Marijuana and Cannabis News

Lowest Police Priority: 6 WA Cities May Have Cannabis Initiatives
By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Legislation, News
Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm
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Sensible Washington
Washington state legalization group Sensible Washington announced earlier this year that they would be running local, city-wide initiatives in 2012. Last month the group declared Spokane its first city. Now, just days away from filing, the group has announced the next five cities where they'll be running initiatives:

• Everett
• Olympia
• Bremerton
• Kent
• Bellingham

According to Sensible Washington, these initiatives will combine making adult cannabis offenses the lowest law-enforcement priority, and prohibiting cooperation of local law enforcement with federal authorities in marijuana enforcement.

"We need to make the push for cannabis at every level of our government, from the cities to the states to the nation's capitol," said patient activist Mimi Meiwes. "We are the people and it's time we took responsibility of our nation and became accountable for our government.

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Sarah Short
Mimi Meiwes: "We need to make the push for cannabis at every level of government"
​"The real beauty in all of this is that we can work together at different levels towards common goals," Meiwes said. "If we put our hearts in this and put aside power and greed we can realize more of our full potential in every way, too."

The lowest priority part of the initiatives will be similar to Tacoma's Initiative No. 1 and Seattle's Initiative 75, both approved by the voters in those cities.

Last year, Initiative 1 passed with a supermajority of 65 percent. I-75 passed back in 2003 in Seattle with 58 percent approval, and has been deemed a big success by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML):

The panel's report is the first of its kind in the US to show that de-prioritizing marijuana enforcement has no negative impact on society. In contrast, this report shows that the measure freed up limited law enforcement resources to focus on violent and dangerous crime.

In addition to lowest enforcement priority for cannabis, the initiatives will, as mentioned, direct local authorities to refuse to cooperate with the federal government in the implementation of federal cannabis policies.

"We're excited about pushing forward into these key cities," said Anthony Martinelli of Sensible Washington. "Olympia (our state capitol), Bremerton (with its heavy federal presence), and Spokane (a city hit hard by federal raids)."

"We've researched each city's regulations, deadlines, and signature count requirements, and we strongly believe, with your support, each one will have a reform initiative on the general election ballot this November," Sensible Washington posted on its website.

The goal is to get the initiatives on each ballot quickly, "as to effectively run a campaign to not only get these on the ballot, but get them passed into law," according to Martinelli. 

The group needs your support to make this happen. If you're interested in supporting these initiatives, including helping collect signatures, email goinglocal@sensiblewashington.org.

Also, if you have a strong desire to run an initiative in your city, Sensible Washington has a list of 59 cities and six counties in the state that allow localized initiatives. Please refer to the Washington Research Council's PDF: Initiatives and Referenda at the Local Level for a list of cities and counties.

"Anyone wishing to mobilize a local effort that is not on our current list, should email goinglocal@sensiblewashington.org," said Troy Barber of Sensible Washington. "We will do everything we can to help you in your efforts, including language, training, and coaching your volunteer efforts."

"Already there is acceptance of cannabis, growing more every day and only by standing up and working hard to maintain the freedoms we have will we be able to continue making headway," Meiwes said. "It's up to all of us individually AND collectively to make this happen, and this year is the best opportunity we've had."

"We certainly plan to use these efforts at local reform to help build up our infrastructure and resources in order to attempt a full repeal of adult cannabis prohibition in our state. With months of prior planning, we hope to formulate an effective and coherent strategy to bring successful and lasting reform," Martinelli told Toke of the Town Saturday afternoon.

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