Washington activists file initiative to legalize pot - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington activists file initiative to legalize pot

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(Marijuana seized from a grow operation in the 3900 block of
Cedar in September 2009)

SEATTLE, Wash. - Five activists have filed a ballot initiative that would legalize all adult marijuana possession in Washington state.
     
Its sponsors include two Seattle lawyers as well as the director of Seattle's annual Hempfest. The group calls itself Sensible Washington, and says it's time that the state's government stop wasting money on police, court and jail costs for people who use or produce marijuana.
     
Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents medical marijuana patients, told The Associated Press after filing the initiative Monday that the proposal would remove all state penalties for adult
possession of pot. Criminal penalties for juvenile possession and for providing the drug to juveniles would remain in place. Marijuana would also remain illegal under federal law.
     
Hiatt says volunteers are lining up to collect the more than 241,000 valid signatures required to place the initiative on the November ballot.

State considering legalizing marijuana

(December 30, 2009)

Washington is one of four states where measures to legalize and regulate marijuana have been introduced. Bills were introduced in California and Massachusetts earlier this year and this month, New Hampshire and Washington state pre-filed bills in advance of their legislative sessions that begin in January.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law.

Marijuana advocates say that while legalization efforts are not likely to get much traction in statehouses anytime soon, the level of interest is increasing. About two dozen other states are considering bills ranging from medical marijuana to decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the herb.

Opponents of relaxing marijuana laws aren't happy with any conversation on the topic, other than keeping the drug illegal.

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