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

Marijuana legalization appears headed to the ballot in California, after initiative organizers turned 700,000 petition signatures, well above the 433,000 required.

If California voters approve, it will be the most comprehensive reform of marijuana laws ever undertaken in the United States. While some states, such as Oregon, have relatively lax penalties for possession, no state has attempted to regulate and tax the herb before.

The measure’s chances are good: A poll taken last April found that 56 percent of Californians want to see the herb legalized and taxed.

According to the L.A. Times, the measure would make it legal for anyone over 21 to own an ounce or less of pot, and to grow pot for personal use in a space no larger than 25 square feet. It would also give cities the right to license marijuana growers and sellers, and to collect taxes on the crop.

Give me half a million dollars to buy the signatures, and I could get a similar measure on the 2010 ballot here in Washington, although I would prefer a measure that relies on our existing state store system to handle sales and distribution. In fact, I’d actually be a pretty good figurehead for the campaign, as I don’t actually use the stuff myself.

Pot prohibition has proven costly, unworkable and counterproductive, and the state could really use the revenue legalization would produce. At the risk of prompting the obvious retort, legalization is really a no-brainer.

Comments

  1. 1

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    The way these insane laws will be overturned is by a bottom-up approach. The federal government is going to have to be forced to recognize that it’s time for this crazy Prohibition to end!

    If California can step up to the plate and put legalization on the ballot, so can Washington. I’ve challenged Tim Eyman (over at Sound Politics) to take this cause since he’s got experience in the initiative arena. Since he hasn’t had much success lately with his initiatives, maybe getting on board with legalization of marijuana would turn his situation around.

    Tim Eyman, this is an excellent opportunity for you. Let’s get that initiative machine fired-up and change these ridiculous laws!

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Goldy is finally figuring out what Western populism is all about. We like our Winchester rifles, barbed wire, and initiatives. That’s what civilizes this places.

  3. 4

    Max Rockatansky spews:

    I thought goldy didnt like the initiative process……

    I get it:

    Initiative process BAD for lowering taxes
    Initiative process GOOD for making pot legal.

  4. 6

    Dave spews:

    I dislike the initative process as Tim has learned to game it.

    Best way I can think of for the opponents of Mj reform to derail it would be to get Timmy promoting it :)

  5. 7

    Michael spews:

    @2 Totally.

    Even if this were to pass you’d run up against federal laws, which aren’t going to change- too many people have too much invested in it. An initiative would be tossing money down the drain.

    Better to spend what little money we have on things that will pass. Preferably at the local level. Fuck the feds and the state Gov. Get Tacoma, Hellvue, Vancouver, Bellingham, Walla-Walla (college town), Pullman & Spokane to follow Seattle’s lead in making the enforcement of pot laws a low priority and pot’s de-facto legal in the state of Washington.

  6. 8

    spews:

    Max @4,

    I hate the initiative process. But what… I should engage in politics with my hands tied behind my back? Hold out for the system I want, rather than the one that exists? You’d like that, wouldn’t you.

  7. 9

    Max Rockatansky spews:

    @8…no worries goldy, you dont have any influence anyway so have at it…

    but hey- thanks for coming out of the closet and admitting your hypocrisy….

  8. 10

    I Got Nuthin' spews:

    @9 For someone who thinks Goldy doesn’t have any influence, you’re sure spending a lot of time on his site. Just sayin…

  9. 11

    proud leftist spews:

    If initiatives have a place at all in our political system, this is the type of issue appropriate for popular vote. Initiatives are not entirely ill-advised when they address issues that implicate social values. They are a completely inappropriate means of addressing budgetary issues.

  10. 15

    Max Rockatansky spews:

    @10…..this site, as well as any time I spend here, have no influence over the election of politicians or policies.

    you and goldy can keep dreaming though…..

  11. 17

    spews:

    @10
    LOL! I always love the people who devote their entire lives to shouting down Goldy, but then claim that he doesn’t have any influence. Fucking hilarious.

  12. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 What do you want to lower taxes to, zero? Haven’t we closed enough schools or released enough criminals yet to suit your taste?

  13. 20

    mark spews:

    You know what will happen, they’ll legalize pot and then make it an offense if we load our bowls while texting behind the wheel. Dammit!

  14. 21

    hey right wingers spews:

    hey right wingers, how many of you have smoked pot?

    Yes, I mean lostinasea, cynical, puddywhatever.

    Did you try it when younger? Ever know anyone who did smoke pot?

    Me, of course. Not too interested in last 25 years or so, and certainly think it’s insance to put people in jail for it. I wouldn’t recommend using it too much but then again I don’t recommend going to church 5x a week either, that’s kind of unproductive time, and I also don’t reccommend watching 6 hours of football on TV every Sat. and Sun. all fall ….but you know, personal freedom and all that, etc. To me, it seems to sap people’s energy, harm their relationships and lower their IQ….kind of make them without ambition, know what I mean? but I wouldn’t favor passing laws putting you in jail for watching the NFL.

    So how about it right wingers, didja smoke pot or not?

    Do tell.

  15. 22

    Mathew "RennDawg" Renner spews:

    @21

    This Right Winger has never tried pot. Never had never will. Getting high? I got better things to with my time. What is the point. I admit that I have been drunk before. It just makes you stupid.

  16. 23

    nemo spews:

    That fact that referenda and initiatives have to exist at all is a sad comment on the electoral system, which usually becomes corrupted by special interests aligning themselves with established politicians.

    In the case of drug prohibition, this is doubly so, for the policy is demonstrably a failure, but is continued because so many are deriving paychecks from it and don’t want that to stop…no matter how many lives are needlessly destroyed by said policy.

    Short of every cannabist coming out of the closet and demanding an end to their persecution, this is the least painful way of achieving an end to this insanity. A pity it has to be so financially costly, but by ending cannabis prohibition, the States will save billions of dollars presently wasted in pursuing the mainly non-violent, and and allow said States to concentrate their funds on more profitable projects…like creating the infrastructure repair and energy-efficient transportation jobs that are so badly needed.