WA Governor-Elect Inslee: It is the Best Interest of State and Country to Allow Legalization to Move ForwardNovember 15, 2012
During a press conference today, the governor-elect for the state of Washington, Jay Inslee, defended his state’s recently approved marijuana legalization initiative. He stated that he believes it is the best interest “not only of our state, but in our country” for President Obama and the federal government to allow these recently approved measures to move forward.
“My belief is Washington has worked its will. The voters have spoken,” Inslee stated, “I was not supportive of the initiative but I’m going to be fully supportive of protecting, defending, and implementing the will of the voter—which will essentially allow the use of recreational marijuana in our state.”
In regards to the federal government, the incoming governor encouraged their support. “I will be working to a very rational, mature way to convince the administration that it’s in the best interest, not only of our state, but in our country, to allow our state to move forward in this regard.”
You can view his comments in full here.
It is refreshing, to say the least, to see an elected official going to bat for the voters of their state and defending the will of the people when it comes to marijuana policy. As always, NORML will keep you posted on the ever evolving situation between Washington and Colorado’s new marijuana legalization laws and the federal government.
Tuesday night, the states of Colorado and Washington sent a loud and clear message to the federal government that they no longer wish to enforce the futile prohibition on cannabis. The symbolic impact of these victories are immediate, but what are the practical effects on the ground now that these two initiatives have been approved?
In Washington State, regulations for the marijuana retail outlets are going to start being drafted by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. This process is expected to last about a year. The immediate impact of passing I-502 is on the state laws regarding possession. Starting on December 6th, Section 20 of the initiative will take effect. This section effectively states that any person over the age of 21 is legally allowed to possess up to 1oz of dried marijuana, 16oz of marijuana solids (edibles), and 72oz of cannabis infused liquids (think oils and lotions). It is also no longer a crime to possess marijuana paraphernalia.
Law enforcement representatives in the state have already released some statements on this matter. Sergeant Sean Whitcomb, from the Seattle Police Department, said, “For us, the law has changed, and people can expect no enforcement for possession.”
“What you can expect,” Sgt. Whitcomb clarified, “is no enforcement on possession, that is a reasonable expectation.”
The vote in Colorado is awaiting final certification, a process that is expected to take about a month. After this approval, it will immediately become legal in Colorado for adults over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and for them to grow up to 6 plants in a secure indoor space.
The state is required to adopt a legal framework for retail sales by July of 2013, the first marijuana retail outlets could potentially open as early as the start of 2014.
Colorado’s law enforcement seems just as keen as Washington’s, for the time being, to honor the will of the people. “We’re not federal agents,” stated Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, who opposed Amendment 64 during the campaign.
“We can arrest people if they’re wanted on warrants on federal crimes, but unless we’re involved in a specific case … where (a deputy is) cross-commissioned as a federal agent,” he said, “we don’t directly enforce federal law.”
While he ended his statement with a patronizing jab, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper seems willing to abide by the desire of his state’s citizens on this issue. “The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will,” Hickenlooper said Tuesday night.
“This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said,” he ended, “Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.”
These protections in both states, when certified and placed into effect, will apply to anyone physically in the state, no residency required. Public consumption would remain a violation in both states, but a civil, not criminal, one.
As always, NORML will keep you posted as these laws become certified and come into effect and will be tracking the process of implementing retail outlets every step of the way.
Washington joins Colorado on this historic evening in passing their marijuana legalization initiative, I-502, in a 55% to 45% vote (with 50% of the vote tallied). The Seattle Times has called it a victory for I-502.
The significance of these events cannot be overstated. Tonight, for the first time in history, two states have legalized and regulated the adult use and sale of cannabis. We now must focus on the important work of implementation and begin to encourage other states to adopt these rational reforms. NORML will have much, much more as we progress. For now, we would just like to thank all the dedicated activists and supporters who made this night possible. We SMOKED THE VOTE and will now enter a new chapter in the history of marijuana law reform.
Marijuana prohibition might have not died completely tonight, but it certainly has been put on life support.
In what is likely to be one of last polls coming out of Washington State prior to Election Day, Initiative 502 to regulate marijuana is still holding strong to the commanding lead it has developed over the past few months. Data released from King 5 and SurveyUSA has I-502 leading among likely Washington voters, 56% stated they would vote yes on the measure with only 37% planning to vote no. There are just 7% still undecided.
This continues a several month trend of Washington’s I-502 leading in the polling data. A poll released last week by Strategies 360 had the marijuana initiative’s support leading opposition 54% to 38%. King5/SurveyUSA’s previous two polls from October and September had I-502 ahead at 55% to 36% and 57% to 34% respectively.
With just a few days left until November 6th, it seems unlikely the opposition will be able to overcome such a significant gap, putting Washington State on track to be the first state to legalize adult use of marijuana. Though, that may depend on how quickly the votes can be counted. The latest polling out of Colorado had their legalization initiative, Amendment 64, leading 53% to 43%.
Don’t become complacent because victory appears in sight! Check out NORML’s Smoke the Vote Guide to learn all about marijuana in the 2012 election. You can also read our “7 Simple Ways YOU Can Help Legalize Marijuana” and find some quick and easy ways you can help us sprint across the finish line. One of the most important things you can do with the remaining days is call voters in Colorado in support of Amendment 64 by using SSDP/NORML‘s online phone bank or JustSayNow‘s online program.
We WILL legalize marijuana. Let’s start on November 6th.
After publishing this story KCTS9 in Washington released another new Washington State poll. Adding credence to the King5 numbers, KCTS9 found that 55.8% of registered voters were supportive of I-502 with only 36.7% opposed. Those numbers held strong when looking at just likely voters as well, who support the marijuana regulation initiative by 55.4% to 37.6%.
We are entering the final week before Election Day and our efforts to educate Americans about marijuana law reform have never been more important. Polls show that victory is within grasp with Colorado’s Amendment 64, Washington’s I-502, and Massachusetts’ Question 3 all recently tracking towards a win, but it will still be a close race to the finish in all states.
Help us raise awareness for these important initiatives and Smoke the Vote next Tuesday by helping us take the message viral in the final stretch. Below you will find one simple action you can take each day before the election to help promote marijuana legalization. Let your friends and family know that you stand for rational reforms to marijuana policy and remind them to get out and vote!
1 – Wednesday, October 31st
2 – Thursday, November 1st
SMOKE THE VOTE
3 – Friday, November 2nd
Spend a Friday night in, preferably with friends and family, calling voters for Amendment 64 and Measure 80. You can either call voters in support of these initiatives by yourself, from anywhere in the country -or- you can pool your efforts and set up a phone banking party. At your disposal are SSDP and NORML’s phone bank to dial voters under 30 for Amendment 64 and JustSayNow‘s phone bank to call voters over 30 (also allows for dialing for Oregon’s Measure 80!)
4 – Saturday, November 3rd
Share the latest campaign ads! Post them to Facebook, tweet them at celebrities, email them to your grandparents, post one to your blog…just spread them as far and wide as you can. If you live in one of the states voting on an initiative or can directly target people you know who are, all the better.
WASHINGTON I-502: It’s Just Common Sense
COLORADO Amendment 64: Veteran’s for Amendment 64 OREGON: MEASURE 80 ARKANSAS: VOTE YES ON ISSUE 5 MASSACHUSETTS: YES ON QUESTION 3
5 – Sunday, November 4th
Share NORML’s Smoke the Vote Guide with your social networks. Remind everyone to confirm their voter registration and to check their current polling location, as it may have changed since they last cast a ballot. They can also get caught up on all the marijuana related voter initiatives and view the presidential candidates stances on cannabis.
Post something like:
Did you know the election is on Tuesday?! Check out this page to confirm your registration, find your polling place, and learn if you can vote on marijuana law reform on November 6th. Smoke the Vote!
6 – Monday, November 5th
Pledge to make some final “Get Out The Vote” calls! You can RSVP for a specific time slot here and get an email reminder when it is almost your scheduled time. These final calls are crucial to reminding our supporters to get to the polling booth and they are our final chance to persuade them to support our efforts! If you can’t make phone calls, can you at least pledge to personally email or facebook message 10 of your friends about the election? Anything you can do to help in the final hours of the campaigns take us another step towards legalization.
7 – Tuesday, November 6th ELECTION DAY!
Get out the vote! Share all the above images and videos. Tweet reminders to your friends to #SmokeTheVote (#YesOn64 #YesOn502 #YesOn80). If you live in a state with in-person election day voting, offer to drive your friends, family, and coworkers to the polls. Turn out is extremely important, we have to make sure everyone knows to get out and cast their ballot and to vote YES on the marijuana law reform initiatives.
After you’ve nagged everyone who will listen, dragged your last friend to the polling station, and cast a ballot yourself, come home and tune into www.blog.norml.org – we will be having live election night coverage giving you the latest from our contacts on the ground, exit polling, first results, and more!
Together, we can do this. Together, we WILL legalize marijuana. Let’s start on November 6th.