Marijuana Legalization Initiative Launched In Washington State

A mainstream coalition in Washington State has emerged in an attempt to pass a binding voter initiative to legalize the responsible adult use of cannabis, raise needed taxes and create alternative legal controls to the clearly failed policies of 74 years of Cannabis Prohibition.

It would set limits on how much cannabis people can have: an ounce of dried bud, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused foods in solid form, and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids, or all three, Holcomb said. Limits are necessary to help ensure that people don’t buy large amounts for resale in other states, she said.

The Seattle Times breaks the news below and highlights some of the proposed initiative’s early and key supporters–including the former US Attorney, the current Seattle prosecutor and NORML Advisory board member Rick Steves.

NORML Advisory Board Member and Best-Selling Travel Author Rick Steves Addresses Hempfest's 100,000 @ 4:20
The 20th annual Seattle Hempfest will have two important reform projects for the hundreds of thousands to truly rally around this year: a state legalization initiative (the ACLU’s or Sensible Washington’s) and the first ever federal legalization bill expected to be introduced at any moment here in the decidedly less hip and green Washington, D.C.
Will 2012 be the year of mass marijuana legalization initiatives in America? It appears that way now with Washington, California and Colorado on track for such; Oregon, Massachusetts and Ohio may follow suit.

A coalition that includes former U.S. Attorney John McKay, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and travel guide Rick Steves is launching an initiative that would legalize marijuana in Washington state.
The group, led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, decided to push the initiative this spring after Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed most of a medical-marijuana bill that had passed the state Legislature.
“We did some more public-opinion research, looked at the numbers and said, ‘Yeah, this is the time,’ ” said Alison Holcomb, campaign manager for the initiative and drug-policy director of the ACLU of Washington.
The initiative would regulate the recreational use of marijuana in a way similar to how the state regulates alcohol..
It would legalize marijuana for people older than 21, authorize the state Liquor Control Board to regulate and tax marijuana for sale in “stand-alone stores” and extend drunken-driving laws to marijuana, with blood tests to determine how much of the substance’s active ingredient is present in a driver’s blood.
Taxing sales would bring the state $215 million a year, conservatively estimated, Holmes said.
McKay, who spent five years enforcing federal drug laws as the U.S. attorney in Seattle before he was fired by the Bush administration in early 2007, said he hopes the initiative will help “shame Congress” into ending pot prohibition.
He said laws criminalizing marijuana are wrongheaded because they create an enormous black market exploited by international cartels and crime rings.
“That’s what drives my concern: The black market fuels the cartels, and that’s what allows them to buy the guns they use to kill people,” McKay said. “A lot of Americans smoke pot, and they’re willing to pay for it. I think prohibition is a dumb policy, and there are a lot of line federal prosecutors who share the view that the policy is suspect.”
Supporters would have until the end of this year to gather more than 240,000 signatures to get the initiative before the Legislature. Lawmakers could approve or allow it to go to the ballot next year.

Read the rest of the article here.

59 thoughts

  1. I am a “Proud American” – and – in spite of all its mistakes and blunders – I have been so for 73 years. But – because of our present tyrants in government – who have a cynical disregard for We the People – “my pride has turned to endless shame.” With the greatest possible concern – I deplore the contempt of government to impose its will [over] the will of We the People – without the slightest how do you do. But – as I think about it – I realize that – “Those throwing their weight around” are nothing more than one of us who – for one reason or another – have become an arrogant bully [Power corrupts].
    Do I forsake “my country” for their transgressions? No! What do I do? I simply take their toys away, send them to their room, and ground them for life. Am I unreasonable?

  2. I love the idea, though one line in the article had me rolling in fits of laughter… “…said he hopes the initiative will help “shame Congress” into ending pot prohibition.” hehe shame congress… as if congress had any shame ROFLMAO

  3. Hmmmm, seem to remember this before, like California ?
    [Editor’s note: Indeed…there will be cannabis legalization initiatives on state ballots for a number of years to come…with 2012 being the first election cycle where more than one legalization initiative will be in play.]

  4. I would like to know where to sign, because I’m willing to give my signiture RIGHT NOW to reform government policies to legalize the use of Marijuana for Medical, Industrial And Responsible Recreational Adult use.

  5. OK ACLU, get this done and all is forgiven regarding your horrible treachery over I-1068. We could have legalized this stuff two years ago. LAST CHANCE, ACLU.
    [Editor’s note: Blaming ‘ACLU treachery’ over Sensible Washington’s inability to raise the needed money and collect the number of signatures necessary to place the measure on the ballot is silly and counter-productive…]

  6. This is great. Washington, California, Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Ohio!? There will be a victory somewhere in 2012.

  7. We are rethinking were to have the party when we win the lottery. It was going to be Amsterdam. But that’s out now. Maybe it will be Seattle.

  8. The difference is this is a presidential year we can get turnout thats more favorable. I just don’t get why they kept wasting money in midterms. Pretty sure the California initative could have passed in 08 oh well we will do it their and in the other states in 12.

  9. The difference is this is a presidential year. I don’t really get why they kept pushing these intatives in midterm years when the majority of the voters are crotchity church going old people. It probably would have passed in California if they had done in 08. Oh well we’ll make up for it there and in the other states in 12.

  10. Great! Thank you, John McKay! Holder really needs to use this man’s ideas to unfold the legalization of cannabis. Holder and Obama need to keep an eye on the profits of having cannabis products traded internationally on stock exchanges in U.S. dollars. There is a lot of money to be made from Morocco to Afghanistan that can be used to create instant jobs there and everywhere they export to and import cannabis products from. A friendlier, calmer Middle East and world in general, with the opportunity for U.S. NGOs to be in country, and it’s also an opportunity for intelligence gathering shell companies. If the U.S. is handing out the cash to the Afghan drug lords and encouraging them to plant cannabis rather than poppies, there is a harm reduction. Drug lords could be to some degree in barter for modern western creature comforts and the infrastructure that goes with it, and also for the poor and common Afghans, not just for their rich.
    Holder has got to call off the Federal dogs and keep them off the Washington, D.C. cannabis implementation.
    Make the push, make the sprint. It all has to come together in momentum for the votes on the legislation in Congress right now.

  11. From the picture it looks like a lot of people showed up for this. Thats good news. Is it possible to shame congress about anything? It seems to me they are pretty much shameless no matter what they do.

  12. From my first post I didn’t read below the picture. I thought that was for the press conference today in Washington not Hempfest. Still glad to see all the people for Hempfest too.

  13. “One and all got to face reality now.” DEFIANCE – Mankind’s single oldest and most revered Virtue; the one reason for our very existance. How about a ‘hostile takeover’ of “TEH GOVT!” TAKE HEED NORML… TAKE HEED.

  14. Will never happen…Feds will just push their weight around and impose sanctions against Washington State if necessary. They will also say they will be 3 times as vigourous in going after and prosecuting citizens since it will still be against Federal laws.
    Mark my words…
    Until the Feds change their laws this will continue to be the cycle..
    **we can wish though…

  15. No personal growing allowed? Id think NORML would be all over that aspect of this initiative before its too late. Although first steps are first steps, let us at least establish a growing amount to protect us cannabis consumers from both corporations and governments.

    [Paul Armentano responds: NORML will be posting an update on this tomorrow morning when the bill is formally introduced into Congress. NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre will be participating in tomorrow’s press conference.
    Thurs: Members of Congress to Introduce Historic Legislation Ending Marijuana Prohibition
    The Legislation, Modeled after the Repeal of Alcohol Prohibition, Comes on the 40th Anniversary of the Failed War on Drugs and on the Heels of a Global Commission Report Recommending MarijuanaLegalization
    Teleconference: Rep. Barney Frank and Leading Organizations Working to End the Failed War on Marijuana Explain the Significance of the Legislation
    Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will introduce bi-partisan legislation tomorrow, June 23, ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana without federal interference. Other co-sponsors include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.
    Leading critics of the war on marijuana will explain its significance for state andnational marijuana policy at a national tele-press conference on Thursday.
    What: Tele-Press Conference on the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011
    When: Thursday, June 23. 2:00pm EST / 11am PST
    Representative Barney Frank (D-4th/MA)
    Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
    Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project(MPP)
    Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
    Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)]

  17. Thank you Christine Gregiore! If it wasn’t for your piss-poor decision to wipe out all of the grey-area changes in the medical marijuana laws this probably wouldn’t be on the ballot this year!!! This is the first thing you’ve done in a looooong time that made a positive change somewhere! Btw, I wouldn’t have voted for you except you were the lesser of two evils & writing in “none of the above” just wastes my vote! Don’t you start smoking now because you’re going to be out of office soon 😛

  18. I live in Washington State, and every day I get to read about the exploits of our great amateur legislature. Given the news reports, one might expect to visit the chambers and find them wearing propeller beanies and shooting spitwads at each other—they are largely buffoons, and are basically interested only in their own well-being. This measure will be defeated if it’s voted on by the legislative members, some of whom will go home after voting it down and have some bong hits. Hypocrisy is rampant, and most of them won’t risk their political futures for something that holds no promise of personal reward. If it goes public and winds up on the ballot, it might have a chance.

  19. I hope they even go far enough to protect us from bussiness owner and the famous wiz quizes they like to give they working class

  20. One (1) ounce = 900 tokes.
    Use a 1/8-inch sifter to Grind through all herb that you can (twig remains to teaPOT and seeds to plantPOT); Shake through a 1/16-inch sifter = “Grade A regular”; Grind through 1/16-inch (everything that didn’t shake through before) = “Grade B regular” (less cannabinoid than A).
    Now shake the last two fractions, one after the other, in a 1/30″ sifter; combine the fine dust (Kief, rich in trichomes) into a single container.
    You now have three containers of herb fractions. Use the Kief first, about 15-20 mg per toke. When it’s gone, start using Grade A, 25 mg per toke. Carry Grade B with you in case you have diplomatic need to share some herb, any herb, with a less than trustworthy person.
    Oh yes, the remaining small-twig material (Grade C): if someday you are out of Grade A and Grade B you might toke that too, otherwise add it to the tea or the crockpot.

  21. Glad I just moved back to WA state and can’t wait to register to vote and help get this passed.

  22. And….que in the backlash from the marijuana supporters (& opponents). Will we ever agree to disagree??

  23. Can’t do a ‘hostile takeover’ of the Government, because they would just cheat and print more money.
    Now, if you are talking sticks and rocks, I saved so many rocks, I had to make a driveway, I saved so many sticks, I had to build a house..
    But the tomatoes will be ready for throwing soon and in the winter, we have fresh snowballs to throw.
    Maybe we could get a deal on a container full of Chinese made shoes to throw at the politicians like they do in the East.

    Potimism-[pot-uh-miz-uhm]- noun
    . The belief that marijuana will become legal no matter how unlikely it seems and there are positive ways around the excuses people give saying it can’t be legal.
    Tell your friends!

  25. if the non smokers would mind THEIR own business this would not be an issue,non drinkers dont drink,non pill poppers dont pop pills.what my neighbor does in his or her home is their business not mine.keep that in mind. WE DON’T WANT YOUR MISS GUIDED MORALS PUT ON US, they bash gays yet they tap their foot in the mens room. the louder they scream from their pulpit the more screwed up they are. we are all screwed up just stay out of our lives and give us our freedom to do as an adult what we want to do. keep smoking!!!!!!

  26. They aren’t doing this to be nice guys. I suppory full legalization, but you need to read the fine print here and realize why these government people are supporting this. This bill makes it legal for them to give you a blood test if they think you are high while driving. We all know reasearch proves that stoned drivers are safer drivers. Can we all agree that invasive medical procedures should only be done by a doctor to cure or treat an illness with the patient’s permission? This bill gives you your right to smoke pot in exchange for giving up your right to not be the subject of an invasive medical procedure. Sounds like a power grab to me. Careful, everyone! They know pot legalization is on the way, so they will insert more big government control mechanisms into bills. Tell them NO! Tell them to send a clean bill with no stipulations. They say driving is a privilege, but I don’t buy that. God gave me my rights, and driving is now a nearly a necessity. How many rights will you give up just for the government’s permission to drive a car? If we lived in a libertarian society, we wouldn’t have to ask big brother to register our cars or get licensed to drive. Check out the facts, and don’t get caught up in the hype. It’s a big government power grab. smoke and mirrors!
    [Paul Armentano responds: It is already legal for police in Washington state and every other state to order a blood or urine draw of drivers suspected of DUI. See: This is hardly a ‘big government power grab.’]

  27. I think is about time our government is getting up the balls to finally get to the legalization of Marijuana. I was smoking it back in the 60’s and always thought it should be legal. It took the government only a short while to make acohol legal why has it taken so long for Pot to get to this point. At least people that just smoke,eat, or no matter how they take Marijuana are less likely to drive and kill innocent people. But again I say why has it taken so long to get this far. I am getting more excited about seeing Marijuana legal all over the world. All I have to say is I have and always will vote for its legalization. And I say to all out there is this wonderful world to get out and vote for Marijuana where you live and tell all your friends to do it to.

  28. NORML do you remeber when you used to spearhead events such as this. So blinded have you become by the Medical Marijuana movement that you have diminished your role in the true cause. And please do not remind me of the last 40 years; what are you doing now to promote the cause. You cant be for both, it just wont work that way.
    A quick look at the last years entires to the NORML Blog tells me of your loyalty. Looks as if NORML may have a stake in the Medical Marijuana movement. After all what would NORML’s role be in a society that allows adult usage….very diminished…Umm no change then. Carry on.
    Moderator my comment is on topic.
    [Paul Armentano responds: Donna, you have no idea what you are talking about. I personally was a committee co-chair of the 2010 Prop. 19 campaign. NORML is a coalition member of the 2012 Colorado legalization initiative. NORML played the lead role in the passage of decriminalization legislation in CT earlier this year. And NORML is one of the primary organizations behind HR 2306, the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011’ which prohibits the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess marijuana by removing the plant and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Finally, NORML’s blog updates primarily comments on marijuana-related news (much of which is indeed specific to medical cannabis issues), not NORML-specific projects.]

  29. I think people are a little too optimistic about the 2012 legalization efforts. It might be a case of too much, too fast for most voters. People in Colorado, for instance, aren’t yet completely at ease with the hundreds of dispensaries that have popped up in recent years, and some communities are starting to push back. I think the danger is that voters will think the medical aspect of marijuana was just a ruse to open the floodgates for legalization. Either way, it’s shaping up to be an interesting 2012!
    Chris, Dispensary Business News

  30. When I was a kid I didn’t know a lot, I have to say I still don’t know a lot. I do know one thing though, the people in the government have no idea what’s really going on in the u.s. They sit in their high-chairs getting rich and fat, and they don’t really care bout ” the people”. As I got older I started seeing the coruptness of the government and was shamed at how anyone can destroy what the u.s. stood for like that and control us like a bully in the school yard. I lost total respect for this sad place I unfortunately call home, if weed got legalized I would be shocked, I would be for it but shocked that the government is actully doing something good for the u.s. and its people. Instead of only doing for themselfs and their pockets. All the money we the tax payers pay out for this never ending, nowhere going drug war and imprisonment of potheads and pot deales will end. Instead of lossing money for something so harmless and helpful, we will be gaining money and hopefully the money we will be gaining can actually go to fixing this country, like helping the unemployed, and the poverty that plagues our country. For goodness sake there are more benifits to marjaina then there is for alcohol and less trouble like drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, rape, and death. Yet alcohol is legal and not weed. In my mind this doesn’t make. since. If anything should be illegal it should be alcohol. I’m not condoning this but exticee is better than alcohol. There is no worse mind altering substance than alcohol yet its legal. Can we finally do somthing good for this country and for ourselfs and legalize pot. Untell it is I have no respect for our country and the so called people that run it. We as a whole are one of the dumbist people and lot of it is how we have monkeys running our country and our lives.

  31. (WA Resident)Discussed this w/my spouse last night. I do not like the restrictions. Why would I still be prohibited from growing my own? “Because then everyone would be doing it.” I respond that I would go to the store, just like I do now. Why would I want to purchase beer, for example from someone that I didn’t know or trust? I go to the known, valid source. The potency would be calculated and consistent also. I still think the option to grow your own should be legal as well – just like some people brew their own beer. As long as they aren’t selling it, whats the issue?

  32. This won’t pass. Barney Frank did something similar a few years ago and it was trashed as well. You can expect more of the same. In the 30+ years I have waited for this to change they have only grown so strong as to squash any hope of ending prohibition. If its put on the ballot so every US citizen can vote on it I will most definitely vote for it but then you have all these idiot who are so ignorant of the truth from the propaganda pounded into them from kindergarden. Also the only way it has the least bit of hope is if its put to a nationwide vote and not for your so called representives who work for the lobbyists. Dream on I guess…

  33. I am going to be watching this all the way. I want to implore to people who live is Washington State, That this Initiative will have national implications. We people in other states are looking to you now. Please remember that we have people who are arrested, acidently killed by our law enforcement, Gross violation of our 4th amendment rights to be free of unreasonable search and seizure with out a warrant from a judge, and the death toll in mexico and as far as the government leveling santions torward washington state, we the p[eople are the ones who make product in the country including the gear the would use the enforce it. Ever heard of “Sindler’s List “

  34. Yeah they should of been did this if they legalize weed I ain’t drinking nomore on occasion and I see how they do it in cali wit them shops I would love to go in a store and choose what type of bud I want for today must be nice plus I’m tired to have to go hood to hood to get my weed one day they got og kush next day stright reggie bush can’t stand it legalize it for I no my money will be going to a better cost than it probably is now

  35. This is the only reason why I am enjoying living in Washington State! HELP legalize this product for consumer use. WE need Signatures!!! You can request Signature Petitions Here and receive further information about the movement to legalize!! THANK YOU!

  36. What! So far there are five states filing initiatives for legalization. Washington, California, Nebraska, Colorado and Oregon.

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