Reformers Charge Washington State Government with Using Federal Funds to Politic Against Drug Reform Initiative 9/28/97

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(Reprinted from the NORML Weekly News, courtesy of the NORML FOUNDATION, [email protected],

Proponents of a Washington initiative to reform state drug laws filed complaints with the Public Disclosure Commission and state Ethics Board questioning whether Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen was misusing federal funds to campaign against Initiative 685, "The Drug Medicalization and Prevention Act of 1997." Owen, who vocally admits he opposes I-685, alleges that his present $170,000 anti- marijuana effort is an outgrowth of ten years of anti-drug work and is not an attempt to persuade voters to reject the initiative this fall.

Tacoma physician Rob Killian, who filed the initiative this spring, thinks otherwise. "Ever since I filed this, I've had the federal) government running a campaign against me," he told the Seattle Times. "They will break the law any way they can to ensure there isn't another voice in this war on drugs."

A spokesman for Owen told reporters that the lieutenant governor's staff is aware that current laws prohibit tax dollars from being used to fund a political campaign. However, Owens' advisor on the project -- whose salary is paid with federal funds -- admits that past and present initiatives need to be addressed by the office's current anti-marijuana strategy. "We do take on the drug- legitimizing movement," said program manager Patrick Aaby. Federal moneys also paid for multiple copies of anti- marijuana books and audiovisual materials. The handbook contains detailed arguments against medical marijuana, a key platform of the I-685 campaign.

DRCNet NOTES: The Washington state "anti-marijuana" report also contains criticism of the initiatives passed last year in California and Arizona and of the wealthy individuals who helped to finance them.

Copies of Initiative 685 are available on the web at

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Issue #13, 9/28/97 Campaign '97 Update | 9 Year-Old Busted on Candy Rap | Another French Official Speaks Out for Legalization of Cannabis | Mexican Priest Praises Drug Traffickers' Benevolence... Journalists Attacked by Archbishop's Aides for Asking Questions about the Incident | Baltimore Health Commissioner Testifies on Needle Exchange | Spy vs. Spy | Cia Turns 50 | Freudian Slip | Mexican Journalists Terrorized | Former Pakistani Prime Minister's Accounts Alleged to Contain "Drug Money" | Swiss Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Heroin Maintenance and Other Liberal Drug Policies | Dutch Heroin Maintenance to go Ahead as "Pilot Project" | Canada's Medical Marijuana Prohibition Challenged by Multiple Sclerosis Patient | Reformers Charge Washington State Government with Using Federal Funds to Politic Against Drug Reform Initiative | Black Market Meth Labs Kill One Child, Force Evacuation of 30 Families | Shalala Continues to be Dogged by Needle Exchange Questions | Editorial: World Gone Mad
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