Drug Law

"Best Idea" to Close Wash. Budget Gap? Legal Pot

| by Marijuana Policy Project

A website set up by Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire’s office asked citizens to vote on different ideas to help plug the state’s $3 billion budget gap. The most popular—out of more than 1,700 submitted ideas—was legalizing and taxing marijuana. (Not the first time we’ve seen such a result in an online forum.)

So what does the governor think about ending the state’s prohibition on marijuana?

“It’s a legitimate idea,” said her spokesperson, Karina Shagren. “But we’d have to see how the federal government would respond.”

Though it’s not a ringing endorsement, this response is quite encouraging for a governor whose state this year considered both a legislative bill and a ballot initiative that would have made marijuana legal for adults.

The initiative didn’t gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but with polls showing more than half of Washington voters supporting an end to marijuana prohibition, it’s all but certain local organizers will try again in upcoming years.

Even more promising, this year the initiative received an official endorsement from the Washington state Democratic Party. And Gov. Gregorie just happens to be a Democrat.