|Graphic: Cannabis Culture|
Delegates to the Washington State Democratic Convention endorsed I-1068, the marijuana legalization initiative, with an overwhelming 62 percent “Yes” vote, 314 to 185, on Saturday.
The executive board had given no recommendation on the initiative, because “the committee was even more split than the delegates,” said State Vice Chair Sharon Smith, reports Bryce McKay at PubliCola.
“We expected this to come to a floor discussion,” Smith said. “There are some things that are clearly Democratic Party values, and then there are things like this that aren’t so clear.”
These welcome signs of the Democratic Party growing a backbone when it comes to cannabis issues are encouraging; there’s definitely a whiff of change in the air.
But at least one convention delegate expressed worries that the I-1068 endorsement might make races harder for Democratic candidates statewide, since their conservative Republican opponents will no doubt try to associate them with it.
The real mystery, however, is why does the marijuana issue continue to be regarded as a political third rail in Washington state politics, when a clear majority of state voters favor outright legalization?
A Survey USA poll of Washington voters for KING-TV, 56 percent of respondents said legalizing cannabis is a good idea.
Outside Seattle, there is strong support for legalization even in Eastern Washington, traditionally considered the “conservative” end of the state, with 52 percent saying it’s a good idea.
A petition with signatures from at least 241,153 registered voters must be submitted by July 2, just four days from now, in order to put I-1068 on the ballot, reports Jon Walker at FireDogLake.
Grassroots organization Sensible Washington “has run a very strong signature gathering campaign to promote I-1068,” Walker said, but may fall short due to a perpetual shortage of funds.
According to Walker, the legalization initiative’s endorsement by the state Democratic Party is a good sign that, should it fall short this year, the initiative could get on the ballot in 2012 with a bigger campaign working to get signatures.
“More importantly this may be another very positive sign that marijuana’s legal status is finally moving away from being some weird moralistic taboo to becoming just another political/policy question to be debated on its merits,” Walker said.