2011 Pot Legalization Push Begins At Hempfest Today

Giving up is not an option for Sensible Washington, the all-volunteer group that sponsored a marijuana legalization bill that didn’t make it to the Washington ballot this year. The 2011 legalization campaign kicks off at this weekend’s Seattle Hempfest, the largest annual pro-marijuana rally in the world.

“There’s no place more perfect to announce our plans for 2011’s campaign than at the world’s premier marijuana reform festival,” said Douglas Hiatt, chair of Sensible Washington and main author of I-1068, which failed to gain enough signatures to qualify for this year’s general election.

Sensible Washington plans to file a new legalization initiative in January 2011, and expects to begin petition circulation in February 2011.

Musicians, vendors, activists, artists and plenty of revelers will gather at the party cum political rally for the nineteenth time this year, reports Jill Kimball at The Seattle Times.

The past year has been a rocky one for marijuana legalization proponents in Washington state. In the past legislative session, the state House killed a legalization bill. Then, another House bill that would have reclassified cannabis as a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor never even made it to a vote.

“We’ve learned a lot from our experiences earlier this year and are coming back better organized and with many more volunteers committed to the legalization cause,” Hiatt said.

Sensible Washington representatives will speak to Hempfest attendees about their campaign at 3:50 p.m. on Saturday at the McWilliams Memorial Stage, and at 3:45 p.m. Sunday at Share Parker Memorial Main Stage.

Hempfest, which started in 1991 as a 6-month-long peace vigil opposing the Persian Gulf War, is regarded as the largest pot “protestival” in the world.

Steve Elliott, a working journalist since 1982, is editor of Toke of the Town, Village Voice Media site of cannabis news, views, rumor and humor.


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