Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed's office today gave a green-light to the marijuana-decriminalization Initiative 502. Sponsors submitted enough valid signatures to assure consideration by the Legislature and, failing success there, a statewide vote in November.
The measure already had been provisionally certified to the Legislature while the signature-check was underway, as required by the state Constitution, which allowed the House and Senate to assign the measure to committee for hearings and any further action.
The Legislature has a number of option on how to proceed. They can pass the measure as submitted, reject it and let it go to the ballot this fall. Or they could choose to ignore it altogether and let it go on the ballot, or place the measure on ballot along with a legislative alternative.
It has been seven years since initiatives to the Legislature went as far as a statewide vote. I-330 and I-336, both dealing with medical malpractice, were rejected by voters. The last successful initiative to the Legislature was I-297 in 2004, which dealt with nuclear waste.
Sponsors of the marijuana measure, including former U.S. Attorney John McKay, submitted 354,608 signatures, more than the Elections Division's recommended 320,000 to cover duplicate and invalid signatures.