Washington State Marijuana Legalization Effort Coming Down To The Wire

With a Herculean effort of volunteers, the best of intentions, no financial resources to draw upon, regionalism (i.e., citizens in western WA support cannabis law reform more than the eastern part of the state currently does) and terrible spring weather, well over 100,000 signatures have been gathered to place a ‘legalization’ ballot initiative before the voters this November.

Best-selling Travel Author, TV Host and NORML Advisory Board Member Rick Steves Addresses Over 100,000 Cannabis Law Reform Supporters At The 2008 Seattle Hempfest

The serious challenge in the next 5-7 days: Gather and verify 100,000 more signatures before the looming deadline at month’s end.

Reformers in Washington State are seeking to join California with a legalization ballot this fall; medical cannabis-related ballot initiatives are happening in states such as Arizona, South Dakota and very possibly Oregon.

While the challenge here is great to be sure, I’m heartened to learn that in a last minute push for signatures, the organizers at Sensible Washington have partnered with a popular alternative weekly, The Stranger, to distribute 80,000 signature forms in this week’s run of papers.

Please, if you live in Washington, get a copy of The Stranger ASAP or download the necessary signature forms here, follow the basic instructions, get 5-10 or more of your like-minded friends, family and co-workers to sign the forms, and rush the forms back to the organizers for verification and submission before the deadline.

The organizers are imploring supporters to get the forms back to them no later than June 28 if possible to avoid a crush before the July 1st filing date.

If you live outside of Washington State, 1) please contact friends and loved ones and encourage them to do a little something for personal freedom and liberty before the end of the weekend and 2) make a financial donation in support of a genuinely grassroots efforts in Washington State to place it among the 3-4 other states this fall with pro-reform measures being placed directly before citizens for ‘up or down’ votes.

Thanks for caring and sharing!

Cannabem liberemus,

Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director                                                                                NORML                                                                                                                          Washington, D.C.

One Week Left, We Can Get This Done

Written by Philip Dawdy,

We’ve got one left in I-1068’s signature gathering campaign. In 1999, the all-volunteer I-695 campaign got 250,000 signatures in the campaign’s final two weeks. The people of this state were angry at high car taxes and an initiative that offered to replace onerous taxes with a flat $30 car tab was so appealing that in that campaign’s final weeks thousands of volunteers hit the streets to make sure the initiative got on the ballot. How’d they do that?

“It’s not rocket science,” Tim Eyman once told me about making I-695’s final weeks successful.

We just need to get as many people as possible in front of as many of their fellow citizens as possible. That’s all.

With I-1068, I’m pretty sure we’ve got an issue that rings the public’s bells as hard as car taxes did in 1999. I-1068 offers marijuana legalization and subsequent re-regulation by the State Legislature instead of the continuance of onerous and wasteful criminal penalties for adult use, possession and cultivation. There’s plenty of polling at this point to suggest that the public embraces the concept. We’ve just got to get the signatures.

Right now, we need to get about two-thirds of the 250,000 signatures I-695 got in 1999 to make sure I-1068 gets on the ballot. If they could do it in 1999, we can do it in 2010. We just have to stay on the job.

And to do that we need you to continue collecting signatures and to help us find new volunteers. You should also take a look at this instant volunteer kit created by one of our Bellingham coordinators Matthew Scott.

If you need copies of the initiative, you can contact your area coordinator. A list of coordinators statewide is here. We’ve got many thousands of copies of I-1068 available statewide. And you can always fill out our volunteer form right here.

Please only have it reproduced on 11×17 paper, double-sided, black and white. You’ll need to go to a professional print shop to do it–sorry, but the rules in this state are so archaic–but you can handle most of that exchange via email with most shops. Or you can upload it to a website such as Fedex Office allows and place your order electronically and pick it soon after at one of their local outlets.

You can keep on top of events we’re covering by keeping in touch with us on Facebook.

So let’s get out there and get this done. We need every signed petition in the state sent our way each ASAP, no later than June 28 if possible. Our mailing address is on the petition.

* * *

80,000 Copies Of I-1068 Will Be In The Stranger June 23

You read that right. Sensible Washington–thanks to our many supporters’ contributions–is paying to have I-1068 inserted into each copy of The Stranger’s 80,000 print run this Wednesday June 23rd. We’ll also have a full page ad explaining to people how they can sign the initiative, get their friends and family to sign it, and send it on into us by the end of June 28th.

We’re doing this because the weather has been awful all spring (June is already at 200+ percent of normal precipitation for the month) and it’s been very difficult to intersect with the voting public in the Seattle Metro area to get their signatures on I-1068. So tell all your friends and neighbors to get a copy of this week’s Stranger and to get us a bunch of signatures and mail them in by the end of June 28th to the address on the petition.

33 thoughts

  1. Can someone tell me if this kind of thing is possible to be done in the state of Missouri? I really need medical marijuana, would love to just have it recreationally availible, but I have 8 herniated discs in my back, 2 in my neck, carpel tunnel in both hands, both knees need more surgeries, and I have a great chance of having MS (genetics). And my doctor has told me recently, that if I piss positive for pot again, EVEN THOUGH ALL MY MEDS ARE IN SYSTEM, I will be fired from his office. Please help in the bible belt. I understand this is a slow process, but I am beginning to think I need to move to Boulder CO

  2. Wow, this is exciting!!! Com’mon Washington!!! Lets have not one but two states make a bold statement against these unnecessary laws. Even if you dont live in Washington but know someone that does, contact them and get them to act. If two states do fully legalize marijuana and 3 others legalize medical, that sends a clear message to politicians that this is a political subject where the tide is shifting.

  3. Why weren’t you guys pushing this earlier?

    You really dropped the ball on this one. People I talk to have no idea and are amazed these measures are even out there. NORML at the national and state level has almost completely missed this chance to potentially have marijuana legalized on the entire West Coast. I don’t understand why these issues weren’t on the front page everyday. Isn’t that the entire purpose of your organization?

    What about Oregon? We also need 100,000 signatures and have more time to do it. Not even a mention!

    [Editor’s note: The organizers in Oregon only sought NORML’s help in the last few days…often, efforts to reform medical cannabis don’t seek the help of legalization groups in fear of tainting their efforts as ‘legalization’. Re Washington State, NORML was the only reform organization to endorse the initiative in February (MPP, ACLU, DPA, etc…did not), and the organization has been working on fundraising and sending alerts to hundreds of thousands of cannabis law reform supporters on behalf of Sensible Washington.

    One need not question NORML’s existence, but, one might wonder why the other groups exist if they, and the millions they have under endowment to readily draw upon, choose to not at all support a grassroots effort to legalize cannabis in WA.]

  4. Legalization is the language I most want to hear and read about. The federal g’ment is still nipping at our heels and it needs to end.

    Washington state will be our new home come Sunday. We’ll be in the eastern portion too and I’d advise those who oppose Legalization to get out of my way. No more lies will be tolerated from the filthy lips of Prohibitionists. Just a shot across the bow for now but it’ll only be that one warning. (no physical harm will come to any person, place, or thing). What will come? The Truth, again and again and again.

  5. Yes Washington! We can do it!

    I’m one of the volunteers in Washington. There’s a bunch of us working our tails off for I-1068, in addition to our full time jobs and in some cases, school.

    We want to free the people!

    If you live in WA, please help us out by picking up a copy of the Stranger. Its FREE from news stands everywhere up and down I-5. Instructions are included. :):):):)

    THANK YOU!!

  6. If it doesnt include something about drug testing for work and driving under the influence it is just a big sick joke.

    Go ahead and smoke legal weed. Good luck ever getting a job or keeping out of drug classes. lol

  7. Thank you to everybody trying to emancipate people.

    Isn’t it time we ended government ownership over our bodies and reclaimed our natural right of self ownership?

    When we own ourselves, respect others and harm nobody we are free. When another person or group of persons calling themselves government can dictate control over our bodies we are enslaved. The particular substance is irrelevant.

  8. I discovered this morning, that I’m getting sicker at a MUCH faster rate.. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE grab a copy of this video and post it all over the place..
    Thanks in advance…!!

  9. This needs to happen. It will advance human consciousness and freedom in profound ways. I am picking up a copy of the stranger asap. Let’s free ourselves from ignorance and fear, let’s explore new ways of being in our lifetimes. If not now then our children certainly will. It’s time to grow up and stop acting like babies about something as wonderful and enjoyable as cannabis.

    Let’s claim the right to our bodies instead of letting the government morally molest us in perverse and violent ways.

    END THE MORAL MOLESTATION.

  10. i signed the petition tonight i hope it works i cant do all these meds for my illness anymore so i hope for the sake of god this works in nov

  11. come on washington, you can do it. at the very least it will force the legalization opponents to stretch their budgets more thinly between WA and california, giving california’s legalization a stronger chance

  12. i forget, was it washington or lincoln who grew pot on a farm?? anyway, its about time we as a country come back to our humble beginings

  13. Not one millioniar businessman/group in the whole state or out of state could put up the money to get this done ??? when all the polls show it would clearly pass ??? and that person or people would make it all back through cannabis businesses ???? PATHETIC !

    where is george soros and peter lewis money when real legalization is on the table ? their “project” is a fraud, controled illuminati front.

    and this is the state that hosts the largest pro cannabis rally every year ??? lol

  14. not one millioniar businessman/group in the whole state or out of state could put up the money to get this done ? when all the polls show it would clearly pass ? and that person or people would make it all back through cannabis businesses ? pathetic !

    where is george soros and peter lewis money when real legalization is on the table ? their “project” is a fraud, controled illuminati front.

    and this is the state that hosts the largest pro cannabis rally every year ? lol

  15. We have been tirelessly working on getting signatures, and our store has been offering rewards to unpaid signature gathers.

    I too wondered why I didn’t see a link or a banner ad on NORML’s homepage. I know for sure that Sensible Washington was seeking this kind of attention from NORML.

    Thanks for posting this article though! Hopefully with what time we have left, this can still happen!

    Yes we cannabis!

    Ryan Thompson
    xCannabis.com

    [Editor’s note: NORML’s staff informed Sensible Washington at the the time of the endorsement and partnering effort in February that the state initiative that is the greater organizational priority will be to support California’s Tax Cannabis 2010 Initiative because CA is the far more important state politically, the polling is higher there and the effort has committed funding.]

  16. Editor’s note: NORML’s staff informed Sensible Washington at the the time of the endorsement and partnering effort in February that the state initiative that is the greater organizational priority will be to support California’s Tax Cannabis 2010 Initiative because CA is the far more important state politically, the polling is higher there and the effort has committed funding.

    That was fine in February, but after they qualified for the ballot? (crikets)

    We needed support to get on the ballot so that the money would have to come out of the woods through November. Just because CA was “better” shouldn’t have meant it was all you could do. If volunteers pulled over 100,000 signatures with events drawing another 500,000 this weekend, it could have been on the ballot already if we’d been thrown the driest of bones. Thank you for the support you did give, but reform won’t come nationally if it doesn’t come regionally. If you choose to go one state at a time, we should be done in 50 more years.

    Yes on I-1068!

    Don Skakie
    NW WA Field Director
    Sensible Washington

    [Editor’s note: Why pick a public fight with the ONLY pro-cannabis law reform organization that chose to endorse the initiative, helped raise money and promoted it in the media? NORML, despite extending a helping hand, is not to blame for any shortcomings of local activists in WA.]

  17. Thank you to NORML for all your efforts in support of I-1068! Everyone is working really hard to get this thing on the ballot and we appreciate your advocacy and support very much.

    If we get this on the ballot we will fight for every vote, and if we don’t we’ll be right back at it until we do. The people united will never be defeated!

  18. Wow, this going back and forth is kinda of funny…but also sad. Sad because I never understood (and maybe its my ignorance to what really goes on) why there were so many different organization trying to work towards the same goal? Seems that they all have one thing in common and that is marijuana law reform for legalization for recreational and medical adult use. Seems one joint effort by all would create more results. Oh well, I support NORML and all legalization efforts on all fronts.

    By the way, do we have any news on this front??? Anxiously awaiting to find out!

  19. Yes there is news in the Washington State front. Yesterday afternoon, I-1068 was endorsed by the Washington State Democrats after a discussion, a short skirmish, and a 314 to 185 floor vote at their convention in Vancouver, WA. Everyone at Sensible Washington and I-1068 appreciates this endorsement. I was there as a delegate and Sensible Washington Rep. I voted to endorse, of course. :):):)

    We will be out today in full force. I and 2 other Thurston County volunteers are headed up to Taste of Tacoma for our final day of petitioning. It’s going to be a great day!!

    Thanks to everyone for your support.

  20. NORML, ya really have egg on your face for this one. I expected your organization to jump on the bandwagon from the get-go, but just like other politicians, you waited until public support showed that the people of washington DO want this and WILL get it passed one way or another. If this does not pass, I expect NORML to go full swing into the next round and actually SHOW the people of washington that legalizing marijuana is a priority, without a bunch of lame excuses or double-talk. Anything less just puts your credibility into the toilet!

    [Paul Armentano responds: FYI: Two of the three I-1068 petitioners are, in fact, NORML. Douglas Hiatt serves on the NORML Legal Committee, and Jeffrey Steinborn is a lifetime NORML member and serves on NORML’s Board of Directors. As such, NORML and its Board were one of the first endorsers of the initiative (See: http://sensiblewashington.org/endorsements/) and the ONLY national drug policy reform organization to do so. We were also the only national drug policy reform organization to actively promote and solicit funds for this effort.]

  21. Then please explain why NORML was NOT supporting the measure when it came out, and only just recently started to support it. Doug and Jeff took this on through Sensible Washington because NORML wouldn’t get off their ass and do it themselves. And all those excuses, (like California is more important than Washington in getting this legislation passed) is just a slap in the face to Washingtonians. And can you please direct me to information showing that NORML has actively promoted and solicited funds for this effort, as you claim above? Just how much funds has NORML raised in support of I-1068? How much assistance has NORML provided to get it on the ballot? Did NORML pay for signature gatherers or advertising for the measure? Besides having the authors on the board, what else has NORML done to promote I-1068?

    [Paul Armentano responds: Your harangues are growing tiresome. Perhaps you should ask the I-1068 campaign proponents, Vivian McPeak, Jeff Steinborn, and Doug Hiatt — why they don’t similarly share your antipathy with NORML — the only national drug law reform group to have worked cooperatively and publicly in support of the Washington state effort.]

    [Editor’s note: This commentator is simply incorrect as NORML’s board of directors voted in early February to endorse and publicly support the initiative, which is reflected on the SensibleWashington.org’s webpage.

    Freedom, like money, is not manna from Heaven or Washington, D.C….and sorry, California is the most important state in the union politically and economically. The prudent political and financial investments logically should be directed at the state where 1 out of 8 Americans live, that already has a quasi-legal cannabis distribution system in place, not WA where cannabis is neither decriminalized, or has a functional medical cannabis system for patients outside of stakeholder-driven King County.

    NORML’s worked with SensibleWashington’s leadership and fundraisers from the get go, including directing large donors to them, posting fundraisers to NORML’s heavily trafficked webpage, plugged on NORML’s popular daily podcast, listserved to hundreds of thousands (in WA and nationwide) and alerted to almost a million opt-supporters of NORML on Facebook (and it’s Causes section), MySpace, Twitter, etc…

    And what did the other reform groups do to support SensibleWashington? Anything at all? Anything?

    Cannabis law reformers at the state level who fail to qualify ballot measures or pass legislation have only themselves to blame and not otherwise supportive national organizations.]

  22. So our washington petition failed.let us count the reasons why:
    1.our signatures were being fraudulently stolen by paid petitioners. several cases of this happening!saying they had the 1068 petition but actualy having the alcohol petition with just the signature area showing. several cases of this and it may have been atempted on me as well but i had already signed with a true petitioner. adam.
    2.It was a spontanious effort. So spontanious that they were still looking for a bank to allow credit card payments or even an account a month or so after they anounced they were going to have the iniative qualify for the petition phase. most banks said no way since it was drug related. so fund raising was not a strong point in the begining. this i would suspect didn’t help at all for fund raising. i almost didn’t send any money since it had to be mailed in at first. but decided it was too important not to.
    3. There were a lot of people that didn’t want to sign due to fear that they would be suspected of buying, selling , growing or even using it, by the cops if they signed it. thank our judicial system for that one. there were 6 people i knew of that never signed it due to fear of later repercussions. That was out of 12-15 people i discussed it with that i knew were smokers or past smokers. I feel this was one the largest problems faceing the efforts. Lack of trust in our government caused by the wasteful efforts to destroy a weed plant and the people that use it in any capacity.
    4.to a lesser extent the weather. raining as much as it did made many of the festivals that should have been a good thing for us with lots of potential, being nearly rained out. small crowds = low signature count.

    I would like to thank everyone that contributed time and or money to this effort. though the sting of defeat sucks right now and it might not seem like what we all did was significant since it failed you need to understand that what was accomplished was very significant. 200,000+- signatures with poor funding adverse weather, signature poaching and the rest, what was done was insanely significant. the polititions will have to look closer at the issue. the discussion has been started lets keep it going.
    we are catching some heckling from the press for not getting it on the ballot, such as ” the washington pot heads it seems were to stoned and lazy to get off the couch and collect the signatures needed”. it won’t happen next year because we will pass it. better funding, better publicity ( i ran into so many people that didn’t have a clue I-1068 even exisited. even this monday i found people that didn’t know it existed), and (fingers crossed)one state already legal.
    what we did this year will pave the way for next years victory. Followed by victories in other states due to our efforts.
    what we did will be felt for years to come in positive ways. so never let our defeat this year ever get you discouraged.
    cjr.

  23. Blame game aside, Washington needs to focus on 2012. It needs to focus on the key best practices (hopefully) of California’s success for a ballot measure. NORML can only do so much in supporting state level efforts to reform marijuana law reform. They are doing all they can to ensure that California’s law becomes reformed so that hopefully other states follow suite. I, living in the south, care greatly by any successes at all by any western states because that translates to success elsewhere. So my point is, stop pointing fingers, focus on supporting change in California for now, and realize that their success later translates to your success down the road.

  24. What about Missouri-we are going through hell with misidentification of plants resulting in our lives destroyed-houses damaged pets shot job losses – personal belongings come up missing and the list just keeps growing fast!Then you hear about people in bed sleeping getting shot dead by police-sounds just like alcohol prohibition-need to legalize completely to stop this madness!!!

  25. Maybe a banner or link ad isn’t too much to ask for this go around?
    After all, we are the only state this year (2011) proposing this kind of initiative for FULL legalization.

    Fact is Prop 19 was a horrible piece of legislation and was by no means full legalization.

    I-1068 is EXACTLY what NORML claims to support, full legalization. Removing penalties across the board for adults.

    Can NORML support us this year? Will we see some advertising from NORML?
    Who else is competing with us this year for NORML’s support? Is anyone else going to pass something this year?

    Lets do it NORML! Yes we cannabis!

    [Editor’s note: NORML did support WA’s last attempt to qualify a ballot initiative to ‘legalize’ cannabis. It both endorsed it and raised funds for it.

    However, the millions of dollars needed to qualify and promote a ballot initiative in WA is currently not availed, and activists on the ground in WA need to 1) work better together and 2) do the necessary polling and strategy making to be successful. In previous polling in WA a majority that supports getting rid of state cannabis laws (which is what is being proposed) is yet to emerge and it is not at all prudent to launch a ballot initiative unless there is approx. 58% support, measured consistently over a 6 month – 1 year period.]

  26. Whatever happened to faith? Who made the rule that it takes millions of dollars to qualify and promote a ballot initiative in WA? Who decided that 58% consistent support is necessary?

    Remember the pollsters (who are unknown to the responders) are asking people to admit something people are AFRAID to admit because they FEAR being put under increased scrutiny by law enforcement or even worse–getting arrested.

    I would be willing to bet that once get this on the ballot, and we will get it on this year, it will sell itself. People who did not want to tell a pollster/stranger that they support legalization will vote YES once they get into a private ballot box.

    Hide and watch.

  27. fear kept a lot of people from signing the petitions here in washington. i know of at least 4 people that were afraid to sign for fear they would be watched if it failed. What they don’t understand is not signing is not helping to make change happen.if we will have the only petition for legalization we should have lots of help. Call mr. nelson i believe he could be willing to contribute. or so the rumor has it.

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