Pot’s Lost Names

Your signature to put legalization on the ballot may never have seen the light of day.

At press time, the Secretary of State’s office had certified just one initiative for the November ballot—I-1100, which seeks to privatize liquor sales in Washington. In the coming days, state staffers will spot-check petitions and then likely certify five more (including a second, competing liquor bill).

But one of the most popular measures, the marijuana-legalization initiative, or I-1068, is not among them. I-1068 organizers threw in the towel July 1, a day before the deadline to submit signatures, saying they had fallen about 40,000 to 50,000 names short of the 241,000 minimum needed.

Yet the failure of I-1068 may have nothing to do with how many people actually signed up to put it on the ballot.

As we reported last month [“Pot: The Gateway Petition,” June 30], the legalization measure was frequently used by professional signature-gatherers working for other campaigns as a come-on to get people to stop. But while other initiative-backers were paying signature-gatherers as much as $3 per name, the pot campaign had no such money to offer. Which means that even though they filled up petitions, the signature-gatherers had no incentive to turn those petitions in to I-1068 organizers—no financial one, at least.

Longtime political consultant Cindi Laws, who did some work on I-1068, thinks there are plenty of signatures out there—and plenty of people who thought they were helping the measure get on the ballot—who were never seen or heard.

“Wherever I went in the state,” Laws tells the Weekly, “I saw packs of paid signature-gatherers, all with I-1068 at the top of their piles…After working on more than a dozen initiative campaigns, I’ve never witnessed an easier signature to get. I have no doubt that I-1068 had enough signatures gathered; but bounty hunters want to be paid, even when they made bank on the backs of I-1068.” MARK D. FEFER

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Screenshot from Barnes and Noble website
Cover art of books that KSD Librarian Gavin Downing says have been under fire: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George Matthew Johnson.
Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award

Gavin Downing refused to keep ‘silence in the library’ amid attempted book banning and censorship.

Kent elementary school teacher accused of using racist language toward student

River Ridge Elementary instructor placed on administrative leave by Kent School District.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Joann and Allan Thomas are flanked in court by their attorneys Terrence Kellogg (fourth from the right) and John Henry Browne (far right) on May 10, 2022. Judge Richard Jones is presiding over the case. Sketch by Seattle-based artist Lois Silver
At drainage district corruption trial, it’s a tale of dueling conspiracies

Allan and Joann Thomas are in trial in Seattle on fraud charges.

King County logo
King County audit finds backlog of property tax exemption applications for seniors, people with disabilities, and disabled veterans

The auditors found that program expansions lead to three-times the amount of applications.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson (Screenshot from video press conference)
AG announces $518 million settlement from pharmaceutical companies over their role in opioid crisis

Most of the settlement money will be used to mitigate the opioid crisis in Washington.