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Signature-gathering underway for I-1068
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Signature-gathering underway for I-1068

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

On February 17, Sensible Washington announced that it has received final ballot language from the offices of state Attorney General Rob McKenna and Secretary of State Sam Reed for its initiative measure 1068.

I-1068 is now certified for circulation of petitions for voter signatures and Sensible Washington has begun rolling out petitions in both Western and Eastern Washington. If approved by voters in November, I-1068 would remove all criminal penalties for adult use, possession and cultivation of marijuana in Washington State.

Three separate bills affecting marijuana reform died in the State Legislature this session. It's clear that the Legislature has failed to deal with this issue once again, said Douglas Hiatt, co-author of I-1068 and a Seattle attorney. We're in the middle of a severe budget crisis in Olympia and yet the Legislature can't get it together to stop wasting tens of millions of dollars a year on arresting, prosecuting and jailing regular citizens for marijuana possession. That's ridiculous.

Sensible Washington needs to collect 241,153 valid signatures by July 2, 2010 to get I-1068 on the November ballot. The campaign aims to deliver about 320,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office by the July deadline.

That's a huge mountain to climb, especially since we're a grassroots, volunteer effort, said Philip Dawdy, campaign director and an initiative co-author. But the enthusiasm among the people for marijuana legal reform is so great that we believe we truly have a fighting chance to make history.

I-1068 was authored by Hiatt, Dawdy, Seattle Hempfest founder Vivian McPeak, longtime medical marijuana patient Ric Smith, and Seattle attorney Jeffrey Steinborn. The initiative is a direct response to the Washington State Legislature's inability to offer appropriate legal reform on marijuana to the state's citizens.

For more information about I-1068 and the signature gathering process, visit Sensible Washington online at www.sensiblewashington. org.

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