Washington Legalization of Marijuana, Initiative 1068 (2010)

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An Initiative to Legalize Marijuana, also known as I-1068, did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the State of Washington. It was sponsored by Sensible Washington.

In order to qualify the measure for the ballot supporters were required to collect 241,153 valid signatures of Washington State voters by July 2, 2010.[1][2] However, a day before deadline supporters reported that they were at least 40,000 signatures short of the minimum requirement.[3][4]

Douglas Hiatt, Jeffrey Steinborn, Philip Waine Dawdy, Richard A. Smith and William L. McPeak Jr. signed the affidavit requesting a ballot title from election officials in the state.

Text of measure


The ballot title read:[5]

Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 1068 concerns marijuana.
Concise Description: This measure would remove state civil and criminal penalties for persons eighteen years or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana. Restrictions and penalties for persons under eighteen would be retained.
Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]


According to the description prepared by the Washington Secretary of State:

This measure would remove state civil and criminal penalties for persons eighteen years or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana. Marijuana would no longer be defined as a “controlled substance.” Civil and criminal penalties relating to drug paraphernalia and provisions authorizing seizure or forfeiture of property would not apply to marijuana-related offenses committed by persons eighteen years or older. The measure would retain current restrictions and penalties applicable to persons under eighteen.


See also: Washington marijuana-related measures

Washingtonians legalized the use of medical marijuana under some circumstances in 1998, when they enacted the Initiative 692 which removed criminal penalties and defended qualified patients who possessed or cultivated marijuana for medical use. A year earlier, in 1997, the state's voters declined to outright legalize marijuana, when about 60% of those voting said "no" to Initiative 685. In 2008 a "60-day" supply was defined as 24 ounces and 15 plants. Additionally, state law allows patients to exceed the "60-day" supply as long as medical need is proven.[6]


The initiative was sponsored by Sensible Washington. According to the organization, the initiative was endorsed by: Norm Stamper, a retired Seattle Chief of Police; Toby Nixon, a former Washington State Representative; the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML); 37th legislative district Democrats; 39th legislative district Democrats; 41st legislative district Democrats; 23rd legislative district Democrats.[7]


According to the Public Disclosure Commission, April 2010 reports reveal that Sensible Washington raised a total of $1,300.[8]

Tactics and strategies

In order to generate support Sensible Washington created a Facebook page which reported an estimated 4,700 fans. Additionally, the campaign in support of I-1068 hosted a variety of volunteer meetings throughout the state. Some of the meetings included: Vancouver Volunteer Meeting Saturday April 17, Snohomish County Volunteer Meeting Sunday April 18 In Everett, SeaTac Volunteer Meeting Thursday April 22, Covington Volunteer Meeting Friday April 23, and Port Angeles Volunteer Meeting Monday April 26. The campaign also organized signing events in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Spokane County, and Whitman County.[8][9]



The ACLU of Washington did not support I-1068, instead the organization released a statement, which partially read:[10]

While a large majority of Washingtonians support reducing the penalty for adult possession of marijuana from a crime to a civil penalty, support for legalization is less solid. And those who do support full legalization understand that ‘legalization’ means treating marijuana similarly to alcohol – taxing and regulating it. Passing an initiative that does not provide for any regulation would be distinctly difficult.

According to reports, a Washington ACLU spokesperson said, "the rejection of the initiative would be a setback for 'our ongoing reform movement.'"[6]

Sensible Washington response

In response to the statement by the ACLU, Sensible Washington said they were "disappointed" in the ACLU's decision. The organization added:[11]

We find it especially ironic that the organization which initially promoted legalization and reform in Washington State should retreat from its last 10 years of work on that front. We are especially disturbed by the characterization of I-1068 as irresponsible based upon lack of regulation when the ACLU of Washington is well aware that the initiative could not include a regulatory scheme. Federal preemption issues make a comprehensive tax and regulate scheme impossible and the single issue rule for initiatives in Washington State does not help either.

The full response can be read here.


On June 7, 2010 the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced they did not plan to support the proposed measure. According to I-1068 supporters, they were counting on financial support from the labor union. "It's really unfortunate, but you cannot do this without money. I never intended I-1068 to be an all-volunteer effort," said campaign chairman Douglas Hiatt.[12][13]

SEIU spokesman Adam Glickman said the union had considered supporting the initiative and was intrigued by the proposed policy. Additionally the organization reported that they liked the idea of potential new revenue and saving money on prosecutions for low-level crimes. However Glickman said, "in the end we concluded there were too many questions about the policy."[14]

Sensible Washington response

In a press release Sensible Washington campaign director and initiative co-author Philip Dawdy said, "It’s disappointing that SEIU and others have walked away from us, but this campaign will fight on because the issue is simply too important." Dawdy said he was mostly frustrated that SEIU and others have walked away despite "romancing it for a month."[14]


See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures

A Washington Poll, conducted from May 3 – May 23, 2010, revealed that 52% of polled registered voters approve of removing both civil and criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. 35% said they were opposed. The poll surveyed approximately 1,252 registered voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8.[15][16][17]

Path to the ballot

See also: Washington signature requirements

According to July 1 reports, supporters collected about 200,000 signatures, still shy of the 241,153 minimum requirement. "We are going to have to literally see what is in the mail Thursday and Friday and see what gets turned in over the next 36 to 40 hours. Something like that, and see where we are at. We might make it or we might just come up a bit short," said campaign officials.[18] That same day, on July 1, the day prior to the statewide deadline, supporters reported that they remained 40,000 - 50,000 signatures shy of the minimum requirement.[19][20]

Supporters had initially scheduled an appointment with the Washington Secretary of State for July 2 at 4:20 p.m. to file signatures.[21][22]

In order to qualify for the 2010 ballot, initiative supporters were required to collect a minimum of 241,153 valid signatures by July 2, 2010. According to a May 2010 article, supporters collected approximately a third of the required number of signatures.[23] According to campaign supporters, over 20,000 petitions that were in circulation at the time hadn't yet been returned to campaign offices. However, as of June 2010 supporters estimated that they had approximately 100,000 signatures. The campaign hoped to collect 320,000 by deadline.[24]

Seized petitions

Sensible Washington said in late May 2010 that Washington drug agents seized signed petitions. Specifically, proponents said the petitions were seized by WestNet, a federally-funded drug task force. "Our estimate is that 200 signatures are sitting in WestNET's offices in Port Orchard, apparently seized as 'evidence' during a series of raids against the North End Club 420 in Tacoma," said Sensible Washington campaign director and initiative co-author Philip Dawdy.[25]

According to WestNet, signatures were seized because the search warrant authorized them to take any lists or ledgers found while conducting a raid on a medical marijuana dispensary. WestNet agreed to release the petitions but claimed there were only two pages. The North End Club 420 said there were 10 pages.[26]

See also


External links

Suggest a link

Additional reading



  1. Seattle Times, "Activists file initiative to legalize pot in Washington", January 11, 2010
  2. Sun Break,"'Legalize It' Initiative Now Goes by I-1068," February 3, 2010
  3. The News Tribune,"Report: Marijuana measure falls short," July 1, 2010
  4. Firedoglake,"Washington State Marijuana Legalization Drive Comes Close, But Fails to Qualify for November Ballot," July 2, 2010
  5. Washington Secretary of State,"Initiative 1068 brief description," retrieved February 24, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Marijuana petitioners clash with ACLU over legalization effort," February 27, 2010
  7. Sensible Washington,"Endorsements," retrieved April 21, 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Examiner,"Marijuana Initiative 1068," April 10, 2010
  9. Sensible Washington,"Where You Can Sign I-1068 On 4/20," April 19, 2010
  10. Cannabis Defense Coalition,"I-1068 backers focus on ACLU," retrieved March 1, 2010
  11. Sensible Washington,"Sensible Washington’s Response To The ACLU of Washington’s Refusal Of Support For I-1068," February 21, 2010
  12. Associated Press,"Without cash, Wash. legal pot initiative in danger," June 7, 2010
  13. The Seattle Times,"The No-Marijuana Left," June 7, 2010
  14. 14.0 14.1 Publicola,"Pot campaign denounces SEIU for "walking away" from initiative," June 7, 2010
  15. Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"New state poll: Murray runs weak, income tax strong," May 24, 2010
  16. The Washington Poll, "Issues and Opinions May 2010," May 24, 2010
  17. Firedoglake,"Washington State Favors Marijuana Legalization 52% to 35%," June 2, 2010
  18. KNDO,"Volunteers push to get signatures for marijuana measure," July 1, 2010
  19. Associated Press,"Organizers: Wash. legal pot measure won't qualify," July 2, 2010
  20. The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader,"Initiative 1107 aims to repeal food and beverage tax with Nov. ballot," July 13, 2010
  21. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Will pot legalization initiative make fall ballot?," June 30, 2010
  22. Washington Secretary of State Blog - From Our Corner,"`Direct democracy’: Initiative cavalcade underway," June 30, 2010
  23. The Olympian,"Proposed initiative to legalize pot," May 18, 2010
  24. The News Tribune,"WA's campaign to legalize pot blames SEIU, ACLU and Dems for ballot woes," June 7, 2010
  25. Before It's News,"Washington Drug Agents Seize Pot Legalization Petitions," May 26, 2010
  26. Firedoglake.com,"ACTION: Defend the 1st Amendment in Washington State," May 25, 2010