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Tag: Initiative No. 1

July
6th

Tacoma: Cannabis measure qualifies for November ballot

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. 

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July
5th

Tacoma: Cannabis measure on verge of qualifying for November ballot

With three days to go and some 114 petitions left to count, a proposed initiative that seeks to minimize enforcement of marijuana-related offenses in Tacoma appears headed for the November ballot.

Tacoma Initiative No. 1 still needs 352 valid  signatures to reach a 3,858-signature goal by July 8,  the Pierce County Auditor’s office reported at close of business Tuesday.

But initiative supporters, who turned in more than 1,500 additional signatures on Tuesday,  are confident they’ve already achieved the goal.

“This is a great day to be living in the City of Tacoma,” said Sherry Bockwinkel, a veteran signature gatherer who is a key volunteer for the campaign.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Pierce County elections officials had actually deemed more signatures as disqualified than valid from the stacks of petitions so far turned in by the pro-cannabis campaign.  In all, 4,594 signatures were thrown out, compared to 3,503 ruled valid.

More than 2,700 were disqualified because the people who signed them were not registered voters.  Another 1,224 were deemed invalid because those signing live in a voting district outside of Tacoma.

Other reasons for disqualification included signatures that were duplicates (318) , illegible (284),  printed instead of signed (42), or could not be matched to past signatures (42) or addresses (9) on file.  One signature was disqualified because the signer did not previously have a signature on file as a point of comparison; while another signature came from a  felon who is ineligible to vote,  the auditor’s office reported.

Still, with 114 petitions — each containing as many as 20 signatures — still to be checked, the numbers appear to be tilting in the campaign’s favor.  The auditor’s office will resume validation checks on Wednesday.

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June
24th

Tacoma: Supporters of cannabis measure set to turn in signatures

Two local medical marijuana dispensary owners are expected to turn in some 4,200 signatures to the city clerk’s office today, as part of an effort to qualify a local measure for November’s ballot that seeks to minimize prosecution of cannabis-related offenses.

“This shows there’s a lot of community support, especially with patients who are already authorized to use medical cannabis,” said Don Meridan, owner of the Rainier Wellness Center. “We just want to make sure that they’ll continue to have access to their medication.”

Modeled after an 8-year-old law in Seattle, Tacoma’s Initiative No. 1 seeks to make cannabis-related offenses “the lowest enforcement priority of the City of Tacoma.”

Supporters are required to submit 3,858 valid signatures to the city by July 5 in order to qualify the measure for the city’s Nov. 8 general election ballot. City Clerk Doris Sorum said she’ll transmit the petitions on Monday to the Pierce County Auditor’s Office, which will begin validating signatures.

Already with a cushion of 300-plus signatures, supporters say they will continue to collect and submit more, right up until the deadline. Volunteer signature-gatherers are expected to collect hundreds of signatures on Saturday alone, during Tacoma Hempfest – a festival celebrating marijuana to be held in Wright Park.

As supporters continue to pursue the measure for ballot qualification, they’re hopeful the issue won’t need to be taken to city voters. They want the city council to step in to approve Initiative No. 1 as a city ordinance.

“If they want to be leaders, they can simply make this law,” said Sherry Bockwinkel, a veteran signature gatherer supporting the campaign. “If not, then we’ll throw it onto the ballot. But this issue is not going to go away.”
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