portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts oregon & cascadia

drug war

Washington Freedom Initiative

1149 Needs your support! Its not too late to make the wold a better place. Eliminate the crime to stop crime. Help end the nazi tactics and take a step towards peace.
Grass Hopper
Grass Hopper

Last week, Governor Chris Gregoire indicated that she plans to veto a medical cannabis bill that has the support of doctors, patients, city governments, and the legislature. The bill had been carefully written and amended to ensure that Washington would have the soundest medical cannabis regulations in the country, protecting patients, providing clarity for law enforcement, and allowing cities to enact smart zoning regulations to keep dispensaries from being located near schools. Instead, the governor appears to be misinterpreting established federal policy in order to veto it, potentially leaving Washington with its existing mess of unregulated dispensaries and inviting more conflicts between law enforcement and the communities they're tasked to protect.

"This development makes it all the more clear that Initiative 1149 is the solution," says attorney and NORML board member Jeffrey Steinborn. "If the state of Washington, by initiative, repeals all criminal penalties for adult involvement in cannabis, and instructs the legislature to pass some reasonable regulations, the Feds are left with but two choices: first, they can defer to the will of the people of Washington and allow the state to regulate it. Second, they can invalidate any regulations that the state passes, leaving cannabis totally unregulated. That's how the prohibition of alcohol was abolished. It's the best way to eliminate the prohibition against responsible adult use of cannabis. This is the way real reform happens."


Originally Posted by SensibleWashington
Many people don't know this, but there are now dispensary-like businesses and cooperatives in Washington where you can obtain tested medical marijuana safely over the counter with a credit card.

Unfortunately, medical marijuana is only available in these kinds of safe environments for those who know the right people and can afford or find a doctor who will make the recommendation.

Sensible Washington intends to fix that. We are organizing a team of 10,000+ activists statewide to gather signatures and place Initiative 1149 on the November 2011 ballot. The initiative is simple: it removes all criminal penalties for possession, use, manufacture or delivery of cannabis among adults and directs the Legislature to create taxation and regulatory system as appropriate.

It makes medicine safely available to patients without having to go to the black market.

Legal strategy: learn from the repeal of prohibition

Why take this simple approach to the initiative?

History shows that the best way to end prohibition is to simply repeal prohibition language. In 1932 Washington was one of the states that repealed prohibition on alcohol through a statewide initiative. The initiative removed all state laws criminalizing alcohol, leaving the Legislature the task of creating regulations, which it did. Their initiative language gave nothing for the Federal Government to attack since it simply removed state prohibition laws and nothing new was being added that would conflict with Federal law.

This is still the best strategy. When trying to legalize a federally controlled substance, there is always the problem of conflict with the supreme law of the land. If we pass code that includes regulation for something that is not allowed federally, the government has the power to trump the law leaving us back at square one, but with our funders and our volunteers demoralized. It could happen immediately or years down the road when a hostile Federal administration takes power.

Polling and political strategy

Polling this year affirms that we can win in Washington as soon as legalization is put to the popular vote. Washington is one of the best polling states in the country for legalizing cannabis, with 52% of the public in favor of legalizing marijuana and only 35% opposed statewide.

Looking at the bigger picture, it makes sense nationally as well as locally to repeal prohibition in Washington in 2011. National legalization organizations are gearing up for a big push in 2012. Their resources could be used in tougher states if Washington were to legalize in 2011 and no resources were then needed here in 2012. Sensible Washington can get on the ballot with minimal funding because of the breadth of our volunteer base. Plus, if Washington State does not have an initiative running in 2011, the issue will be quiet for a year at a time when we need to make it louder. An early victory in Washington would be a powerful precedent in the 2012 elections for other states.

But there is another reason to proceed in 2011. This issue is just too urgent to wait until it's a sure thing. We all know the terrible toll of marijuana prohibition- 15,000 arrests in Washington every year, $100 million-plus of tax dollars wasted, dying medical patients being prosecuted for medical use, organ transplants denied to legitimate medical cannabis patients, people losing their children. . . We lawyers see the dark side of prohibition in our work.

We can't allow this to go on. Many of us have been fighting to protect people in the courts, and some of us have even made our livings defending marijuana cases, but the time is right to fix the problem. We can't wait any longer to repeal prohibition knowing that every year, 15,000 people will be harmed and that the public supports us now.

Sensible Washington is already on the ground recruiting and mobilizing thousands of grass-roots activists, developing our cutting edge online networking technology, keeping the issue alive in the press, and filling positions in our vast campaign infrastructure.

During the 2010 effort, our I-1068 initiative got 2/3 of the required signatures with a base of 1,500 activists and little money. Next year, we'll be starting with 10,000 people or more. We have the early endorsement of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and many others. We anticipate beginning signature gathering in January or February of 2011.
Signing/getting signatures for I-1149


Originally Posted by SensibleWashington
We need 241,153 valid signatures to make the General Election Ballot in November.

Looking for the petition? Check out the Tools page.

Or download it here. (PDF) | NOTE: MUST BE A SINGLE 11"x17" SHEET OF PAPER.
Update 3/22 - The alternate petition issue has been resolved. If you need a stack of petitions, Contact  petitionrequest@sensiblewashington.org.


homepage: homepage: http://https://sensiblewashington.org/blog/