NEW POLL: Majority of Washington State Voters Support Marijuana Legalization Initiative I-502

The good news just keeps rolling in this week, as just released polling data from Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that the majority Washington voters support their state’s legalization initiative, I-502.
This data is great news for New Approach Washington‘s campaign to become the first state to relegalize the adult use of cannabis this November.

From PPP:
Washington is also leaning toward legalizing marijuana. 50% of voters now say they’ll support Initiative 502 to 37% who are opposed. That’s a slight increase in support for the initiative relative to our last poll, which found it ahead 47/39.

This issue isn’t quite as polarizing along party lines as gay marriage. 70% of Democrats support legalizing marijuana, less than the 82% who support gay marriage. But 22% of Republicans support legalizing marijuana to only 10% who support gay marriage. Independents support both measures with similar numbers- 54% for marijuana, 53% for marriage.

Washington Initiative 502 would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over 21; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues. If the election was today, would you vote yes or no on Initiative 502?

Yes 50%
No 37%
Not sure 12%

More information is available from PPP here.

This poll comes on the back of last week’s Rasmussen Reports survey that had likely Colorado voters supporting their legalization initiative, Amendment 64, by 61%. If these trends continue it is very plausible, even probable, that marijuana legalization will go 2 for 2 in November.

43 thoughts

  1. I fully support legalization of all cannabis, but the per se drugged driving provision being added to WA’s proposed initiative is a non-starter for me. This is a horrible provision that will lead to obvious abuses by law enforcement. You can rest assured that if a cop pulls you over, (let’s say for a burned out tail light) and catches a wiff of weed (or even claims to, if they suspect or know you are a regular cannabis consumer) there is a good possibility that you will be forced to undergo a presumptive test for THC metabolites. If this happens, and you are a regular user, or recently used, you could soon find yourself arrested for DUI, even though you
    you are not impaired.
    I would support a rational approach to thc impairment testing, but the current methods are non-sensical as they have no correlation to impairment.
    If you are driving impaired, you deserve what you get, but per se laws do not allow for a rational defense against a dui. If you are found with an arbitrary amount of thc metabolites in your system, you are guilty. Welcome to court. Speaking of court, the courts WILL uphold the legality of warrentless searches of your body fluids based on an officers keen sense of smell, or discovery of cannabis on your person. It isn’t a given that all this will happen, just more likely than not, given the past history of the law enforcement and court systems.
    Here is some info on saliva testing.
    This is our state, and we the residents of this state are the ones who will be left with the mess if this pointless and arbitrary provision remains in the initiative.

    [Paul Armentano responds: To clarify, the provision in question explicitly excludes the presence of marijuana metabolites to be used as evidence of a DUI violation, so the above statement is incorrect. 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. NORML’s Board of Directors has previously expressed its objections to this provision here:

  2. Wow! As Ray Kurweil realized, progress is logarithmic.

    Jay Leno’s monologue last night included mentioning that the Internet was abuzz with rumors that President Obama would come out in favor of marijuana reform. Say what you will about him, the man knows how to win an election. Coming out in favor of gay marriage indicates he judged he would gain more votes this way than he would lose.

    Hopefully, he’ll come to the same conclusion about marijuana. The percentages of support for both issues between the two political suggest this is not as unlikely as it once may have seemed.

  3. This is good news . People are believing the facts, not more continued lies but in other news this is worse than, Hitler’s Germany .I title it :

    ” Smoke a joint & your Children are taken away “.
    In the case of a Bronx mother, Penelope Harris, whose home was searched on suspicion of drug dealing. Police found about a third of an ounce of marijuana, which Harris said belonged to her boyfriend for personal use. The police found no evidence of drug sales and Harris, who was taking care of two children at home, denied dealing drugs and tested negative for drug use. Bronx prosecutors did not file charges against her.

    But that did not deter the Administration for Children’s Services. Secret wrote:

    The police had reported her arrest to the state’s child welfare hot line, and city caseworkers quickly arrived and took the children away.

    Her son, then 10, spent more than a week in foster care. Her niece, who was 8 and living with her as a foster child, was placed in another home and not returned by the foster care agency for more than a year. Ms. Harris, 31, had to weather a lengthy child neglect inquiry, though she had no criminal record and had never before been investigated by the child welfare authorities, Ms. Harris and her lawyer said.

    “I felt like less of a parent, like I had failed my children,” Ms. Harris said. “It tore me up.”

    Child services agreed to return her son if Harris agreed to seek therapy, submit to random drug screens and keep her boyfriend from returning to her home. These conditions were administered despite the fact that there was no evidence that Harris was a repeated drug misuser (which is required by the state to consider a child neglected), no evidence that the boyfriend was addicted, either, and none that anyone was harming Harris’ children in the first place. Indeed, Harris’ case was closed in April with no finding of neglect.

  4. I know how this woman feels my daughter has been in foster care for 4 months now over one failed drug test that me and my wife failed ONLY for cannabis.. They let us see her once a week and let us keep our other 3 kids, they just took her and after this many months they still wont give us a clear and defined reason as to why they wont give her back.. Me and my wife think its because she is the only one of our 4 children that receives a SS check that they are now taking every month.. Not to mention that our Family Care Manager has expressed to us that this is her very first case of her career. We Don’t know what to do…

  5. To those people with children taken into care – as a parent my heart aches for you ! There never seems to be any pretense of assessing if you are unfit parents at all in these cases. If you were alcoholics no one would even care until your child was harmed.

    I feel helpless but I am going to donate to NORML today – I suggest others do the same.

    Let’s get some human rights

  6. Anyone who votes for i 502 is ignorant to the new amended laws in Washington state. Anyone operating under the given current medical laws are protected by the state.
    RCW 69.51A.005 – RCW 69.51A.901
    they can not seize your property, they can not take away your children and arresting officers do not have enough proof to arrest and seize medicine. Operate under the given laws and you have nothing to worry about. If i 502 passes then no one is allowed to drive for 30 days?
    How is that new approach Washington is so great? Then they should amend the 5 nano grams driving rule to 50 nano grams.
    Educate yourself people
    There are many good things about i502 but the driving rule must be changed. Period.

    [Editor’s note: No one including I-502’s sponsor do not acknowledge that post passage of the initiative one of the first post-Prohibition projects for the WA cannabis using community and activists is to pass amending legislation re the proposed DUID standards.

    However, voting against I-502 because one is overly concerned with the proposed DUID standards will be shortsighted as the out of state funding that makes all of WA’s pro-reform efforts possible since 1998 could readily walk away forever from the state if anti-prohibitionists from the medical cannabis industry effectively organize against this cannabis legalization initiative to the degree that it fails.]

    [Paul Armentano responds: Your claim above inferring that under this provision trace levels of THC will be present for ’30 days’ is false. The proposed threshold is for active THC in blood only, not metabolites. THC in blood has a relatively short half-life, particularly in less-than-chronic users.]

  7. Makes me feel good to hear this. Any new info on Illinois . The illinoisnorml site isn’t updated very often.

  8. I still don’t understand how people are so concerned with the driving provisions that they are trying to vote this down. Taking this large step and having legalization with a driving provision will be much worse than what we have now right? Do you see how ridiculous that sounds? I was just gonna vote yes and hope everyone else I know would too, now I’m gonna convince every single person I know to vote yes on I-502, if for nothing more than to beat the ridiculous med mj community who are saying “no on I-502”. Next thing they’ll be saying is that cannabis is a gateway drug that causes cancer and psychosis. See a pattern here? As with anything just follow the money.

  9. Medical Marijuana is causing more problems than straight legalizing it.

    How is the DUI law in I 502 any different from the law now?

    [Paul Armentano responds: Procedurally, it changes nothing. However, the provision in question at trial lowers the present ‘affect based’ standard to a per se standard. NORML further explains this issue here:

  10. People, the fact that all initiatives are modified with additional laws. The key is to getover the legalization hurdle. This then sets up the supreme court of the us to rule upon the unconstitutionality of drug enforcement by the federal govt. Once statevrule is once again established, we the people will once again control.

    And if the politicians in olympia want to block efforts to change the dui standards, we have the initiative process..

  11. 502 will wrongfully convict unimpaired drivers of driving under impairment. Current science isn’t sufficient to justify Progressive Insurance targeting, or as Stamper says cops profiling vulnerable populations.

    * Editor’s note: No one including I-502’s sponsor do not acknowledge that post passage of the initiative one of the first post-Prohibition projects for the WA cannabis using community and activists is to pass amending legislation re the proposed DUID standards. *
    Tell us,editor, or provide citations which we can research -How many times have dui penalties been relaxed in this life? No need, the answer is none.

    *However, voting against I-502 because one is overly concerned with the proposed DUID standards will be shortsighted as the out of state funding that makes all of WA’s pro-reform efforts possible since 1998 could readily walk away forever from the state if anti-prohibitionists from the medical cannabis industry effectively organize against this cannabis legalization initiative to the degree that it fails.*

    Reduced to a threat of extortion if folks do not feel think nor act as you do? I think thats illegal in order to sway votes.

    With you guys help, 502 hasn’t got a snowballs chance in Miami. Sorry boys ;-/

    [Editor’s note: I-502’s prospects look good…notably when the former Seattle police chief and NORML advisory board member Norm Stamper SUPPORTS the passage of the law. There is nothing illegal about the major funders of WA cannabis laws going back to the 1990s not wanting to waste their money anymore in a state where some of the citizens involved in the medical cannabis industry organize to OPPOSE legalization. Why not go and spend the money in a different state to advance cannabis law reforms?

    Cannabis freedom is available to WA citizens in 2012. They should seize it with both hands.]

  12. Will this effect medical cannabis patients who are below the age of 21?

    [Paul Armentano responds: I-502 does not amend the state’s existing medical use regulations.]

  13. OK folks its time to make a stand.

    The only thing that can get things done is money and votes. Most of us have voting rights, some have money. If ya have some money to spare – contribute to Normal or a like organization and/or email this message to your elected officials and stand firm. Also send to like minded friends and family:

    To the President, Members of the US Congress, State and local elected officials:

    Criminal marijuana prohibition is a failure. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965 with over 800,000 arrests in 2010 and each year the number increases. The problem is getting worse – not because of the benign plant, but because of the obsolete laws. The time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.

    I can no longer vote for elected officials that support the the current laws. I have decided not to vote for any politician that does not publicly support the removal of all penalties for the private possession and endorse responsible use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts.


    Voting Citizen
    & Member of the Movement

  14. Anyone who votes against I-502 is on the same side as the people who want to throw you in jail for smoking cannabis. If you’re against I-502, you’re part of the problem, not the solution. I-502, while not perfect, is still a HUGE step in the right direction.

    Freedom was lost incrementally, it has to be gained back incrementally, short of a revolution.

    Vote YES on I-502!

  15. With the 502 cultivation and production laws seemingly removing all state bound civil penalties and arrests, does this mean that, hypothetically speaking, without regard to federal laws (again, hypothetically), someone could buy a warehouse and grow 15,000 plants?

    I think this would hurt cannabis patients in WA state, simply based off of the fact that the majority of dried medicine one receives now in dispensaries is part of smaller crops made by other patients. Making cannabis cultivation a viable commercial industry encourages a big business attitude towards meds, and that just doesn’t sit right with me.

    [Editor’s note: OK…so you’re inclined to vote against a legalization initiative because you claim that you’re afraid that more productive growers under legalization–as compared to the gray area of illegality that still exists around medical cannabis productions/sales; with their severely limited plant counts to be lawful at all–producing cannabis at lower prices than today’s so-called ‘mom and pop’ medical cannabis cultivators who still charge Prohibition-priced product?

    Really? You’re going to vote against the initiative along with narcs, prison guards, pee testers and most government officials for a stated desire to pay for overpriced, dried vegetable matter?

    Post the passage of I-502, if you want to pay higher prices to niche, high quality producers, that is surely your choice (like shopping at Whole Foods), but the vast majority of consumers readily want to have the choice to access cannabis at lower prices and at more available locations (think brands like Safeway, Food Lion, 7-Eleven, etc…).

    Vote for cannabis freedom each and every time there are initiatives–even when one perceive them imperfect, because not to do so is to retard the march of history of cannabis law reform for reasons that hardly warrant siding with the prohibitionists in the voting booth.]

  16. Im onboard for 502, to walk a mile, we all have to take the first step. This is NOT a step in the wrong direction either for you smart asses.

    YES ON 502

  17. They should make the age 18, cannabis doesn’t cause brain damage in children 15 and over. We all know it’s different than alcohol.


  19. Greetings All,

    Either you get it or you don’t. I-502 is not perfect, but I am voting YES. You have to start somewhere and the time is here and now.
    Either those against are foolish or they have something to gain by keeping it illegal. If I-502 fails then those in the medical comm. will continue to pay higher prices. Come on people fiqure it out.

  20. Great to hear from a 7 year veteran of the Seattle police force supporting legalization. I live in Seattle and from my personal experience, the Seattle police are the most professional and ethical cops I’ve ever dealt with. They’ve always treated me with kindness and respect. One of the reasons Seattle is one of the greatest cities in the world. You can smoke a joint and not worry about getting hassled. Keep up the great work!

  21. Only support this measure just because of the only measure available for marijuana. If it were up to me the state of washington would decriminalizing marijuana not legalize it. Are state is going to act as a spokesperson on behalf marijuana but the only way that marijuana will ever truly be legalized on a federal level is through the first step of decriminalization. I feel is if they should do away with all criminal penalties related to the manafacture use or distribution of marijuana and make it a civil infraction just like a traffic ticket. Any and all use that would have to do with production of clothing gasoline excetra would be fully legalize but yeah right did anybody d.21 order should be able to use marijuana for recreational drug is not the answer. I am a medical marijuana patient and have been ever since I was 17 years old. Over the years I’ve seen that uses marijuana will be used to not only by medical patients, but the general population is well, and generally speaking the only place to acquire it is either from the dispensary or from dealers on the street. If marijuana is legalized in the state of washington you will be another way for them to control aspect of our life. What will happen with legalization is the government will try to overtake the distribution and cultivation of marijuana and make it a criminal charge to do so otherwise. This is something that I’m not willing to tolerate… unfortunately this is the only geared towards drug decriminalization and for legalization of marijuana so I’m not support it, but in doing so I do you heat a warning to all those who feel that this is going to be the end of prohibition.

  22. My grandfather lived during alcohol prohibition and seen it end and now I get to witness the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition, I couldn’t be more happy to live in such a historic tims.

  23. The phrase “Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good” comes to mind while reading many of these comments.

  24. My statement was factually accurate, and less than three hyperlink clicks will bring you to the official website of the initiative sponsors and their faq on the dui provision. It clearly states that they are looking for active metabolites. People, read the initiative for yourselves, read the faqs provided by the authors.

  25. I am a sufferer of mild cerebral palsy, anxiety, and a joint disorder that makes it almost impossible for me to properly enjoy sports, working out, or do anything else involving strenuous activity. Yet, because I lack a “chronic illness”, and because pain is brought on with activity and isn’t simply there on its own, I do not qualify for MMJ. Basically, while I smoked cannabis for a year illegally, it was helping me exercise and think clearly about things. However, because I am not absolutely debilitated, I can’t have what works for me.

    Legalize it. Yes on I-502. I would continue to buy and use MJ therapeutically for myself, but I also believe everyone deserves access to such a great plant. End this conflict between MMJ users and regular people who want it legalized. Voting NO on I-502 would prove that Washingtonians are picky, greedy and money-oriented, as it seems to me the policies regarding DUI’s with the bill is used as a disguise for the underlying desire to keep profits high by private growers and dispensaries.

    WA state is known for its open-minded, liberal and compassionate people. We don’t need the burden of a failed, historical initiative in this nature hanging over our heads. If this happens, I will humbly leave WA and head to somewhere that aligns more with the values I grew up with and appreciated.

    Yes on I-502.

  26. I for one as an american am livid and furious for the fact of marijauna does almost no harm to your body. The way your body is harmed from this is from the smoke not the plant. If you use marijauna and the smoke is changing your body or damaging you then you should not smoke you should eat or consume the product through treats or use a vaporizer. I do not use marijauna but almost all of my family has does or wants to but the laws scare them. I am a child in most peoples eyes but I am 16 and can think just because im 21 doesnt make me stupid and all of my life I have been without a father because he has been arrested for the use of marijauna. My father is a great man and I for one do not care what anybody else says or what the government trys to tell me because even though he has been locked up my whole life I have still had time with him for little amounts of time. For the first 13 years of my life I thought I hated my dad because he used marijauna until I looked up this drug because i was curious and it turns out its not my dad I hate its the people who took him from me. Lots of people are going to try to change my words and make it look like what im saying is wrong in some way but its not. I dont think I should have lost my father just because he smokes “canabis,”weed”,”marijauna” whatever you want to call it and I certainly dont think it is right to tell “Americans” that we cannot grow a plant that was here before all these laws and is grown just like any other plant but instead of having a peach apple or plum on a tree you have the bud. marijauna use has never killed anybody and it wont. The “law” and other citizens are convinced that marijauna makes you stupid. Marijauna does not make people stupid people make marijauna stupid. I have arguments at school with fellow classmates on why they think that marijauna should be illegal and not legal and 80 percent of the time there answer has to do with some friends they have that do stupid things while they are high well hello if somebody is going to be stupid and go throw firecrackers at cars as one of my classmates said. My argument was obviously if there going to do idiotic things like that they are obviously not the brightest of the bunch and were trouble makers before they ever decided to smoke. As the government and everybody else is saying “Guns dont kill people,people kill people” that is true yes the bullit may be the CAUSE of death but the gun did not kill anybody the person pulling the trigger did well I will fight your battle if you fight mine just because marijauna is illegal does not make it wrong the fact that you are breaking the law is wrong yes but not the plant itself. I have done more research on this then the average but over and over again I keep hearing and reading that legalizing marijauna will set a bad example for the children. Explain to me America how does marijauna set a bad example on our children. It doesnt is the answer. I believe if somebody is going to abuse a substance they are going to do it legal or not. Look at what the government has. I have just about 80 of my family over the age of 30 who have to use pain medication everyday and almost all of them are addicted or hooked. In the last 4 years I have had 3 family members die from addiction to pain medication and many of my friends parents are abusing alcohal and continue to do this. How many people are killed,abused, or had some bad incident with alcohal alot. Now here is the question to you how many people do you know that smoke weed and weed only and beat there kid or are violent? I cant think of anybody I know that does anything like that while under the influence of cannabis unless cannabis is not the only drug or substance they use. thankyou for taking the time to read this and I hope by this comment I have changed or altered someones thoughts about marijauna because to me it is not a drug it is just plant getting framed for all these horrible things that has no evidence.
    thank you for listening, christopher clements

  27. This is just sad and pathetic that the medical marijuana growers are coming in full force against this.

    This is exactly what the prohibitionists want: confusion and infighting.

    The medical industry says: screw everyone else, screw all pot smokers, screw common sense, screw tax revenue and the people’s will, screw minorities and young people who are routinely harassed and arrested.
    We want pot to remain illegal so WE can line our pockets with the revenue.

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  29. I have already voted FOR 502. I am alittle worried about the amount of tax that is going to be imposed on consumers. 25% AT EACH OF THE FOUR LEVELS OF DISTRIBUTION. This seems to be a bit eccessive even for Washington. I am not a user but have always been a comman sence supporter of legelization of marijuana. but for all you smokers out there. i would get use to the Idea of paying about 3 times what you are now. Your thoughts?

  30. I think it is essentially great for the state of Washington and the medical patients if legislation passes law that marijuana legal in the state Washington. Legalization and regulating the beautiful THC enriched plant would help boost the economy and provide millions of dollars to federal, state, and local governments. Legalization would all entrepreneurs to create their own business which in turn creates more jobs and spreads the the money involved in the green rush industry. This industry can potentially be worth gigantic, maybe a multi-billion industry. Besides all the dollar signs we see in the green rush, marijuana legalization would help turn some sick patients to the THC molecule for reliving pain rather than taking pills that could risk a chance of getting hooked on, especially if they’re highly addicting prescription pills. They help patients with glaucoma, aids, chemotherapy treated patients, and etc. Marijuana intake helps with the nausea, generating appetite, and easing pain in a way some pills can’t help with. This is a miracle drug to some patients suffering from these conditions. If the state of Washington legalizes this in upcoming November of this year, I think this would help politicians and law makers to get on board with the legal process in many other leaning states. I think once politicians not focus n their political funding, and instead consider the financial benefits it’ll bring to the over benefit of states and therefore our country, then they will have a turn of heart on the steriotype of weed being sold and practiced

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