Pubdate: Tue, 02 Oct 2012
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2012 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Jonathan Martin


The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana has received two 
boosts: another $1 million in donations, and a vote of approval from 
King County Sheriff Steve Strachan.

The biggest donation to Initiative 502 came from Progressive 
Insurance founder and marijuana-legalization advocate Peter Lewis. 
His $670,000 donation last week brings his total contribution to 
$1.55 million, more than a third of I-502's total donations of nearly 
$4 million.

Those contributions allowed I-502 to buy about $700,000 in TV airtime 
the last week before the election, said campaign manager Alison 
Holcomb. Those ads will differ from I-502's first round of TV ads, 
which featured a middle-aged woman who declared she "didn't really 
like" marijuana, but that it was time for "a conversation" about legalizing it.

Strachan, who is running for election, said Monday he would vote for 
I-502, which would "bring clarity" to the conflicting state and 
federal laws regarding marijuana. "I think the current situation is 
bad for the rule of law, bad for the criminal-justice system and it 
sends a bad message to our kids."

Strachan said he used to be a school-resource officer, and knows that 
marijuana is easier for kids to get than alcohol.

"With alcohol being highly regulated, we're able to have a more 
reasonable discussion about it, in societies and in our families. If 
we treat marijuana like people are already informally treating it, 
you can make choices based on boundaries set by parents ... 
(Currently) people are sort of winking at it. It lives in this kind 
of limbo - it's illegal, but also not. I think discussions will lead 
to better outcomes than the really ambiguous, confusing messages 
we're sending to our kids."

Strachan's opponent, longtime sheriff's spokesman John Urquhart, 
previously endorsed I-502.

The only organized opposition to I-502 is by a group of 
medical-marijuana patients and retailers. No on 502 has raised $5,760.

I-502 decriminalizes one-ounce possession of marijuana and creates a 
closed, state-licensed monopoly of marijuana growers and retailers. 
Its biggest funders, in addition to Lewis, include the New York-based 
marijuana-reform group Drug Policy Action ($715,000), and James and 
Cody Swift, who are affiliated with Kirkland's RiverStyx Foundation. 
They contributed a combined $300,000 late last month, bringing their 
contribution to $420,000.
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