At yesterday’s Washington State Democratic Convention, party delegates overwhelmingly voted to endorse I-1068, a potential ballot measure to legalize cannabis in the state. From Publicola.net:

Bucking the recommendation of their executive board, delegates to the Washington State Democratic Convention endorsed I-1068 (the marijuana legalization initiative) with 62 percent “yes” vote (314 to 185). The executive board had given no recommendation on the initiative because “the committee was even more split than the delegates,” according to State Vice Chair Sharon Smith.

The endorsement of the State Democratic Party may be too late to ensure marijuana legalization is on the ballot this November.  A petition with signatures from at least 241,153 registered voters must be submitted by July 2nd, just five days from now in order to put I-1068 on the ballot.

The truly grassroots organization Sensible Washington has run a very strong signature gathering campaign to promote I-1068. However due to limited funding they may fall short of the requisite number of signatures. The task of running a true grassroots petition campaign in Washington State as opposed to a professional signature gathering operation, has been strongly hampered by the state’s ridiculous restriction preventing petitions from being printed on a standard 8.5 x 11 inch office paper (PDF).

That the marijuana legalization initiative was endorsed by the State Democratic Party is a good sign that it may get on the ballot in 2012 with a broad campaign working to gather signatures. It’s more likely to happen if the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act 0f 2010 passes in California this November, setting a precedent for Washington State.

More importantly this may be another very positive sign that marijuana’s legal status is finally moving away from being some weird moralistic taboo to becoming just another political/policy question to be debated on its merits. Does it make sense to maintain a law so universally violated that it has been broken by both our current and at least one former President of the United States?