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Washington Voters Support Decriminalizing Drug Possession & Funding Substance Abuse Resources, Says Poll

Commit to Change WA,  a coalition that works to replace failed laws that criminalize drug possession, told their supporters via email that advocates will focus on the next year’s legislative session, reported Marijuana Moment.

“We will not be moving forward to qualify Washington State Initiative Measure No. 1922 to the November 8 general election ballot,” the group said. “Signature gathering proved more challenging and prohibitively expensive than projected.

“This is especially hard news for us because we were going to win,” the email reads, pointing to new polling conducted in early June.

What Does The Survey Say?

The survey, conducted by Data for Progress,  indicated that 67 percent of Washington voters would have voted for the measure after reading the ballot language while 22 percent said they would vote against it and 11 percent were undecided.

“This measure would fund substance use disorder prevention, outreach, recovery, training, study, and public education; decriminalize drug possession but allow seizure and forfeiture; authorize vacation of certain drug-related convictions, and amend related laws,” reads the poll.

In addition, the poll found that both Democrats and independents, as well as Republicans, support the decriminalization measure.

Moreover, it showed that 56 percent of voters are likely to support candidates for elected office who support the elimination of criminal penalties for drug possession.

“Although proposed Initiative 1922 will no longer be on Washington’s ballot this November, state lawmakers need to keep in mind that Washington voters are ready to end the War on Drugs and want to begin addressing drug problems, compassionate substance use and data-backed policies,” the polling memo concluded.

The ballot initiative, I-1922 proposed to eliminate the state’s existing penalties for the possession and use of all drugs. However, as it did not become law yet, authorities could still seize illegal substances. That means, law enforcement would have to refer people to outreach services, where people could access treatment and connect with other support programs.

What Does The I-1922 Say About Cannabis Regularization?

Despite, erasing prior convictions for drug possession and use, and removing blemishes from criminal records; the proposal would invest millions in state funds, designating a portion of cannabis tax revenue, to expand outreach, treatment and long-term recovery services to help people that suffer from substance use disorders.

Photo By Rick Proctor On Unsplash

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