The Evergreen State’s Democratic party has endorsed (2012 marijuana-legalization) I-502, a new poll shows citizens split on full-legalization, differences in approach between Spokane and Seattle.
First up, Washington State’s Democratic Party has endorsed I-502 – New Approach Washington’s 2012 marijuana-legalization ballot initiative. Citing law enforcement costs, the Washington Democratic Central Committee voted in favor of endorsing the initiative last weekend.
Second, there’s a new poll in town! Inside a general purpose “how do you feel about politics and stuff” poll, there was an included question:
Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?
Final general results show an even split for the Washington State general populace at 46% vs 46%. Looking deeper at the results the split goes the same way as usual – men are more in favor, as are democrats and young people. There is some interesting WA geography answers too showing that the West side of the state is drastically more in favor of it than the East side:
Finally, speaking of East vs West, the Seattle Times ran a lengthy piece highlighting the policy differences happening in Seattle (west side of state) and Spokane (east side.) The general gist is, while Seattle’s medical marijuana community is being given the full support of the local government, Spokane’s community has undergone a full-blown crackdown of everything medical marijuana:
Contrast that to Seattle, where the city’s embrace of medical marijuana encourages a flourishing business for storefront dispensaries, bakers, growers and lawyers. An unofficial count, based on Seattle business licenses and advertising websites, finds at least 75 storefront dispensaries open, and more appearing weekly.
Federal raids and indictments in Spokane, combined with a law muddled by Gov. Chris Gregoire’s veto of a key bill earlier this year, leave a medical-marijuana law with two entirely different applications on either side of the Cascade curtain.
The different approach by federal and state law enforcement may reflect divergent political priorities or workload, east and west.
On both sides, the use of medical marijuana for suffering patients remains wildly popular; a December poll, commissioned by the ACLU of Washington, found four out of five voters in Eastern and Western Washington alike support it.
In Spokane, patients’ access to cannabis has reverted to a time before storefront dispensaries outnumbered Starbucks five-to-one, as they briefly did. For some pundits, the crackdown was a justified curb on an industry that had grown too bold.