RE: WA should follow CA’s lead, and put pot legalization on the ballot

As a follow-up to Goldy’s post below, there’s already a group organizing an initiative for Washington. It’s called Sensible Washington and they expect to release the final wording of their initiative and begin signature gathering by March 1. Their initiative is not expected to specify the state liquor stores as the distributors, but will only legalize possession for adults. The state would then be on the hook for setting up regulations for where and how it can be sold.

One of the concerns of legalization advocates (both Goldy and I share this concern) is that there won’t be enough money to collect the necessary signatures. As the top post at Sensible Washington points out, PayPal has a history of freezing the accounts of drug law reform groups, and banks won’t work with them. I’d be curious to know how much of this results from archaic rules and misconceptions about drug law reform, and how much comes from potential crackdowns from the federal government. As for Paypal, one clue might be that one of its founders considers the era of alcohol prohibition as the last great era of American politics (I guess that makes him a libertarian).

So for now, they’re taking mail-in donations before a volunteer army of signature gatherers hit the ground across the state to put this initiative on the ballot. There’s certainly enthusiasm for drug law reform right now, but no one is really sure whether it will be enough to qualify. I guess we’re about to find out.

UPDATE (Goldy):
As an followup to Lee’s followup, Sensible Washington’s account of their difficulties in securing credit card processing is worth a read.
On the one hand, if millionaire investment banker Michael Dunmire wants an initiative on the ballot, he just writes Tim Eyman a check; on the other hand, if a group of grassroots activists wants to raise money online from small contributors, the banks won’t give them a merchant account, out of fear of I don’t know what.

So much for “direct democracy.”

That said, I emailed the folks at Sensible Washington earlier today to suggest that they set up an account with ActBlue, the same progressive online fundraising site through which we collectively raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Darcy Burner. ActBlue is now set up to handle state legislative and initiative campaigns in Washington state, in addition to federal races, a feature that R-71 made good use of last year.


  1. 1

    Gwen spews:

    All I know about signatures for initiatives is that I’ve signed a few, usually in front of the grocery store. If they have volunteers to gather signatures, what is money needed for?

  2. 2

    Michael spews:

    BTW, yet another police officer has been shot and killed, this time in Arizona.
    Shuhandler, a 16-year veteran, was shot in the face as he walked back toward the pickup after finding the passenger had an arrest warrant, said Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Mark Marino. Shuhandler, the father of two girls, was rushed to a hospital, where he died shortly before midnight.

  3. 4

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @1: Even with a lot of enthusiastic volunteers, you still need $$$’s. Please give. Thank you.

  4. 5

    jcricket spews:

    Thanks for the ActBlue info, Goldy. Make sure that there are reminders every now and then (timing is everything) to point progressives to this venue for donating.

    In celebration of this post from Lee, I am lighting up, wishing the CA and WA initiatives huge success.

  5. 6

    Gwen spews:

    #4: “Even with a lot of enthusiastic volunteers, you still need $$$’s.” For what? Unless you’re paying signature-gatherers, what does the money pay for?

  6. 7


    They’re trying to pay for signature gatherers to go along with the volunteers. Plus, running any campaign requires funds for signs, office space, etc.

  7. 10

    RUFUS spews:

    I can almost see the signature gatherers now:

    “Dude, hey dude will you sign this petition to legalize…. ah crap I forgot the petition… ah double crap I forgot the pen, hey are those Chetos?”


    tooo funny.

  8. 11

    Michael spews:


    That’s 6 officers shot to death & 2 killed by vehicular assault nation wide this month. I’m not sure what’s broken, but something in our society has broken down for all these police shootings to be taking place.

  9. 13


    Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly how California’s initiative backers collected their signatures.

    Got any more 40 year old lame stereotypes to share with us this evening, or do you have something to say that we might care about?

  10. 15

    The Centrist spews:

    re 14: That’s not our program. All we want them to do is order 30 pastrami sandwiches (on an onion roll with swiss) after toking.

  11. 16

    proud leftist spews:

    There is, of course, not a chance that 14 will get that. manoftruth doesn’t do humor. From my end, and please forgive me, let me say that even though I know it isn’t right, I would prefer Havarti to Swiss.

  12. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @19 I’m curious what gave these stupid-fuck trolls the idea that rabbits eat cheese. We’re into, you know, vegetable matter.

  13. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    With unemployment over 6% and savings paying less than 1%, this is a good time to be a rabbit. Even when the economy is total shit, like now, the grass still grows.

  14. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    typo: “over 16%”

    This, of course, refers to the U6 unemployment measure, which includes underemployed* as well as unemployed.

    * I.e., persons involuntarily working less than full-time hours.

  15. 23

    proud leftist spews:

    Trolls are trolls. Reality doesn’t much impact them. We bash them. We try to reason with them. We try to bring them into the light. Nonetheless, despite our efforts, they remain trolls. It’s difficult to plot an agenda against those who don’t think.

  16. 25

    Zotz spews:

    @24: Oh, come on, Roger. You were practically french kissing Klynical the other day, LOL.

    Then he flung goat shit at you waving his dick around after.

    Don’t feed the trolls, they starve after a while and go away.

    Even so, there oughta be an ignore / hide switch on trolls so you don’t have wade thru goat shit to get to something worthwhile.

  17. 26

    Max Rockatansky spews:

    @24….more glorious commentary from our local Himmler wannbe……

    ..let the body count begin, right rabbit?

  18. 27

    Hometown Spun spews:

    We CAN’T let the people decide these issues! The people are stupid and can’t be trusted to decide for themselves what we want. That’s why we need Democrats and Republicans to pass laws telling us what we can drink or smoke, who we can marry, when we’re allowed to die. These are important choices and can’t be trusted to “the people” just to the permanent political establishment. Leave these questions to McCain, Bush, Clinton and Obama. You just mind your own business!

    Unless it’s a Tim Eyman tax cut…then it should be up to the people. That’s, er, different.