Medical Marijuana Initiative Filed in Washington State 3/6/98

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Add Washington to the list of states trying to pass a medicinal marijuana initiative in 1998. Dr. Rob Killian of Tacoma, who led the fight for a failed drug policy reform initiative (I-685) in 1997 is also spearheading this campaign. The 1997 initiative, however, was quite broad, modeled after Arizona's successful Prop. 200. This time, the language is straight medical marijuana, protecting medical users, as well as recommending physicians from prosecution, and its supporters have no doubt that it will get on the ballot, and pass.

Tim Killian of Washington Citizens for Medical Rights told The Week Online, "A lot of people, especially those outside of the state, view the defeat of 685 as a setback. On the contrary, that campaign, for an initiative which went well beyond marijuana, gave us an opportunity to raise the level of discussion about drug policy issues in general around the state. A lot of people who opposed 685 were, for the first time, able to discuss and to learn about the issue of medical marijuana in a rational and intelligent forum. Many legislators and even a lot of editorial boards around the state went on record saying that they could support a narrowly drawn medical marijuana initiative, but opposed the more broadly written text of 685. Well, this time we have narrowed the focus of our efforts to encompass only medical marijuana, and the legal protection of doctors and patients, and we're expecting the support of a lot of people who probably wouldn't have been on our side had it not been for the 685 experience."

NOTE: Washington Citizens for Medical Rights is looking for volunteers, as well as contributions. If you are interested, and would like to help, you can contact them at (206) 781-7716, or e-mail to [email protected], or send checks (made payable to Washington Citizens for Medical Rights) to P.O. Box 2346, Seattle, WA 98111.

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