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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sensible Washington pushes for legalization initiative

Sensible Washington, a grassroots group comprised of thousands of Washington citizens, today filed an initiative to the people which would legalize marijuana for adults aged 18 years or older.

The initiative also directs the State Legislature to adopt civil regulations on the adult use of marijuana. The filing took place at the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia.

“We’re pleased to again put the important question of marijuana legalization before the public,” said Douglas Hiatt, Sensible Washington’s chair and initiative co-author. Sensible Washington’s I-1068 failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for last year’s ballot, largely due to a lack of funding. “We’re better funded and better organized this year and we look forward to giving the public an opportunity to vote on this issue in November.”

“We’ve changed last year’s initiative to reflect concerns about civil regulations of marijuana and our new initiative has language that clearly directs the State Legislature to regulate the responsible adult use of marijuana.”

Estimates vary, but the State currently spends over $100 million a year prosecuting otherwise responsible adults for marijuana possession.

“That kind of waste must stop, said Jeffrey Steinborn, an initiative co-author and a Seattle-based attorney who has long defended marijuana cases.

Sensible Washington expects to begin circulation of the initiative in February. State law requires 241,153 valid signatures of registered voters in order to qualify for the November 2011 ballot.

The proposed 2011 initiative here.

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