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Washington Marijuana Legalization Initiative Falls Short

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #692)
Politics & Advocacy

An initiative that would have legalized marijuana in Washington state will not be on the November ballot after organizers Sensible Washington said last week that they had been unable to gather sufficient signatures with their all-volunteer campaign. That's two years in a row that Sensible Washington has come up short in signature-gathering campaigns.

Unless Sensible Washington comes back next year, it will be up to New Approach Washington (image from New Approach WA)
The initiative, I-1149, would have simply removed all criminal and civil penalties related to marijuana and left it to the legislature to come up with a regulatory scheme. It would have created new criminal penalties for pot smokers under age 18 and the people who sold it to them.

"It is with heavy hearts but undiminished resolve that we report that we did not reach our signature gathering goal for I-1149," Sensible Washington said in a blog post. "Simply put, we did not have enough boots on the ground to make it happen."

Relying on volunteer signature-gatherers is always difficult, the group said, and more so during a cold, rainy spring before an off-off-year election.

"We cannot escape the need for at least some level of paid signature gathering," the group said. "As in 2010, we could very easily have garnered the necessary support from the public -- if only we'd had the money. Fundraising needs to be our top priority in the coming months. A full postmortem on the 2011 campaign will be conducted soon, but this much is already obvious."

The Sensible Washington signature drives failed at least in part because the group was unable to bring major state and national players on board. Last year, the ACLU of Washington opposed the initiative, and this year, the group is part of a coalition called New Approach Washington that is campaigning to place a marijuana regulation initiative on the November 2012 ballot.

That initiative is not as radical as I-1149. It would see commerce in marijuana licensed through the state liquor board, would maintain the current ban on personal cultivation except for patients, and includes a drugged driving provision that assumes anyone with a blood concentration of more than 5 nanograms per milliliter is driving under the influence.

The New Approach Washington initiative has won broader backing, both statewide and nationally than the Sensible Washington initiative. It has until December 30 to gather the 241,153 valid signatures needed to make the 2012 ballot.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


I am running my U.S. Congressional campaign AGAINST the War on Drugs 


Other than those who have vested financial interests in not seeing the truth –such as the Pharmaceutical, Tobacco, Alcohol, and Prison Industrial Complex/“Treatment” industries,  

-most people who talk about The War on Drugs agree that it is a failure on every front but what to do…? What can any one person do…?  On the day that I or anyone else who subscribes to my plan takes office in a position with pardon power, THE DRUG WAR IS OVER in that jurisdiction.  While a Governor or a President can’t write law or usually even determine what on the books is enforced, pre-emptive online pardons for actions from that day forward will stop it on day one.  When coupled with a requirement that any distribution have occurred in warning covered packages while banning advertising promotions, usage will drop, -with a precipitous decline in the murders, corruptions, overdoses, environmental poisonings, funding of terrorist/criminal elements, wrong or “right” house raids, horrific imprisonments and other problems caused by the War on Drugs.  -Marc Romain 

Mon, 07/11/2011 - 5:37pm Permalink
Brian Grimmer (not verified)

NAW will make criminals out of patients again. The DUI aspects of NAW have not been explained. What metabolites are searched for? What is the half-life of these metabolites in the human body? What is the standard levels of THC in a regular consuming patient?

At least with booze, we know that x amount of drink = a certain BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). We also know you can piss positive 30 days after a joint and the effects have long since worn off.

Do not support NAW. It does no one any favors except the court system and lawyers.

Thu, 07/14/2011 - 4:02pm Permalink

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