cannabisnews.com: Initiative Filed To Legalize Pot in Washington
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Initiative Filed To Legalize Pot in Washington
Posted by CN Staff on January 12, 2010 at 06:00:03 PT
By Gene Johnson, The Associated Press
Source: Seattle Times
Washington State -- Five activists filed a ballot initiative Monday that would legalize all adult marijuana possession, manufacturing and sales under Washington state law  one of the most sweeping efforts at changing marijuana laws around the country this year.Its sponsors include two Seattle lawyers and the director of Seattle's annual Hempfest. They call themselves Sensible Washington, and say that in a time of dire budget woes, the state government should stop spending money on police, court and jail costs for people who use or produce marijuana.
Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents medical-marijuana patients, told The Associated Press the proposal would remove all state criminal penalties for adults who possess, grow and distribute pot  no matter how much. Criminal penalties for juveniles who possess marijuana and for those who provide the drug to juveniles would remain in place.Driving under the influence of the drug still would be against the law, too. And marijuana would remain illegal under federal law."It basically tells the federal government, 'Hey it's your prohibition  if you want it, you pay for it,' " Hiatt said. "We're tired of screwing around and wasting all this dough."Volunteers are lining up to collect the more than 241,000 signatures required to place the initiative on the November ballot, Hiatt said.The campaign has competition in Washington. One bill introduced here would legalize and regulate marijuana, while another would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot, making it punishable by a fine rather than jail time.Legalization bills have also been introduced in California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Nevada, and a group campaigning to place a marijuana-legalization measure before California voters said last month that it has enough signatures to qualify for this year's ballot.Alison Holcomb, drug-policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, which is lobbying for the decriminalization bill, said she supports any effort to engage the public in discussing marijuana law changes, but she couldn't comment specifically on the initiative without reading it."If there were decriminalization of transfers of small amounts of marijuana not for profit, that might be one way to undermine the cartels' bottom line," she said. "But I think the push-back would be, are you just giving the gangsters a get-out-of-jail-free card in Washington state? Are you setting up incentives for criminal elements to come here and set up shop?"Hiatt disputed that notion, saying the drug flourishes on the black market only because it is illegal. Furthermore, federal agents wouldn't stand for large-scale marijuana trafficking, he said.He cited one recent study suggesting Washington could save tens of millions of dollars a year on law-enforcement costs if marijuana were legal.Hiatt said he was inspired to file the initiative in part by a recent conversation with Mason County Prosecutor Gary Burleson, who told him to "put your money where your mouth is" and get an initiative before voters.In an interview Monday, Burleson said he doesn't necessarily support legalizing marijuana  and certainly not in the unlimited, unregulated way the initiative proposes. But he said he's frustrated with Washington's complicated medical-marijuana law, which authorizes patients to possess marijuana but is vague about how they can obtain it."Wouldn't legalizing this answer a whole lot of questions?" he said. "Aren't we just beating around the edges with all of these legal nuances?"I don't have a problem with marijuana being legal, and I don't have a problem with it being illegal," Burleson said. "But right now, I have a big problem understanding what's legal and what's not."Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author: Gene Johnson, The Associated PressPublished: January 11, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: http://www.seattletimes.com/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/lQkBomwXCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml
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Comment #3 posted by Canis420 on January 12, 2010 at 10:52:25 PT:
Florida PUFMM
I believe the number of petitions needed in Florida is just under 700,000 and it is a percentage of the states population. If we dont make it for 2010, which it seems we will not, all petitions signed will carry over until 2012. So keep at it all petition pushers!
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on January 12, 2010 at 09:02:25 PT
Florida
as you may know from living there, I believe Florida is the 3rd biggest state in the US for population. WAY more people in the Florida than Washington state.The Florida state website, elections sections, would probably answer your question on the math formula.here, Florida has 3 times the number of people of WA:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_population
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Comment #1 posted by knightshade on January 12, 2010 at 06:11:22 PT:
question
How come they only need 241,000 signatures to legalize pot period, and in Florida we need over 900,000 for the medical marijuana petition? (PUFMM.org says they've only got 34,000 btw, less than a month before the deadline)Is the number based on the number of residents in the state? If so what's the math formula?
my weed music
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