Roger Goodman Says the Legislature is Far From Done with Pot

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Does anybody think that the passage of I-502 is the last word on marijuana policy in this state? If so, think again.

*See also:What's Next for I-502

As discussed after the election, the feds have yet to reveal what they intend to do. But also, there's the legislature, which could still tinker around pretty significantly.

Having won a convincing victory against challenger Joel Hussey, State Rep. Roger Goodman says he's prepared to take on pot in the coming session. Goodman is an interesting figure. While for many years he has championed legalization, he has also argued for controls. Most recently, he raised eyebrows among pot activists by telling The Seattle Times, for its expose on Wild West culture of dispensaries, that "we need to overregulate" the industry and become more permissive over time.

So we asked Goodman if he still believes in overregulation, whatever that means. He says he does, and gives an example. "I've gotten into some hot water over this," he says, "but I believe that cannabis should not be allowed in the passenger compartment of a vehicle." By that he means, the body of a car. "Put it in the trunk!" he says.

He says it's a matter of public safety to make sure that drivers are neither smoking pot, nor getting a secondhand high. But on a more vital question of stoned driving, he's thinking about trying to add some leeway to the rules set by I-502.

As critics of the initiative pointed out again and again, the initiative contains a DUI provision that would result in an automatic conviction for drivers found with 5 nanograms of active THC (a chemical in marijuana) in their bloodstream. Medical marijuana patients complained that, given their heavy use of the drug, their THC level would almost always exceed that limit.

Goodman, who says he'd like to hold a series of hearings on impaired driving, favors enacting a special "protection" for patients that would hold them to a different standard. Law enforcement would not only have to show results of a blood test, but of a "separate evaluation" to determine whether a patient's driving was impaired.

I-502's critics may also be heartened to learn that Goodman says he'd like to address the lack of a home grow provision in the initiative. "At the moment, home production is illegal," he says, a situation he'd like to change while at the same time stipulating rules to make sure people are only growing small amounts at home. In his suburban 45th District, which stretches form Kirkland to the Snoqualmie Valley, he says he's always hearing about larger "grow houses at the end of cul-de-sacs and everybody complains about it."

In the pre-502 landscape, Goodman would have faced an uphill battle for his more lenient proposals. There's a reason marijuana legalization happened by initiative, not legislative action. But 502 dramatically alters the scene. Asked what the legislative landscape around pot is now likely to be, Goodman says "it's really hard to tell." Among other things, he points out, there's a new governor in the mix.

Governor-elect Jay Inslee repeatedly said during the campaign that he opposed I-502. While he indicated yesterday that he would carry out the will of the people, it's anybody's guess how he would react to loosening the rules even further.

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