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Big Donors Give Boost To Washington Marijuana Legalization Initiative


Washington State MarijuanaBy Gene Johnson

A campaign to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use in Washington state is getting a big cash boost with two months left to collect signatures.

New Approach Washington said Tuesday it received $100,000 from Harriet Bullitt, a philanthropist and environmentalist from one of the state’s most prominent families.

And by the end of next week it expects to have $200,000 more from Progressive Insurance Chairman and Peter Lewis, who already has given $50,000 to date.

Peter Lewis marijuana

Peter Lewis

“In financial terms, it means we’ll have what we need,” campaign director Alison Holcomb told The Associated Press.

Initiative 502, would legalize up to an ounce of dried marijuana; 1 pound of marijuana-infused product in solid form, such as brownies; or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids. People over 21 would be able to buy marijuana at state-licensed stores.

The campaign must collect 241,000 valid signatures by the end of this year to send the initiative to the Legislature, which can pass it outright or allow it to go to a public vote on the November 2012 ballot.

About New Approach Washington

New Approach Washington is a coalition of Washington citizens who believe that treating marijuana use as a crime has failed, and that it is time for a new approach. We include doctors, lawyers, treatment and prevention experts, business people, and parents. We are united in the belief that Washington should stop wasting law enforcement resources on adults who use marijuana, and instead create a tightly regulated system that generates tax revenue for our state and local governments.

Initiative Measure No. 502 (I-502) is an initiative to the legislature. New Approach Washington must submit 241,153 valid petition signatures to the Secretary of State by December 30, 2011. I-502 will then be referred to the legislature for consideration during the 2012 session, which begins January 9. If the legislature fails to pass the measure, I-502 will go onto the November 2012 general election ballot.

Key Features of Initiative Measure No. 502

Initiative Measure No. 502 will replace Washington’s ineffective and unjust marijuana laws with a regulated public health approach that will redirect law enforcement resources to more pressing priorities, generate new tax revenues for critical social services, and take marijuana out of the hands of violent drug cartels.

  • Distribution to adults 21 and over through marijuana-only stores that are licensed and regulated through the state Liquor Control Board
  • Production and processing of marijuana also licensed and regulated by the LCB, and restricted to Washington businesses
  • Tight advertising restrictions
  • Estimated $215 million in new excise, B&O, and retail sales tax each year1, with roughly $80 million going to state general fund and $135 million earmarked:
    • Evidence-based prevention strategies targeting youth, chosen in consultation with UW Social Development Research Group2
    • Dedicated funding stream for Healthy Youth Survey3
    • Washington’s Building Bridges program for at-risk youth4
    • Science-based public education materials regarding health risks of marijuana use hosted by UW Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute5
    • Research by UW and WSU into the short- and long-term effects of marijuana use, including driving impairment
    • Dedicated marijuana Quitline analogous to tobacco Quitline operated by state Department of Health6
    • Additional marijuana-related public health educational programs administered by Department of Health at the state and local level
    • Biennial evaluation of impacts of law by Washington State Institute for Public Policy7
    • Washington’s Basic Health Plan
    • Community health centers
  • New marijuana DUI threshold of 5 ng/mL THC blood concentration8

Download this overview as a factsheet.

Download the ballot title and summary.

Download the complete text of the initiative.

Portions Of This Article From The Associated Press


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  1. H.R. 2306 Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act 2011
    H.R 1983 States Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act 2011
    These bills could be the CHANGE we NEED!!!
    Call, write or visit your congressional representatives and tell them to support
    and sign on as co sponsors!
    End the insanity!!!!!!

  2. Penelope Fudgepacker on

    Price of weed dot com says that Washington state is suffering from low, low pot prices (which I would agree with) and if I had to guess why, I’d hazard a guess about supply and demand being slightly….out of balance in favor of those “light farmers” growing their favorite herb that have learned their indoor gardening lessons only too well. It’s everywhere, it’s for the most part, excellent home grown pot…er medicine and it’s cheap, cheap and did I mention cheap? Ounces of locally produced killer-bud with cool sounding names like Sour Diesel, Blueberry & Northern Lights (and many others too numerous to count) can be acquired for $200 or even less and if you have some more money to spend, there’s even better deals than that!!
    So what’s the real price of a killer premium ounce of fabulous weed worth on the open market soon to be free from the market influences of hazard and risk created by those that don’t so imbibe and wish to maintain the status-quo? Well, if this goes into effect and becomes law in Washington state, we’re going to find out, aren’t we?? What a thought – what’s an ounce of killer weed really worth, with no premiums added in for any aspect of local or distant law enforcement?? Wait you say….what about the Feds??? The coming economic crash and subsequent failure of the dollar will take care of them.(which reminds me that if you’re a “prepper” make sure you grow and stash some weed along with your emergency food, water and money stash for the bad times that are surely ahead. It should do well in a barter situation.) When that happens, marijuana legal or not will be the last thing on the flight-for-survival minds of the federal G-man. They’re about done and that….Emperor has no clothes anyway.

  3. This is the next BIG move since the beginning of prop. 215 that started the whole medical marijuana trend. If only people really knew the truth over cannabis history and how everyone has played their role since the beginning in the late 30’s. With Occupy Wall Streets movements changing how we see our Government and Nation for what they really are, the nation wouldn’t think the conspiracy is so far fetched. Our government probably is making billions of unaccounted for money and they too are crying wolf like the banks. Besides the military cant smoke because the effects make you not wanna fight, even though they persist to say marijuana causes violent behavior and high criminal activity. In other wards in their point of view, if you smoke you will be on the corner selling yourself for marijuana and that your kids would see that message. You know what message I hear? I hear were telling our kids that its okay to crush your prescribed pills and snort them up their noses like cocaine or smoke it like meth on tin foil because it is legal. Notice its not even about your health? Its a money making system with no care for human well being. I understand that its an indirect message however its the message. Actions speak loader than words and doing nothing is still a choice, their for its an action because we know better.

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