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December 21, 2011

Colorado and Washington Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Likely to Qualify for the Ballot

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It is now almost guaranteed that next year’s voters in both Washington State and Colorado will get to decide on marijuana legalization ballot initiatives. In both states legalization campaigns have managed to gather signatures well in excess of what is necessary to qualify to get an initiative on the ballot.

In Colorado the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has gathered roughly 150,000 signatures for its ballot initiative before their January 6th deadline. That’s nearly twice the 85,853 signatures required under Colorado law. The campaign is convinced they have a sufficient number of signatures so that even once duplicates and invalid signatures are throw out their initiative will be certified to appear on the ballot.

In Washington State the New Approach Washington campaign has gathered 100,000 more signatures than the minimum requirement to qualify for the ballot. They plan to officially file them with the state in the next few days. From the Seattle Times:

I-502′s campaign director, Alison Holcomb, said she has on hand about 340,000 signatures, but expects more to arrive from paid and volunteer gatherers before a Dec. 29 hand-over to the Secretary of State in Olympia. Election law requires 241,153 valid signatures, but the Secretary of State recommends at turning in 320,000 to account for bogus or duplicate signatures. If the signatures check out, I-502 first heads to the 2012 state Legislature which could pass it or, more likely, kick it to the November ballot.

Baring some very unlikely legal hiccups the two measures should go before the voters in both states in the 2012 election. The high youth turnout expected for the presidential election next year should give both marijuana legalization measures the best possible chance of passage.


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