At the election night party in Seattle for Initiative 502, the marijuana legalization measure, supporters were cautiously optimistic that the 2012 election would be marijuana’s moment.
Early vote counts in Colorado have Amendment 64, a measure similar to I-502, gave them reason for hope: With about a third of the vote counted, Amendment 64 was ahead 52 percent to 48 percent. And a medical marijuana law in Massachusetts was easily approved, by a nearly two-to-one margin.
It’s too early to call anything. But King County Executive Dow Constantine, who dropped by the I-502 party at Hotel Andra, said the public is clearly “ahead of where elected officials are” because politicians get into “fixed” positions that they are reluctant to reverse.
He said I-502, if it passes, would help reduce drug-related crime from gangs and cartels. But Constantine said he wasn’t going to count on tax revenue from I-502 for the King County budget just yet, in part because the federal government could sue to block the measure.
“This is an opportunity for our state to open a conversation with the federal government and like-minded states to find a better approach to what is a public health issue,” he said.