A bill that would have legalized marijuana in Washington state — supported by every state legislator from Seattle, as well as the city’s mayor, city attorney and several City Council members — is officially dead in Olympia, the state capitol.
House Bill 1550 didn’t even advance out of the relevant committees by Friday evening, a key cutoff date for the 2011 Legislature, reports Chris Grygiel at the Seattle P.I.
Sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle), the measure would legalize marijuana, have its sale regulated by the state Liquor Control Board, and impose a tax of 15 percent on cannabis.
Supporters say it would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for a state government facing a $5 billion deficit for the next two years. A contingent of Seattle officials testified in favor of the bill last month.
The pot legalization bill was never seen as having good chances for passage. Although the measure could technically still be revived by being incorporated into a budget bill in the final weeks of the session, that is seen as highly unlikely.
Another bill in the state Senate which would have legalized marijuana in Washington died earlier in the session.
The Seattle Times‘ editorial board recently endorsed marijuana legalization. Washington voters could get a chance to vote on the question soon, with supporters of Initiative 1149, a ballot measure that would legalize cannabis for people 18 and older, gathering signatures.
To qualify for the November ballot, I-1149 sponsors Sensible Washington need to get the signatures of more than 241,000 registered voters by July 8. A similar effort last year fell short by about 50,000 signatures.
Sensible Washington is relying on an all-volunteer network to collect signatures, as organizers say they can’t afford paid signature gatherers.
A January poll found that a slim majority — 51 percent — of Washingtonians believe marijuana should be legal.