Strong turnout predicted as ballots reach voters

October 23, 2012

King County Elections mailed more than 1.16 million ballots to voters Oct. 17, as all-mail voting started in federal, state and local contests.

The election marks the first presidential contest since King County started conducting all-mail elections and since Washington transitioned to a vote-by-mail state.

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Top elections official predicts strong voter participation

October 17, 2012

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Oct. 17, 2012

The top elections official in Washington, Secretary of State Sam Reed, predicted strong voter participation in the Nov. 6 election, as counties started mailing ballots to voters Wednesday.

Statewide, county-level elections administrators sent more than 3.85 million ballots to registered voters. King County Elections is due to mail 1.16 million ballots.

Reed said intense interest in the contests for president and governor — plus ballot measures and other statewide races — should lead to strong voter participation.

“The presidential/gubernatorial election year always has the best turnout, and this year really has something for everyone,” he said in a statement. “We have a presidential race that is essentially tied at the national level and an open governor’s race that is very close and hotly contested.”

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Press Editorial

October 16, 2012

Vote to approve marijuana legalization

Despite decades of enforcement and untold millions of dollars, marijuana prohibition does not work.

Initiative 502 possesses the potential to clear the air and allow Washington to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use among adults 21 and older. The ballot measure outlines a sensible plan for the state to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.

I-502 is not a perfect plan, but the potential benefits outweigh the potential pitfalls.

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Preston marijuana collective relocates to Black Diamond

October 16, 2012

The Kind Alternative Medical Collective, a nonprofit medical marijuana collective, has departed Preston for Black Diamond and the grounds of MMJ Universe.

In August, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration sent letters to medical marijuana facilities operating near schools and drug-free zones. The Kind Alternative and 22 other facilities received such letters.

Billed as a medical marijuana farmers market, MMJ Universe includes a nursery and more. The operation is open on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Initiative 692, passed in 1998, allows people suffering from certain medical conditions to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana. Under state law, physicians can recommend — but not prescribe — the drug for patients.

Initiative 502 appears on the November ballot. The measure asks voters to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for recreational uses.

Press Editorial

October 9, 2012

Join conversation at candidate forum

In 2008, fueled in part by the historic candidacy of Barack Obama to the highest office in the land, voters engaged in the political process in a once-in-a-generation way.

Though 2012 cannot recapture the sense of excitement, contests up and down the ballot merit some serious attention from Issaquah voters. So much attention is focused on the race for president, but Washington voters must decide important races for governor and other executive positions.

Voters also face a chance to make history through ballot measures to legalize marijuana and affirm the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

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Uncertainty clouds debate over marijuana legalization measure, Initiative 502

September 25, 2012

Marijuana sits in a jar held by Lydia George in 2011 at GreenLink Collective. File

GreenLink Collective, a medical marijuana operation along Northwest Gilman Boulevard, reshaped attitudes and policies about marijuana in Issaquah last year, as patients and officials engaged in a long debate about access to a drug banned under federal law.

In November, Washington voters could further redraw the battle lines in the marijuana debate. Initiative 502 aims to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for recreational users. The proposal goes a step beyond a 1998 measure to legalize medical marijuana in Washington and could set a national precedent.

The initiative calls for sales at state-licensed stores of up to 1 ounce of marijuana — grown by state-licensed farmers. Marijuana-related tax revenue could pump as much as $1.9 billion into state coffers, if the federal government does not intervene.

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