Bummer Of The Day: WA Pot Legalization Initiative Falls Short


Graphic: Reality Catcher
With the demise of I-1068, legalization won’t be happening until at least 2012 in Washington state.

‚ÄčSensible Washington, the group which tried to get marijuana legalized in Washington state through Initiative 1068, has fallen just short of the number of petition signatures it needed to get the measure on November’s ballot.

Friday was the deadline for submitting petition signatures to the Washington Secretary of State’s office, and campaign organizers said they will be several thousand names short of the roughly 241,000 needed, reports Andrew Garber at The Seattle Times.
The proposal would have eliminated penalties for persons 18 and older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana.
Ballot measures in Washington need at least 241,153 valid signatures of registered state voters to make the ballot, and the Secretary of State’s office recommends at least 300,000 as a buffer, to allow for duplicate, illegible and ineligible signatures.

Philip Dawdy, campaign director for Sensible Washington, blamed the Pacific Northwest’s cold and rainy spring.
“We ran into a lot of problems with the mechanics just because of the weather,” he said.
According to Dawdy, the all-volunteer campaign will likely end up about 50,000 signatures short of qualifying.
“Even though they failed to get the needed number of signatures, this is still an impressive accomplishment for a truly grass roots organization with very little financial backing,” said Jon Walker at FireDogLake.
Washington’s odd laws regarding paper size of signature petitions (they must be 11×17, thus preventing most people from printing them out at home) make it problematic for truly decentralized grassroots initiative campaigns. Getting petitions out to signature gatherers turned out to be one of the most logistically challenging aspects of the I-1068 effort.
“With much earlier support from parts of the state Democratic party, a broader coalition and some extra financing, a cannabis legalization ballot measure could more easily succeed,” Walker said. “While Sensible Washington did fail in their stated goal, they did prove that there is strong grassroots energy and many dedicated volunteers in the state on the side of cannabis legalization.”
“I’m asking you all to stand down immediately, relax, regroup and let’s all push on for the future,” Dawdy said. “The battle may be lost, but the war goes on.”