YEP or NAW? Two Pot Legalization Drives Active In Washington


Photo: Courtesy Don Skakie
Don Skakie, Yes End Penalties WA: “Removing marijuana penalties will not conflict with federal law”

​When it comes to cannabis law reform, what’ll it be, Washington? Your choices are YEP and NAW. (The respective acronyms stand for Yes End Penalties and New Approach Washington.)

The new kid on the block, Washington state cannabis reform group Yes End Penalties Washington (YEP WA), will announce a new marijuana legalization drive at 11 a.m. Thursday on the North Steps of the Legislative Building at the State Capitol in Olympia.

Initiative sponsor and Lacey City Councilman Ron Lawson will announce “Initiative to the Legislature 505,” which would remove cannabis-related civil and criminal penalties for adults in Washington state. Supporters of I-505 will speak at the event.
Yes End Penalties WA is inviting news media and interested members of the public to attend and compare YEP to NAW.
“Removing marijuana penalties will not conflict with federal law, avoiding preemption and empowering the people of Washington state to step away from the fear of speaking for cannabis reform and directing their legislators to create fair and evenhanded regulation that benefits the public, rather than special interest groups and based on fact and science, not misinformation or ‘reefer madness’ propaganda,” said YEP’s Don Skakie.

Photo: City of Lacey
Lacey City Councilman Ron Lawson, sponsor of YEP’s I-505 marijuana legalization initiative

​YEP’s model of legalization is quite similar to the Sensible Washington initiative, which failed in 2010 and again this year to gather the necessary signatures to make the Washington ballot.
Like Sensible Washington’s I-1149, the YEP proposal, I-505, would simply remove the penalties for marijuana without setting up a regulatory structure.
That makes them both very different from New Approach Washington, another current cannabis reform effort in the state.
New Approach Washington would set up a system of state-licensed stores from which adults over 21 could buy cannabis, but would not allow home cultivation.
Adults would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana under the New Approach Washington plan.
To read the official language of I-505, click here [PDF].