Washington: Tacoma Voters To Decide On Marijuana ‘Deprioritization’ Measure

Tacoma, WA: Tacoma voters will decide this November on a municipal initiative that seeks to make marijuana law enforcement the city’s “lowest priority.”

Proponents of the measure submitted over 4,000 valid signatures from registered municipal voters to qualify the measure for the 2011 ballot.

The proposal (Tacoma Initiative 1) seeks to make cannabis possession related offenses “the lowest enforcement priority of the City of Tacoma.”

The initiative is modeled after a similar measure that was enacted by Seattle voters in 2003. A review of that measure in 2008 reported that implementation of the ordinance was associated with a reduction in local law enforcement costs and “no evident increase in marijuana use among youth and young adults.”

Proponents in Portland, Maine have also turned in signatures to place a similar measure on the November city ballot, but those signatures have yet to be officially certified by city officials.

Previous ‘deprioritization’ measures have been approved by voters nationwide, including voters in Oakland, California and Denver, Colorado.

Proponents in Miami Beach have also turned in signatures for a citywide ordinance that seeks to reduce penalties for marijuana possession to a fine only.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.