The non-profit political organization Sensible Washington announced yesterday intentions to file a statewide initiative early next year designed to "repeal adult cannabis prohibition." And while that may sound strikingly similar to another marijuana-centered initiative you've been hearing plenty about, representatives with Sensible Washington are happy to point out the differences.
"We stand for repealing prohibition, as in removing it from the state's list of controlled substances," says Sensible Washington spokesman Anthony Martinelli. "We feel very strongly that we need to actually repeal prohibition."
Sensible Washington says preparation to file the initiative in January, 2013 will begin immediately, and won't impact the organization's current effort to pass lowest-priority pot prosecution initiatives in a number of local cities - an effort designed, at least in part, to grow Sensible Washington's base of support in preparation for taking on the just-announced initiative drive. Martinelli says his group is currently, "in the process of crafting our language to assure [the new initiative repealing cannabis prohibition] is as politically viable as possible, while still bringing effective and lasting reform that will repeal prohibition in our state." The group's goal is to get this new marijuana initiative on the November, 2013 general election ballot.
In the press release, Sensible Washington says whatever happens with I-502 in November, this new effort will continue.
"Initiative 502 has caused a massive rift in the cannabis reform community and we want to give people a viable alternative," says Sensible Washington in its recent press release. "If it [I-502] fails in November, we want to assure the public that moving forward, there's an option available in our state for legalizing cannabis. If I-502 does pass, cannabis would remain a Schedule I drug alongside heroin, which we're not comfortable with and will work towards correcting."
As far as the initiative's chances of getting on the 2013 ballot go, Martinelli says Sensible Washington is confident.
"We came to the conclusion that as an organization we're ready to run a statewide initiative in 2013, and feel that given our volunteer base, and given the initiative we're in the process of crafting , it will be viable effort. We're confident in our chances of getting it on the ballot," says Martinelli, noting Sensible Washington has grown substantially as an organization since its two previous statewide initiatives failed.
"We have six months from this point to plan and to grow our infrastructure, which is why we're announcing so soon," says Martinelli. "We just want to let people know early on that we are planning this and we are looking for people to get involved. We feel that with where we stand now, and with six full months of full-blown volunteer recruitment, we're confident we're going to be in a decent position come January."