Marijuana decriminalization petitions circulating in Asotin County

Marijuana decriminalization petitions circulating in Asotin County
CLARKSTON - Over 240,000 signatures, that's the number needed to get an initiative to repeal civil and criminal penalties for adult use of marijuana on the Washington ballot in November.

Monday night Sensible Washington and Kevin Oliver, Executive Director for the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, were at Walla Walla Community College to inform the public about their cause.

"Basically adults 18 and over - penalties would be removed," said Oliver. "It would allow farmers to grow hemp. It allows law enforcement dollars to be better spent following up leads on violent crimes and larger issues, by eliminating the need to prosecute recreational users and medical patients or providers."

Oliver said signatures are due by July 2, and they're asking for each volunteer to collect about 20. So far they have around 50,000. He said attendance at meetings has varied, but that he wasn't discouraged by Monday night's low turnout in Clarkston.

"If we get three people that are committed to make a difference, they'll get 20 people here next week and we'll have 100 people here by March 1st," said Oliver.

Oliver said in general he hasn't heard much in the way of negative comments about decriminalizing adult use of marijuana.

"Criticisms have been your typical reefer madness, you know that it's the devil's drug," said Oliver. "I haven't heard any since this thing started, but there have been a few 'oh my gosh, this is a lot of open language. Where's the regulation? What's going to control this if it actually goes legal?' Well that's why we elect and pay senators and congressmen to legislate."

To find out more about the initiative:

www.sensiblewashington.org.