Marijuana: Legalization Has Majority Support in Washington State, Poll Finds

Marijuana legalization has the support of 52% of Washington state voters, according to a poll released last week by The Washington Poll, a quarterly sounding of public opinion on different issues conducted by the University of Washington. Only 35% opposed it, with 13% either undecided or not responding to the question.

Pollsters asked 1,252 registered voters whether they would support "removing state civil and criminal penalties for possession or use of marijuana." That is the precise language used on I-1068, the marijuana legalization initiative sponsored by Sensible Washington, which is now engaged in a signature-gathering campaign to get the measure on the November ballot.

A marijuana legalization initiative is already on the ballot in California, where it leads narrowly in recent polls, but has not cracked 50%. Another legalization initiative is in the signature gathering phase in Oregon. It is unclear whether either the Washington or Oregon initiatives will manage to get onto the ballot in November, but these kinds of numbers can only help the Washington effort.

The Washington Poll did not provide crosstabs with more detailed breakdowns of who did and did not support marijuana legalization. It had a margin of error of 2.8%.

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I-1068 on the ballot -- MAKE IT HAPPEN

If you want I-1068 on the ballot in November, MAKE IT HAPPEN.

1) If you have the right to vote in the state Washington, register to vote if you aren't registered already. If you think you've lost the right to vote, learn about the 2009 change in Felon Voting Rights Restoration law. Information is at http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/osos/en/voterinformation/Pages/felons.aspx You've probably had your right to vote automatically restored without being informed and you can even register online from that web page if you're eligible.

2) Sign and start circulating initiative I-1068 now. Don't delay, don't think you can't get enough signatures to matter, just do it. Every signature counts and petitions don't have to be full to turn in. The Sensible Washington web site has a link to volunteer (http://sensiblewashington.org/volunteer/). Sign up and someone will get back to you with the information you need to get copies of the petition and coordinate with other volunteers. Make certain you understand how to gather valid signatures and remember to sign as circulator on the back. The site has instructions and you can ask for clarification of anything you're not certain about.

3) Get filled petitions returned promptly. If your local coordinator isn't on top of this, mail them in yourself weekly. The address is on every petition. It's not easy for most coordinators to collect the petition and turn them in. It takes time, driving, getting schedules to match and money. Everyone is a volunteer and there's not even reimbursement for coordinators' gas and postage expenses. Mail petitions even more frequently near the deadline as the signatures won't be counted if they aren't turned in on time.

4) Spread the word and be sure to mention the Sensible Washington web site as the place to volunteer and to locate some of the places to sign. If the mass news media was informing people about I-1068 it would already have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. I'm still getting signatures from people who haven't heard about the initiative or haven't known where to sign it. If you can, put up yard signs or do other things to publicize the initiative. Got a blog? Mention I-1068 and Sensible Washington. Mention it in comments on web sites wherever it's appropriate for what ever youfre commenting on. Especially sites that are general interest like newspaper and magazine websites or are oriented to civil liberties, social justice or general political issues. I-1068 isn't just about "legalizing marijuana", it's about repealing unjust laws. The initiative isn't to end laws that imprison marijuana plants, force them into drug rehabilitation programs or deprive marijuana plants of civil liberties. The initiative is to end laws that imprison people, force people into "re-education camps" and deprive people of civil liberties unjustly.

If you can do something high profile like buy a newspaper ad, rent a bill board or get poster ads in very public places that would be wonderful. Imagine the impact of an I-1068 ad on the side of a city bus. Whether Washington Campaign Finance laws will allow ordinary people to do things like these expensive suggestions is unclear.

Democracy Now! is one national radio and TV news source with a web site that would report on I-1068 if aware of it and convinced it was worth using its limited time to mention. It has a place for people to submit story ideas at http://www.democracynow.org/contact?to=1. Make a brief submission suggesting a report on I-1086 and Sensible Washington with some statement about why it is newsworthy and/or why you want to hear about it.

If you aren't a Washington voter.

1) Publicize I-1068. See the suggestions above about publicizing it.

2) Donate to Sensible Washington at https://sensiblewashington.org/donate/.

And don't neglect to support Stop The Drug War.

DRCNet needs your support! Donations can be made by credit card at http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ or sent by mail to P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036-8402. Donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. Deductible contributions supporting our educational work can be made by check to the DRCNet Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, same address.

When's the deadline to submit petitions in Washington?

Those are some nice poll numbers!

Deadline and quickly getting I-1068 petitions

Petitions have to be turned in to the Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. July 2nd. That's why it's so important to keep mailing them in frequently and for more people to get involved immediately.

The number of people who are actually Sensible Washington volunteers is absurdly small and indicates an increase of a couple thousand active circulators this week could mean enough signatures to qualify it by next week assuming they were mostly willing to use the PDF on the website to get their copies of the petition printed at a photocopy shop. 11" by 17", Black and White, Double Sided are legal requirements for the petition to be valid which is why people can't just print it out on their home printers. It's not that expensive and a big photocopy shop like Kinko's can print 11' by 17" from a PDF burned to CD in a few minutes or even print them from a PDF submitted online and have them ready for pickup within a day. Only cost me $39 for 100 copies a while ago doing it instore and they are already used up. Remarkably easy to get signatures if you just go out and try.

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