At a pro-medical marijuana rally on Thursday, many participants said they were against legalization because it would cause prices to skyrocket.
Medical marijuana patients and their suppliers gathered at the federal courthouse in Seattle, angry about a federal crackdown they said is putting dispensaries out of business even though under state law, medical marijuana is legal.
Many at the rally said they believe Initiative 502 will do more harm than good to the cause of legalizing marijuana.
The initiative would make it legal for adults over 21 years old to possess an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.
There would be penalties for driving while impaired, and total taxes on sales would add up to 40 percent and generate $1.9 billion in state revenue over a period of five years.
Many view the initiative with suspicion.
“It’s a total disaster, and frankly, it’s a total disaster for recreational users,” said medical marijuana user and supplier Steve Sarich.
But the leader of the initiative campaign sees it differently.
“In our society, we like to have control and regulation, especially of intoxicating substances,” said Allison Holcomb.
Some medical marijuana patients feel the proposed DUI standards are so strict they will never be able to drive while using cannabis, but supporters of the initiative say that’s necessary.
“While I can appreciate that some people would simply like to ‘free the weed,’ as it were, that's simply not the way that most of society feels how we should approach changing marijuana laws,” said Holcomb.
Supporters of the initiative said their cautious approach is worth it, because it lifts an expensive burden from the criminal justice system.