At the end of March we were watching a city-by-city strategy emerging in Washington state. Let’s check back with one of those cities, Richland, where residents can expect to see petitions this summer asking the city council to approve a low-priority law-enforcement policy on marijuana use. Richland and several other cities in Central Washington that allow for citizen petitions regarding proposed ordinances have been targeted for the campaign by a pro-medical-marijuana organization called Washington SAFER Coalition, based in Spokane.
Ian Moody, who also founded Sensible Spokane Alliance, said petitions calling for a Richland ordinance regarding licensing, taxation and regulation of marijuana, making it a low priority for Richland police to arrest adults on marijuana offenses, are available at www.wasafer.org. The Richland campaign will need 20 percent of the registered voters, or just more than 9,100, by mid-October to qualify for having a special election in 2013, Moody said. “Even if we don’t get this on the ballot, we’ll continue to work on it locally . . .This will be an all-volunteer effort, and it involves medical-marijuana people, which can be like herding cats.”
Having a low-priority policy for law enforcement would open the way for regulation and taxation of marijuana. That could reduce the market for illegal transactions and lower criminal activities in Central Washington, Moody said. Additionally, a low-priority policy would send a message to federal agents.
“It is important for local entities to make it clear they do not want federal agents to interfere,” he said.
The petition effort in Richland does not yet have a local coordinator. So, is there a Greenie reading this ready to take on that challenge? If so, stand up.
Learn more at the Seattle Times.
image: google images Washington state flag]