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Tacoma: Cannabis measure qualifies for November ballot

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on July 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm with 36 Comments »
July 6, 2011 5:45 pm

A proposed initiative that seeks to minimize enforcement of marijuana-related offenses in Tacoma has qualified for the city’s November ballot.

Tacoma Initiative No. 1 today surpassed the required goal of 3,858 valid signatures from registered city voters,  the Pierce County Auditor’s office confirmed.

“The petition was determined to be sufficient with a total of 3,934 valid signatures verified,” Pierce County Elections Manager Michael Rooney wrote in an official letter of verification to City Clerk Doris Sorum.

But even while celebrating the measure’s qualification for the ballot,  campaign supporters say they hope the issue won’t have to go before voters.  Supporters can request the Tacoma City Council to step in to consider enacting the measure into city law before then.

“We intend to ask,” said Sherry Bockwinkel, a campaign volunteer.

The council has until August 16 — the deadline to place an issue on the Nov. 8 general election ballot — to take up the issue.

“If they reject, or take no action, then it will move to the ballot and become an issue for Tacoma voters,” Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson said in an email today.

Modeled after a 2003 Seattle law, Initiative No. 1 is aimed at making cannabis-related offenses “the lowest enforcement priority of the City of Tacoma.”

To qualify the measure for the November ballot, supporters had to submit 3,858 valid signatures by Friday.  The number of signatures is “equal to 10 percent of the votes cast in the last mayoral election” — the requirement for qualifying citizen initiatives under the city’s charter.

In all, campaign supporters submitted 702 pages of petitions, each containing space for 20 signatures.  Some 5,000 signatures were challenged for various reasons –mostly because they came from those who weren’t registered to vote or lived outside of Tacoma. Still, supporters had more than enough valid signatures to qualify the measure.

“It was not necessary to check all petition pages submitted,” Rooney noted.

Campaign supporters and other activists pushed the measure forward,  as the city has postponed deciding the fate for about 30 medical marijuana dispensaries that face losing their city business licenses.

The city issued those license revocations during a recent crackdown on pot dispensaries. But city officials have since held off on hearing appeals cases in hopes the legislature would clarify the state’s medical marijuana law.

Instead, the new law that came out of Olympia this year leaves the issue of how to regulate pot dispensaries up to local jurisdictions to determine.

Leave a comment Comments → 36
  1. That’s all we need, more drugs. You can’t smoke a cigarette in the park but pretty soon you can smoke weed. Makes a lot of sense if you’re stoned.

  2. @hulk – if there is a public smoking ordinance it goes towards all smoking. Don’t be so immature & passive aggressive.

  3. trekontenner says:

    Wonderful! But now what about the citizens of unincorporated Pierce County? It would be nice if the Sheriff and the rest of the county mounties would follow suit and not have to wait for the citizens to act. This would free up much more jail space for the crack heads and others that don’t need to be on the streets.

  4. @At 2001

    Not in the Park? What about all the people who were busted for dope at Hempfest a couple of weekends ago in Wright Park?

    Enforcing drug laws less often or making healthier drugs is not going to make a better world. It will just makes more drugs. It’ll make the stoners happy.

    So now drunk drivers will also be stoned too. Thanks a lot dude.

  5. PlumCrazy says:

    Revenue. License fees. Fees for Identification.
    Budget Deficit.
    Hello Olympia, are you listening? Here’s one of those magic bullets you were looking for.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Absolute damn stupidity. It’s toxic, it makes you stupid(er), and it makes people stink. Where’s the “No on 1″ website so I can donate?

  7. @ Hulk – smoking/drinking/drugs will happen in the park regardless. I am saying if weed was to be legalized tomorrow those who smoke in the park will still have to answer to public consumption laws, dude. also, saying someone who is driving high is equivalent to driving drunk clearly shows your lack of research.

  8. the3rdpigshouse says:

    The public will need to get high on drugs to reelect that marxist/socialist incompetent “OH-Bummer” – he hasn’t totally destroyed the country yet!!

  9. @2001

    I bet you have done plenty of “research” on the subject. No use arguing with a stoner. Bye.

  10. Kevindot1 says:

    the3rdpigshouse, you can turn any random topic into an anti-President Obama rant, can’t you?

  11. Let it go to the ballot so the people can defeat it.
    The city council should bow out of this issue–they have a lot of important issues to attend to.
    Let the sponsors and their followers move to Seattle or better yet San Fran…Pelosi and cronies will care for you!!!

  12. Dan Gullion says:

    what a farce marijuana has become in this state. Many other states have acheived sensible solutions. All we get here in the great Northwest…is more power to politics.

    More money to the political machine. That is their secret. Let the issues of the day remain…issues…for years and years this will drag on.

    All at a great cost, greater than the cost of any herb, greater than the moral hazard of smoking it. Political cost…or as the great George W. Bush called it “political capital.”

    The longer us peons banter back and forth about any issue, the greater the overalll cost to society. Our arguments and our “issues” create capital for them.

  13. Hulk, despite being unaware and lacking knowledgeable about the effects marijuana prohibition and the marijuana wars, strongly asserts his “opinion” and calls those who might disagree, “stoners.”

    Hulk, here’s your chance to learn something: Most people who support the end of marijuana prohibition don’t use marijuana. They are just opposed to a failed, expensive, unnecessary, and unAmerican policy that causes more harm than marijuana itself. And they feel that those who use it medicinally should have access.

    There is another initiative that is statewide being run in 2012 by New Approach Washington. It is being led by Allison Holcomb from the ACLU and travel guru, Rick Steves.

    The initiative will go to the Legislature for consideration during the 2012 session. If the Legislature takes no action, the proposal will go before the voters in the November 2012 election. It is hoped that the bill will be amended at that time to modify some of the provisions.

    The other sponsors include Pete Holmes was elected Seattle City Attorney, John McKay is a law professor at Seattle University and former federal prosecutor, retired public health physician, Kim Marie Thorburn, MD, MPH, Roger A. Roffman, professor emeritus of the University of Washington School of Social Work and world expert on substance abuse, Salvador A. Mungia and Mark Johnson, past presidents of the Washington State Bar Association, and others.

    Hulk, learn about the issue. I DARE you. Once you know, you’ll just say “no” to marijuana prohibition.

  14. I do not think people have looked at the problems this will bring to the State.
    How will the State or company deal with L&I claims from the accidents that the drug smoker causes. How many people will be out of a job when they have to take the test after they have an accident on the job site.
    If the council members pass this then I for one will try my best to make sure that they are not elected again.

  15. fatuous says:

    I’m with you Birds. This just increases this social damage this drug causes now. It makes no sense to me.

    Of course, the taxpayer is going to pick the tab for this.

  16. Jillian Galloway says:

    On June 17, 1971, President Nixon told Congress that “if we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely destroy us.” After forty years of trying to destroy “the drug menace in America” we still *haven’t* been able to destroy it and it still *hasn’t* destroyed us. Four decades is long enough to realize that on this important issue, President Nixon was wrong! All actions taken as a result of his invalid and paranoid assumptions (e.g. the federal marijuana prohibition) should be ended immediately!

    It makes no sense for taxpayers to fund the federal marijuana prohibition when it *doesn’t* prevent people from using marijuana and it *does* make criminals incredibly wealthy and incite the Mexican drug cartels to murder thousands of people every year.

    We need legal adult marijuana sales in supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies for exactly the same reason that we need legal alcohol and tobacco sales – to keep unscrupulous black-market criminals out of our neighborhoods and away from our children. Marijuana must be made legal to sell to adults everywhere that alcohol and tobacco are sold.

    “There’s something extraordinarily perverse when we’re so concerned about preventing addicts from having access to drugs that we destroy the lives of many times more people, either through untreated pain or other drug war damage”.

  17. Just another hippie says:

    @birds and all others,
    People (many who do not smoke weed) have looked long and hard at this subject and considered all aspects of the bills that have been written – pro’s and con’s, the battles that will be faced, the lines in the sand crossed. They (we) have not just said “hey man, let’s legalize this shit we’re smoking.” A lot of time, thought, research (both into the plant, what’s happening in other countries, what does the UN say, etc.) before pen touched paper. People give a year or more of their lives to put through an initiative like this.

    We actually have ideas on how to cross those bridges that you seem to think no one has addressed. I wish people wouldn’t assume as much, but ask questions more. “Have you thought about…., how will you handle xxx situation… ” that kinda way. Seriously, this keeps sounding (all over the country) like the old “Reefer Madness” put out by the Government years ago. Let’s open our eyes, read some truth about this plant – Start with Jack Herer’s The Emperor Wears No Clothes”. Fairly inexpensive on ebay /amazon or even better – for those who don’t want to read – You can finally get a Limited Sponsor’s Edition copy of Jack Herer’s Emperor Wears No Clothes 25-minute short fundraising doc – complete with a Spanish subtitled version!
    You can order it on DVD from Amazon HERE: https://www.createspace.com/288039
    My question is:

  18. Just another hippie says:

    My question is: What are YOU doing to make this world healthier and safer?

    We read the pages of pharma inserts in our magazines. We hear about them on TV ads. But we find a plant that all by itself reverses and controls NATURALLY many of the conditions we all suffer. Diabetes, Epilepsy, PTSD, cancer, Autism, ADHD/ADD/AADD, stomach conditions, Alzheimers (per the patent the US Government holds on the compounds found in this plant patent #6630507), etc.

    So let’s not let those who use this plant as it has been used for milenia for spiritual sacrament to continue. Let’s not let many (into the millions) lose the only medicine that actually worked well for them to treat multiple conditions and be forced to live a life tied to the pharmaceutical companies. Driving on Vicodin or oxycodone or those and a combination of all kinds of other drugs with a couple beer thrown in – surely that has GOT to be better than using a God given plant that grows freely and is used as grown. It is time to pull our heads out of that ostrich hole and wipe that stuff out of our eyes.

    Let’s actually consider many millions of people here in the USA alone have found a very viable and much easier on their body herb that will relieve so many of their ills. So they found this wonderful plant, they live in a state where it is legal to be a medical patient, but now we are regulating the crap out of it which is going to make it much more costly and or impossible for them to get. This is not about big Pharma making money. This is (right now) about getting needed medicine to patients without risk of LEO involvement.

    We are PEOPLE not SHEEPLE!!! It is time to delve deeper into unknown subjects before making judgments (or voting) about something. Research for yourself and THEN develop your thoughts on the subject. There are many, many people here who can direct you to information you need.

    Several millennia of research has already been done and out there waiting to be touched and read.

  19. Tacoma needs to solve its real problems such as unemployment, city debt, sexual predators and myriad of other problems. What do the voters come up with? Legalizing pot. What a great city. This is about a good an idea is collecting garbage every two weeks. It stinks!

  20. Bravo, now let’s make this one of those stories which you can’t leave comments.

  21. duke_of_hurl says:

    so everyone who uses medical MJ is a doper pothead stoner???so everyone who has a glass of wine with dinner is an alcoholic drunk and everyone who takes medicine for sore muscles or joint pain is a pill popping doper…???.im not understanding why MJ is hated so much and why people oppose it ..stoners are stupid????what about the people who eat fast food..thats even more stupid….at least i eat healthy and use a healthy medication

  22. @rbrian: Fantastic job of completely missing the point. Your post is exquisite in its irony.

  23. notSpicoli says:

    The social costs of marijuana prohibition far outweigh–by any measure–the social costs of marijuana use itself.

  24. zenmonk says:

    Its real simple. If you are against smoking it dont smoke it. If you are a proponent of smoking it by all means light up! I dont drink but I dont go around complaining that alcohol is legal.

  25. Supporter says:

    My wife has Stage IV liver cancer with abdominal spread. She’s on chemo, injected blood thinners twice a day, 12 oral meds, chronic nausea and has lost her hair.

    So, to all of you who are scared of marijuana and wish to enforce your will on another. I would ask this of you, my wife who has lost 50lbs in two months alone — is she a drug addict? She tired 9 anti-nausea medications and none helped, rather 4 of them had the opposite effect.

    She has smoked a little each day, and can stomach a half a meal once a day now. Before you apply your morals to others without regard for their consequence I would ask you to show some compassion.

  26. slugoxyz says:

    I was just reading and not really considering commenting when I read Jillian’s comment. What utter crap. I have argued with Spicoli and he just gets angry when you prove him wrong. So, I will target Jway.

    Still hasn’t destroyed us? I see the effects of illegal drug use every day. While the decay is slow, it is definitely there. You just haven’t given it enough time. While pot doesn’t destroy at the same rate other drugs (meth, heroin, crack, etc.) do, pot has negative effects. I’d give you the long list but you already know it. You just purposely leave that half of the argument out.

    It makes no sense for taxpayers to fund federal marijuana prohibition when it doesn’t prevent people from using it? Should we lift the laws on speeding, murder, robbery and everything else since we are clearly not preventing these crimes? Your argument here is farcical. Prohibition makes criminals extremely wealthy? We clearly deal with different criminals. Inciting Mexican drug cartels to murder thousands? Oh brother. The cartels are gangs somewhat similar to the gangs here in America (although they like to cut heads off and dismember bodies). If they weren’t fighting over the drug trade, they’d fight over something else. Legalize pot here and you won’t slow the cartels down one tiny bit. That’s like saying you will close down Safeway by making coffee illegal. Legalizing pot won’t prevent murder in Mexico anymore than legalizing speeding will slow people down.

    You want to keep criminals away from our children by making pot more available to our children? Yes! That makes great sense! So, make my child apathetic, lazy, fat, and without aspiration (not to mention potentially schizophrenic, paranoid and all the psychological effects pot has on people). You are brilliant!

    You keep arguing about the legalization of marijuana and its sale wherever alcohol is sold. Why should we legalize another substance that is bad for you? You may argue that pot isn’t harmful but I don’t see anyone arguing that pot is actually healthy. So, why should I legalize it? You’ve indicated that you want to make criminals law abiding by eliminating laws. Yes. I like the way you think. So tell me this. If I legalize pot, will you then move to legalizing heroin? Why not? It eases pain, it is somewhat natural (poppies) and clearly, the prohibition of heroin is harming more people than heroin is hurting? Is that what you’d argue? What is the difference between your argument and the argument for the legalization of heroin? I suppose heroin in excess can kill but where exactly do we draw that line? Pot will kill people although it will be in the form of emphysema or cancer. My concern is what will it do to them before it wrecks their lungs? Don’t give me stats from High Times websites but reliable medical sites! What are the best effects pot will have on our citizens? It will ease some pain? I think we have meds for that and they require a prescription from a doctor rather than you diagnosing yourself and self medicating. It will make some high stress people more mellow (and ultimately less productive)? That’s what we need in this sagging economy! Less productivity! I just don’t get it.

    I don’t see the perverseness of attempting to fight illicit narcotics (including pot) in an attempt to protect our society from the effects of said narcotics. I have said it over and over, cops don’t generally target pot. The vast majority of charges filed for possession of marijuana were added on after arresting the suspect for something else and search subject to arrest yielded illicit pot. Cops aren’t spending much money on pot prohibition and they certainly aren’t breaking many doors down for a few ounces of pot or a couple plants. Bigger fish to fry. Your argument is just garbage. It pains me to read it. Maybe I need to smoke some pot to ease my anguish.

  27. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Well “ignorant Washington electorate” – keep electing those anti-American socialist democrats – things can get worse!!!

  28. All the issues Slugoxyz broached have been answered repeatedly. I’ll leave it to the discerning reader to determine whether he has “proved me wrong.”

    He and I differ on this public policy issue.

    Thankfully we don’t have to convince slugoxyz. There are some who simply have too small a focus, will deny the evidence, reason, history… They will not budge. But he is becoming a minority.

    You will notice from my first post that the legalization initiative, New Approach Washington, is being sponsored by a host of highly accomplished law enforcement, legal, and medical professionals.

    Pete Holmes was elected Seattle City Attorney, John McKay is a law professor at Seattle University and former federal prosecutor, retired public health physician, Kim Marie Thorburn, MD, MPH, Roger A. Roffman, professor emeritus of the University of Washington School of Social Work and world expert on substance abuse, Salvador A. Mungia and Mark Johnson, past presidents of the Washington State Bar Association, and others.

    They, like me and an approaching (if not already so) majority, agree: Marijuana prohibition is a failure and far worse than marijuana itself.

    Slugoxyz, go argue with them. Tell them that you know better. I would love to hear you square off against Roger Roffman and John McKay.

  29. slugoxyz says:

    Spicoli, why would I travel to argue when I have you right here? I guess we’ll see what the future holds. Bring Roger or John McKay on. I’m not one to shy away from anyone. Although I must admit, I feel like you’re getting your big brothers to come beat me up. Kind of makes me laugh a bit. I didn’t even think I was that rough on you this time. You didn’t even call me any mean names. Oh wait, where is Sue1234? She’s the name caller although she has no stamina. Then again, pot smokers generally don’t have much stamina or ambition. I guess if you legalize pot, it will make Type A, go getters like me even more successful. Oh goodie. I better go buy Doritos before they all fly off the shelves.

  30. Hmm, All bull aside, I am a Private Citizen, terminally ill cancer survivor, stemming from cancerous polyps that put roots to my liver. I’m almost a shut in and growing my own will save me about 50 $’s a month in fuel, a Dr’s visit cost, and the cost of pain medication that will eventually do more damage and kill my liver. I cant smoke Marijuana, because its too strong. I can eat it in a pill form and any side affects are negligible. As I’m tired all the time any way. I have given up being a “DRIVER”, a CORPORATE TERM, I cant afford it any way. Due to the cost of insurance that I’m “FORCED” to purchase, which violates the Constitution Bill of Rights. As far as I’m concerned the CORPORATE FOREIGN STATE Legislature is in PERJURY OF OATH by committing deprivation of the Right of Privacy and any one who challenges my right to not be harassed while I die, in My opinion, needs to be shot for treason. I want you to walk in my shoes for a moment, My Right of Choice is being violated by Over ruling Tyrants the Fed. and the STATE OF WA. and a bunch of Not Needing Over Bearing Nuts. Look at their track record for ruining every thing they touch, Economically and tell me again that their right. Sure they are uh huh! The CORPORATE FOREIGN STATE AND CORP. FED. are Stealing from you and your letting them. So if your against Medical Marijuana you need to look at your self in the mirror and tell me again how humane you are. When you administer the morphine drip, that strips a mans conscience, kills him more and costs a mint, while I lay in a hospital bed costing a Grand a day, with a full nursing staff on standby.

  31. Thomas Green says:

    The most recently filed report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy just released in June of 2011 pretty much sums up this country’s failed , “War on Drugs.” Thank You.

  32. Michael says:

    This has nothing to do with whether cannabis is harmful or not. It’s about selling pills. If any of you naysayers had seen even a fraction of the pills flushed down toilets as me, you would have a change of heart.

    Anyone who hasn’t seen what cannabis can do for patients, firsthand, has nothing but false propaganda to base their opinion upon. They can hardly be blamed for that.

    Just google “cannabis and cancer” or “Granny’s List” and learn the ugly truth – if you dare.

  33. slugoxyz says:

    Ray, before you tell me I need to be shot, I don’t think this discussion is about medical marijuana. This is about the legalization of marijuana for everyone who simply wants it rather than needs it. I sympathize with your terrible plight But you, more than anyone here ought to be annoyed at the people who use the term medical marijuana to justify their desire to smoke pot recreationally or those that sell it under the guise of medical marijuana. You need it. I get that but how many people who aren’t suffering from cancer use your legitimate plight as a front for their selfish desires to get stoned? If pot helps with certain ailments, most people have no issue with it being available especially for cancer. No one (I know) is faking cancer. It’s too terrible. But Ray! It’s not the oppressive government that is your enemy – not in this instance anyway. One: It’s cancer. Two: It is the recreational pot smoker or dealer who gets the medical marijuana facility shut down.

  34. slugoxyz says: “Spicoli, why would I travel to argue when I have you right here?…Bring Roger or John McKay on.”

    The name is NotSpicoli.

    I can see you telling John McKay about the law, arguing with Roger Roffman about substance abuse issues, and your lecturing physicians on medicine and public health policy. I can totally see it.

  35. slugoxyz says:

    All right Spicoli. Here’s the difference. If they could argue their point logically, convince me with facts and scientific proof, I’d move. My mind is not closed. All I’ve ever asked for was for someone to tell the truth and convince me that their point of view is right. But you have failed to do that with your pigeon logic and half truths (or flat out lies). So, bring on your big brothers little man. What have I got to be afraid of? It’s win-win for me. You win and I get to try something I’ve never tried because it is on the other side of the law. You lose and I have a nice glass of vodka and diet Sierra Mist over ice just like I was going to do anyway. Win!

  36. Jillybean says:

    If I wasnt medicinally smoking marijuana as a mj patient , I would be strung out on pain meds, that cause far more side effects. Smoking or eating my all naturally unprocessed marijuana is much SAFER then taking pills some money hungry drug company creates to make me more sick . Buying it off the street is WAY more accessible to children then adults . Your kids are safer with adults getting it legally. How is it safe for a sick patient to call a dealer for marijuana. We as consumers only know we get marijuana , I dont know if they own guns or sell crack . Its safer bottom line .

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