Washington State Favors Marijuana Legalization 52% to 35%

marijuana in starbucks cup

Pot in Washington State, by themadpothead on Flickr

A poll released last week by The Washington Poll, a quarterly, nonpartisan effort by the University of Washington, shows that Washington State residents support an initiative that would legalize the possession and use of marijuana.

According to the poll of 1,252 registered voters conducted last month, 52% in Washington State support “removing state civil and criminal penalties for possession or use of marijuana,” with only 35% opposed. The poll’s release did not indicate the position of the other 13%.

The language of the poll question is identical similarly phrased as the wording that would appear on the ballot. You can see the full findings of the statewide poll, in which the marijuana question was included, at the bottom of this post. (Updated at bottom.)

Unlike California, where marijuana legalization will definitely be on the November ballot, it’s less certain Washington’s initiative will make the cut. Sensible Washington is the group organizing ballot signatures for the measure (officially known as I-1068). The group, independently financed and run by a tight group of organizers, is on its way to qualifying for the ballot.

Prohibition proponents are doing their best to keep legalization off the ballot in the state. We reported last week that federally funded drug agents disobeyed a standing order from Attorney General Eric Holder and raided a legitimate medical marijuana dispensary. In the course of that raid, agents pointed a gun at the head of a 14-year-old child and confiscated Sensible Washington’s petitions to put legalization on the ballot. Then the federal agents photocopied the petitions, keeping the names and addresses of Washington residents who support legalization.

This was a clear act of intimidation designed to scare potential supporters of legalization from signing on to petitions. Knowing that police with have information of supporters is more than enough to suppress people from exercising their democratic rights.

If you want to help Sensible Washington get legalization on the ballot, head over to their site and use the Firedoglake-powered event tool to find volunteer information and petition gathering events across the state using the tool on the right side of their site.

If you’re not in Washington, sign our petition for federally-funded drug agents to release Sensible Washington’s petitions and to destroy all photocopies.

(Update note from above: While not identical language, both the poll and initiative use the phrase “remove state civil and criminal penalties.” The poll ended that phrase with “for use or possession of marijuana,” while the initiative itself elaborates: “for persons eighteen years or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana. Marijuana would no longer be defined as a ‘controlled substance.”)

The Washington Poll Survey Results
1,252 respondents, 2.8% MOE. May 2010.

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Michael Whitney

Michael Whitney

My name is Michael Whitney. I'm a progressive online organizer working with FDL Action. Rush Limbaugh called me "clueless" once. He went into rehab two days later.