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Washington Voters to Decide Marijuana Legalization

An initiative that would legalize the limited possession of marijuana in the state of Washington and tax and regulate its commerce is headed for the November ballot to be decided by the voters after the state legislature punted on the matter last Thursday.

Initiative 502 campaigners handed in more than the 241,153 valid voter signatures required to be certified for the ballot by state officials. But under Washington law, such initiatives are first considered by the legislature, which has the chance to approve them itself.

The initiative was before the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee, but its chair, Rep. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia) said Thursday the committee, and thus the legislature, would take no action.

Passage would have been difficult in the legislature under ordinary circumstances, but was even more difficult because the initiative includes provisions raising taxes (in this case, on marijuana). Any initiative with tax increases requires a two-thirds vote in the legislature.

If passed, the measure would make Washington the first state to legalize the possession and commerce in marijuana and would put it on a collision course with the federal government.

The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot or a pound of marijuana edibles, and they could buy it through state-run stores, much the same way the state handles liquor sales. The state stores would obtain their product from state-licensed growers and processors, with a 25% excise tax at each stage.

The initiative campaign is being run by New Approach Washington, which has brought together an impressive roster of endorsers and supporters, including TV personality and travel writer Rick Steves, former US Attorney for Western Washington, and a number of current and former state elected officials.

"Locking people up and putting handcuffs on them is not the way to resolve our society's issues with regard to marijuana," McKay, told legislators Thursday.

While most of the opposition to the initiative so far is coming from the usual suspects -- law enforcement, drug treatment providers -- some of it is coming from a segment of the state's medical marijuana community, which worries that the measure's setting a limit on THC levels to determine impairment in drivers could result in non-impaired patients being prosecuted.

But Dr. Kim Thorburn, Spokane County's former top public-health official, who spoke in support of the initiative, said those concerns were overblown. "In order to be stopped for impaired driving you have to show impairment," she said. "This is not a concern for medical-marijuana users and has been kind of a red herring that has been raised."

Now, it will be up to the voters to decide whether Washington becomes the first state to legalize marijuana, although by election time, they may not be alone. A similar initiative in Colorado is busy seeking a final 2,500 signatures to qualify for the ballot, while legalization initiative efforts are ongoing in California, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, and Nebraska.

Olympia, WA
United States
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Oregon too

Legalization efforts are also occurring in Oregon.

What ever happened to Nevada?

Back in 2006, a ballot initiative to legalize weed in Nevada got 44% of the vote. Public opinion in the country as a whole has gotten quite a bit more favorable since then. And the economic collapse in Nevada has been worse than average. Can anyone fill me in on the lack of activity in this state? 

maybe not

How are you going to legalize Cannabis in the state of Washington and at the the same time tell folks that they can`t grow their own ? It`s absurd . Washington citizens need to get a grip on this . 

If you look at the booze

If you look at the booze prohibition and how long it took it to be allowed to be 'homemade', perhaps it might put some perspective on just how much resistance there exists on long(more than a year) prohibitions where the demonization has to be taken out of the product in a long process. In effect, the demonizers have to die of old age before Grow ur own or in the case of booze, ferment ur own gets put in place.


Guess I'm saying, be happy for what you can get WHEN it come to a prohibition product.


(THEN... go grow your own(look out for the revenuers))

good advice....then YOU can

good advice....then YOU can be the drug dealer on the corner of the street 

John Thomas's picture

Mike Dar is correct.  Home

Mike Dar is correct.  Home growing is not allowed now, so we would not be losing anything.  On the contrary, we will be gaining A LOT!

Public support for ending marijuana prohibition has now passed 50 percent nationwide.  It's near 60 percent in the Western states.  We are on the cusp of victory!   The first state to re-legalize marijuana will be the huge catalyst that breaks the back of the fraudulent U.S. marijuana prohibition.

It is only the counter-productive prohibition that is the basis for ALL the restrictions on marijuana use.  After the first state re-legalizes marijuana, I predict we will arrive swiftly at the ideal policy - including home growing and reasonable driving restrictions.

Think the Berlin Wall.

maybe not --why not?

by kickback (not verified), wrote on February 12, 2012, 02:26am

"How are you going to legalize Cannabis in the state of Washington and at the the same time tell folks that they can`t grow their own ? It`s absurd . Washington citizens need to get a grip on this ."

I-502 does not repeal, supplant, alter, or amend the state's medical cannabis law which allows for growing.

Currently it is illegal to grow marijuana in Washington without a doctor's recommendation.

If I-502 fails to pass, it would still be illegal to grow non-medicinal use marijuana. If I-502 passes it would still be illegal for private citizens to grow non-medicinal use marijuana.

If I-502 fails, it will still be illegal to sell. buy, and possess up to an ounce of recreational marijuana. If I-502 passes, it will be legal to sell, buy, and possess up to an ounce of recreational marijuana.

A starving man was offered a half a loaf of bread. "No, thanks," he said, "I want a whole loaf or none and I prefer whole wheat and if I can't have what I want when I want it, I would rather die."

Now, about this "absurdity" thing...


It's absurd and outrageous, but it's still a big step forward

But I want some reassurance by the mainstream sponsors of this, that if it wins, and works successfully, especially if it's correlated with a reduction in violence, which seems logical to expect, they will promptly push to legalize the right to grow your own, and hopefully the right to give it away too. If they won't be clear on this, that might change my mind. The right to grow your own cannabis is a fundamental right, all the more so since alcohol is so much more than just legal.


Sorry that I cannot be more public, but I must remain anonymous because I am trying to rebuild my life.  No offense intended to the people who support this bill.....really, but, you all sound like addicts to me.  I know because I am a recovering alcoholic and I see the signs. Have you ever considered attending an AA meeting?  If we as a society spent more money getting rid of this substance than we did trying to legalize it so we can "use" it, the world would be a better place.  No worries though...pretty soon we'll just be able to walk into Walmart and buy a bottle of Jack Daniels (thanks to the recent vote) and that will take care of everything..right?  Just don't forget to explain to the kids why these substances are necessary for us to live a healthy life.   Good luck...I'm just recovering, and I wish the same for all of you!


No offense to the guys who are working this initiative, but you all sound like you might be addicts to me. Have you ever considered attending an AA meeting?   Here's a about about you spend money to get rid of the substance altogether instead of trying to figure out how to keep it available so you and other addicts can "use" whenever you want. The world will be a better place.  No worries though...if this doesn't work out for you, you can always get a bottle of Jack Daniels next time you are in Walmart (thanks to the recent vote).  Just don't forget to explain to your kids why it is so important to need these chemical substances in order to live.  I am currently in recovery and I wish you the best...I hope you all find help sooner rather than later.  Good luck to you all (not with the initiative though). 

People abuse

People abuse religion......People abuse cheeseburgers...Whats your point?   So because you had a bad experience with alcohol you think NOBODY should ever drink it eh?   So with that logic if you gambled away your paycheck then gambling should be made illegal and if you started your own business and it failed and you lost your house then NOBODY should be able to start their own business?  What does alcohol have anything to do with marijuana? Apples and oranges there ANON.  Nobody has ever died due to marijuana use.  How many have died using alcohol?  You say that the world would be a better place if nobody used any substances or had any crutches.  That is A COMPLETE FANTASY.  The world is not a better place. Its a very very ugly place. The ugliness in the world is not due to substance "abuse". The substance "abuse" is the effect NOT the cause. That is why people like to smoke pot and have a few drinks after work and study religion and gamble and lean on other things and substances.  MILLIONS of people do it everyday. Now you come along and say that because a small percentage of people go off the deep end that it should all be banned?   I respect your freedom to choose whatever religion or whatever choices you wish to make in your life even if I dont agree with them. Apparently you dont respect my freedoms.  Go read the constitution and the bill of rights, Then re-read them.  Then re-read them again.   Peace.



oh brain is so friend tht I posted twice....

Thanks to drugs to alcohol. Thanks a lot for your help in encouraging others to embrace drugs and alcohol.... you are all the pillar of society, I am so sure!


How are you going to legalize cannabis in a state where drug testing is thriving?   So you would be able to smoke it but not if you are applying for ANY kind of job. Since drug testing is a billion dollar business now, it will eventually pervade every part of society. They will drug test you for drivers license renewal, applying for a loan, any car accident whatsoever, and when government-run health care kicks in they will get around to drug testing people who visit the doctor.   In my opinion the battle right now (2012) is not legalization but stopping the pervasive and unconstitutional invasion that is drug testing.    Folks, they can WIN the drug war via drug testing.  You can legalize all you want, but if you cant work, visit the doctor, get in any car accidents or receive any kind of loans or benefits while smoking then whats the point? 

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