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Washington Marijuana Legalization Initiative Ahead in New Poll

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #739)

An initiative to regulate and legalize marijuana in Washington state was leading by 13 points in a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday. The poll had support for the initiative, I-502, at 50%, with 37% opposed and 13% undecided.

Seattle skyline
The poll is good, but not great, news for New Approach Washington, the high-powered group behind the initiative campaign. It shows support two points higher than a similar poll in January, but not high enough for the campaign to have much of a comfort zone.

The conventional wisdom among initiative watchers is that initiatives should be polling at 60% or above going in because opposition during the campaign season is bound to shave some points away by election day. That means that while New Approach Washington can take succor in the lead it holds, it still has its work cut out for it to cross the finish line victorious.

Looking at the cross tabs, support for legalization was higher among men (55%) than women (46%) and all age groups except the over-65 had support higher than 50%. Somewhat surprisingly, support was highest among those aged 46 to 65 (55%), followed by those aged 30 to 45 (54%) and those aged 18 to 29 (52%).

A large partisan divide has also emerged, with legalization supported by a whopping 70% of Democrats, but only 22% of Republicans. Independents came in at 54% in support. And although Washington's minority population is small, non-whites are supporting legalization at a higher rate (60%) than whites (49%). 

Public Policy Polling surveyed 1,073 Washington voters from through automated telephone interviews from June 14 to June 17. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.0%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization.

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.


Malc (not verified)


Prohibition is not simply a 'War on Reason' it is a dire threat to the very fabric of our nation, a slow but relentless degradation (death by a zillion cuts) of all our cherished national institutions, inclusive the nightmare of new and far more deadlier substitute-concoctions (bathtub-meth, crack-cocaine, crocodile-heroin-ersatz, and synthetic marijuana) that will leave us crippled for numerous generations. 

We are collectively choosing to pretend that the hard lessons of alcohol prohibition - the sudden increase in organized crime, corruption, moral decay, the nightmare of poisonous-bathtub-concoctions, economic collapse, mass unemployment, and the only time a Constitutional Amendment has ever needed repealing - never happened. What is wrong with us? 

Imagine if we were to chop down every single tree on the planet as a response to our failure to prevent tree-climbing accidents. That's exactly what our misguided drug policy looks like. Neurotics build castles in the sky, psychotics live in them; the concept of a "Drug-Free Society" is a neurotic fantasy and Prohibition's ills are a product of this psychotic delusion.

Wed, 06/20/2012 - 7:41am Permalink
Chris o (not verified)

Vote yes I pay tax Vote no I make a phone call and in 30mins or less my cannabis arrives at my door fresh and hot like a pizza Vote yes or no the only difference is how I get it not if i can get it....
Thu, 06/21/2012 - 12:24am Permalink
Chris o (not verified)

Vote yes I pay tax Vote no I make a phone call and in 30mins or less my cannabis arrives at my door fresh and hot like a pizza Vote yes or no the only difference is how I get it not if i can get it....
Thu, 06/21/2012 - 12:24am Permalink
youbetcha2 (not verified)

The ones that want to keep sending people to prison for marijuana are punishers. They seem to get an odd pleasure from watching others suffer. I don't know what motivates them, and am not sure I want to. One thing is for sure they are out there. If the law passes many less people will lose their freedom, that should be viewed as a good thing.   

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 10:16am Permalink
Jeff Brown (not verified)


Thankyou people of Washington  for all the hard work. The people are waking up to all the lies about this plant and it is just a matter of time before the plant is free for all its uses. Cannabis is the most useful plant on the planet. Food, clothing, shelter, energy, medicine, insight, recreation. The ones who are keeping it illegal are the criminals and liars. Slowly but surely even some of these are changing their hearts. one love Jeff Brown 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 2:01pm Permalink
gypski (not verified)

I-502 is one of the worst legalization [sic] initiatives on the ballot.  It has a DUID provision based on non-scientific parameters of 0.05 ng per ml of blood as a level of impairment.  This erroneous levels puts every medical cannabis user in jeopardy for a DUID possibly based on false pretext and invented probable cause.


Vote No on Prohibition Lite I-502.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 4:01pm Permalink
notSpicoli (not verified)

In reply to by gypski (not verified)

"I-502 is one of the worst legalization [sic] initiatives on the ballot."

There are all of two statewide legalization initiatives on ballots in November, Colorado and Washington.

Paul Armentano of NORML writes:

"To clarify, the provision in question [the DUI-C provision of I-502] explicitly excludes the presence of marijuana metabolites to be used as evidence of a DUI violation...Further, probable cause of DUI is still necessary before any blood draw of a suspect could be obtained, which is the same standard that exists now." June 20, 2012

The DUI-Cannabis provisions under I-502 apply in only one circumstance: impaired driving.

The DUI-Cannabis provisions under I-502 apply in only one circumstance: impaired driving.  Probable cause based on impairment to be stopped, followed by reasonable observations of impairment, and specifically impairment caused by drugs, will be required prior to a blood draw.

If, and only if, a driver is stopped with probable cause for suspected impaired driving, and there are reasonable grounds for believing that a driver is impaired, and reasonable grounds to believe the impairment is caused by marijuana or a drug other than alcohol, the officer may arrest and a blood test may be required. Blood tests can only be done when there is sufficient evidence that impairment is caused by a substance other than alcohol.

Accurate information about I-502 can be found the New Approach Washington website under the FAQ's.

Sat, 06/23/2012 - 9:29am Permalink
Steve Sarich (not verified)

Let's just look at the logic of this for a second.  They are calling it "legalization", and that's a really cool word that everyone do I.  But you better define it....before you vote for it.


Under the I-502 definition you have to get your cannabis from a state licensed store, that has to get it from a state licensed grower, both of whom are committing federal crimes, but they have to submit their fingerprints to the FBI to get their state licenses to sell a federally illegal substance.....while the state collects exorbitant sales taxes for every one of those federally illegal ounces sold....and can someone, somehow, explain to me how the Feds are actually going to let this totally bizarre scenario happen in the real world?  


Or do you think this might just end up in a Federal Court for the next five years and stop all other efforts to get real legalization passed in this state? (John McKay has stated that he thinks that it will be the latter scenario...and he thinks that the Feds are already working on the lawsuit)  Mr. McKay, however, will not be one of those federally raided over that five year period while this is fought out in federal court.  He has already stated that he will never smoke pot and he thinks that those that do are "stupid". 


So many have gone before you....and me.  They have fought, and suffered, for so long...and many, like my friend Eddy Lepp, are still sitting in federal and state prisons....for doing nothing more than growing a totally harmless plant. 


PLEASE don't sell out now!  If you are committed to legalization, fight for REAL legalization.  If you still cannot grow a single plant on your own property in this state, without spending years in prison, no on should DARE call this "legalization".  Sorry....that's just shameful.


And please don't sell out the medical cannabis patients in Washington if all you want is an easy way to buy government controlled pot. Please try to set your sights slightly higher than that.


Steve Sarich

NO On I-502 Committe

Sat, 06/23/2012 - 5:58am Permalink
Bobquest (not verified)

In reply to by Steve Sarich (not verified)

I disagree with you, and I support 502.

Legalization will not create any "conflict" at all, as some claim, between state and federal law. 502 Legalization simply removes the state law to create a state silence on the marijuana issue.  Therefore no conflict will exist between federal and state law because only Federal law will exist after 502 passage. Numerous examples exist (i.e. aviation crimes) where federal crimes are not necessarily proscribed by state laws.  502 would presumably create one of those examples.

Furthermore, if the Federal Government has preempted this area of law, which it seems it has, then the States should step aside and not have laws in effect that overlap with Federal law, as is the case now.  Removal of all state prohibitions would appropriately create much needed uniformity in our Federal system.

Support 502!

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 12:18pm Permalink

The editorial by John McKay quoted by Steve Sirach (who knows intimately the violence surrounding marijuana prohibition), can be found at the New Approach Washington website.

I don't recall McKay saying that marijuana users are "stupid."

What he has said is, "I DON'T smoke pot. And I pretty much think people who do are idiots." The full editorial in the Seattle Times is found at

In another article McKay uses the word, "stupid." What McKay has said is that he has long has considered marijuana prohibition a failed policy, and "I can say the law is stupid." McKay confirmed that he does not use marijuana and that his position is based on a belief that marijuana prohibition has failed.

Sat, 06/23/2012 - 9:42am Permalink


I grew up near Seattle and now live on the East coast, out of economic necessity (academic jobs do not grow on trees). I hope you independent Washington citizens will make me proud this fall by supporting this initiative and becoming one of the first states (along with Colorado and Oregon) to say "No!" prohibition, and "Yes!" to a world of rational drug policy.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 10:26pm Permalink

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