under 21.”

He considers the new driving laws and possession limit arbitrary. “We’re not talking about impairment. We’re not taking about highway safety. We’re talking convicting people simply for having trace amounts of THC in their blood,” Sarich says. “Now they’re saying you can legally have an ounce of marijuana, you just better not put it in your body.”

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  1. Max

    Steve is a troll. His views represent only a minute faction of cannabis reformers – mostly dispensary owners. The fact that he is still fighting I-502 indicates he does what internet trolls do best – be a persistent pain in the ass.

    Steve has been relegated to the losers circle of angry elderly citizens that cannot comprehend the change they see happening all around them. Next time we hear about him he'll probably be convicted for shooting (previously shot a couple people when they attempted to rob his dispensary) someone for walking on his lawn.


    January 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Mike

    After years of exploiting marijuana prohibition for his personal benefit by facilitating fly by night medical marijuana authorization "clinics" and vertically integrating by selling cannabis to those same patients he got authorizations for, Steve now wants legalization overturned to protect his former customers? Now noble! I'm sure his objections have nothing to do with the loss of his revenue stream, right?

    January 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ken Martin Jr.

    Thank goodness medical cannabis patients, not stoners, have an advocate as knowledgeable as Steve Sarich to stand up for their rights. This trainwreck of a law, I-502, never would have been passed if voters knew more about the "per se" DUID limit of 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. We all want impaired drivers off the road, but almost all medical cannabis patients have more than 5 nanograms in their system. Even if they did not use any cannabis the day of the blood draw, they would still have more than the legal limit which would make them guilty of a DUID offense under this law. Also, a student on financial aid could lose their funding if they were convicted of this drug offense. Even in New Approach Washington/Yes on I-502 own literature, it states that residual active THC can stay in a persons system longer than a day. Their own Outreach Director stated to me that the only reason they put in such a ridiculously low amount was to garner the support of state law enforcement. In my opinion, NAW/Yes on I-502 deceived the voters of Washington. I support Mr. Sarich in his effort to repeal I-502. KMJ.

    December 7, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse | Reply

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