New Approach Washington, the organizers of the I-502 marijuana legalization and regulation initiative, last week handed in 350,000 voter signatures to try to qualify for the November ballot. They turned in 341,000 on Thursday and another 10,000 on Friday, the last day to hand them in.
The campaign needs 241,153 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. With some 350,000 signatures handed in, the campaign has a considerable cushion to account for duplicate and other invalid signatures, meaning it is likely to qualify for the ballot, but it will take state officials several weeks to make that determination.If the measure meets the valid signature threshold, it then goes before the state legislature. If the legislature doesn’t approve it, it then goes before the voters in November
I-502 would allow Washington adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, which would be sold at pot-only stores licensed and regulated by the state Liquor Control Board. Marijuana cultivation for the state stores would also be licensed and regulated by the board. Estimated excise, business, and sales revenues of $215 million a year would be split between the state’s general fund and certain earmarked public health and prevention programs.
I-502 would also create a per se DUID standard of five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, which has become a contentious issue in the state’s marijuana and medical marijuana communities. According to the Associated Press, those divisions were on display Thursday as New Approach Washington members handed in signatures.