A final version of the 1996 Washington Hemp Initiative has been approved by the Washington state Attorney General. If successful, the initiative, now known officially as Initiative 663, would require the state to replace existing policies prohibiting cannabis with a system of regulation and taxation similar to that of alcohol. The initiative has until July 8th to gather the 189,000 signatures from registered Washington voters necessary to place the bill on the upcoming ballot.
The 1996 Hemp Initiative is a comprehensive initiative dealing with industrial, medicinal, and recreational hemp. Industrial hemp is defined by the initiative as having less than .5 percent THC and is to be regulated as a non-intoxicating agricultural commodity. Medicinal cannabis is allowed to be distributed by prescription from drug stores and pharmacies. Regulations regarding the use of recreational and/or intoxicating hemp (read: marijuana) are modeled after the laws regulating alcohol and permits adults over 21 to consume cannabis as long as they do so responsibly. In addition, minors will not be allowed where marijuana is grown, sold, or consumed.
Tom Rohan, state coordinator for the initiative drive, notes that petition organizers have over 3,000 volunteers to help gather signatures.
For more information, please contact the Hemp Initiative Hotline at (206) 548-8043. A complete text of the 1996 Hemp Initiative is available on the Internet at http://www.hemp.net/