Part of the coalition that came out in favor of HB 1550 back in March is now standing behind a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana and regulate it in much the same way alcohol is regulated. The ACLU of Washington is behind a measure that would legalize recreational cannabis use and put the State Liquor Board in charge of regulation.

Supporting the measure are former U. S Attorney John McKay, former Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and travel writer Rick Steves, among others.

“We did some more public-opinion research, looked at the numbers and said, ‘Yeah, this is the time,’ ” said Alison Holcomb, campaign manager for the initiative and drug-policy director of the ACLU of Washington.

The bill would legalize possession for those 21 years of age and older of  up to an ounce of dried cannabis, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused foods in solid form, and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids, or all three. Supporters have until the end of this year to get over 240,000 valid signatures to get the measure before the legislature, where it can be voted on or passed on to the voters in ballot form.

This is not to be confused with I-1149, which is attempting to get legalization on the 2011 ballot. Which means Washington state is currently in the midst of a double-barreled attempt at marijuana legalization, increasing their chances at victory. If you live in  Washington, it’s time to get behind one or the other, or both.

No cannabis users deserve to go to jail, in any state. Washington has a good chance of ending marijuana prohibition in the next 18 months. The time to act is now.

Joe Klare