Marijuana legalization

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

If Washington voters approve a ballot measure this fall legalizing marijuana, it would bring big changes – not just in the justice system, but in our communities. In our series “If It’s Legal: Five Ways Legal Pot Could Affect Your Life,” we consider some ways things could change for all of us, even people who never smoke pot. We begin with a basic question: would legal marijuana lead to more danger on the roads?

The campaign to legalize and tax marijuana for adults in Washington state is rolling, with more than $1 million in new contributions reported since last week and a surprising endorsement from Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Michael Baumgartner.

KPLU reporters are looking into Washington's marijuana legalization initiative (I-502) to produce a series of stories that will separate facts from rumors and to learn exactly what would change if it’s approved. And on this page, we’re sharing some of the interesting facts as we learn them along the way.

Oct. 3 – If it's legal, you'll need some standards for the "quality" of the cannabis sold in state-licensed stores. But how will that be determined? 

SALEM, Ore. – This November, voters in Oregon and Washington will decide whether to legalize marijuana. The Washington effort is backed by some deep-pocketed national donors. But Oregon's campaign is struggling to raise even a bare minimum of cash.

Washington’s Initiative 502 would allow adults to buy marijuana at state-licensed stores. Oregon's Measure 80 would do that too, and would allow people to grow their own pot. The Washington backers have rung up more than $3 million in donations, allowing them to hit the TV airwaves.

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon and Washington are contemplating a dramatic shift in drug policy this November. But the initiatives to legalize marijuana are getting little attention from state lawmakers on the campaign trail.

Washington’s Initiative 502 would allow adults to buy marijuana at state-licensed stores. Oregon's Measure 80 would do that too, and allow people to grow their own pot.

Few elected officials in Oregon have taken a public position on the initiative. Democratic Representative Peter Buckley is one of them. He co-chairs the legislature’s budget-writing committee.

Dave H / Flickr

Support for legal marijuana in Washington appears to be strong among adults, but what will it mean for kids?

This week saw surprising support for the state initiative legalizing marijuana from the Children’s Alliance. The Seattle-based advocacy group, which has dozens of social-service agencies as members, says legal pot would be good for kids.

To close a loophole in state law and further control the growth of the medical marijuana industry, the city of Seattle is proposing to tighten its zoning laws.

SALEM, Ore. – A Salem judge has ruled against putting a second marijuana legalization measures on Oregon's ballot.

Meanwhile, the owner of what's billed as a medical marijuana "resource center" in Eugene has been charged with illegal pot dealing and money laundering.

Above: The first of many thousands lined up early today to enter Hempfest, Seattle's mega pro-pot festival.

For more than 20 years, the Seattle Hempfest festival, rally and outdoor party has pushed for the decriminalization and mainstreaming of marijuana.

But as this year’s event gets underway today, with more than 300,000 expected over the weekend, regulations contained in an initiative that would legalize pot have split many advocates.

State regulators have filed complaints against two naturopathic physicians accused of rubber-stamping medical marijuana authorizations at last year's Hempfest event in Seattle.

A new commercial featuring a regular-ol’-mom-type-person pitching the legalization of marijuana in Washington is about to kickoff a $1 million campaign.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – It looks like voters in both Oregon and Washington will decide this fall whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Backers of an Oregon ballot measure submitted a final batch of petitions Friday to the Secretary of State. In Washington, a pot legalization initiative has already qualified for the ballot. The question now: are Northwest voters ready to say ‘okay’ to getting high?

ASHLAND, Ore. - Friday is the deadline in Washington and Oregon for petition drives to turn in signatures to qualify measures for the November ballot. One issue on tap for both states is marijuana.

In Washington state, a measure to legalize and tax pot has already qualified for the November ballot. A similar initiative has a good chance of coming before Oregon voters.

A handful of entrepreneurs aren't waiting for the fall votes. They've opened medical marijuana lounges and eateries.

The Associated Press

A group that promotes the legalization of marijuana says it will file initiatives in six Washington cities to make pot prosecution the lowest law enforcement priority in those places.

Moderndope / Flickr

An initiative to allow for personal marijuana use in Washington State will be on the ballot this November. And, while that initiative is getting support from many lawmakers – and even the Seattle bar association – pro-marijuana groups are battling over how much THC impairs a driver.

City of Seattle

In his “State of the City” address, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn made an impassioned plea today for the legalization of marijuana saying in the illegal trade in drugs was fueling crime in the city.

“It is time we were honest about the problems we face with the drug trade. Drugs are a source of criminal profit, and that has led to shootings and even murders. Just like we learned in the 1920s with the prohibition of alcohol, prohibition of marijuana is fueling violent activity,” the mayor said in the written version of his speech.


OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmakers said Thursday that an initiative to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana will be decided by voters.

If passed, Initiative 502 would make Washington the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and would place it at odds with federal law, which bans marijuana use of all kinds.


OLYMPIA, Wash. — Medical marijuana patients who oppose an initiative to legalize marijuana have filed a counter initiative.

The opponents of Initiative 502 filed the "Safe Cannabis Act" with the secretary of state's office Friday morning.

The King County Sheriff's Office and the Washington State Public Stadium Authority have agreed to stop harassing people collecting signatures outside the Seahawks football stadium for an initiative that would legalize and tax recreational marijuana in the state.

A campaign to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Washington state is getting a big cash boost with two months left to collect signatures.

Campaign director Alison Holcomb says her group New Approach Washington received a check for $100,000 Tuesday from philanthropist Harriet Bullitt.