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Today an initiative will be filed by the group Sensible Washington“that would remove all state criminal and civil penalties for the possession use and sale of marijuana in any quantity.” Last year the group tried to get a similar measure on the ballot but came about 50,000 signatures short of their goal.
Last year’s measure was criticized by some for its lack of “regulations” concerning the legal marijuana industry, but this initiative would direct the state legislature to create regulations, including possible taxation.
The group needs 241,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot.
Sensible Washington tried to get a similar initiative on the ballot last year, but fell about 50,000 signatures short. That proposal was criticized for not including a state regulatory system overseeing the marijuana industry; advocates insisted that the state's single-subject rule for initiatives barred them from removing legal penalties and regulating the drug in the same measure.
This time, the initiative includes language directing the Legislature to develop such regulations, including possibly taxing marijuana sales.
"It clears up any issue about whether we believe in regulations and would support them," said Sensible Washington attorney Douglas Hiatt.
He also said the group has received support from farmers around the state who are interested in growing hemp, cannabis plants cultivated for their fibers to make clothes, rope and myriad other items.
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