Jay Inslee, who's been begging Democrats to rally behind his run for governor, isn't like most Democrats in Washington State. SurveyUSA found in January that 71 percent of Democrats here believe we should pass an initiative this fall to tax and regulate marijuana. Another poll that same month by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research found 68 percent of Democrats support the initiative. Even the ol' state Democratic party voted in a landslide to legalize marijuana this year.
Jay Inslee is “not comfortable with” and will vote against Initiative 502, the statewide ballot measure to legalize and tax marijuana, and put the Washington State Liquor Control Board in charge of sales.
Realistically, Inslee can't kowtow to all of his party's pet positions—even positions supported by an overwhelming majority of his party—if he wants to beat the undeniably more terrifying opposition in the race, Republican Rob McKenna. I hear that. But Inslee didn't have to support I-502. He didn't have to oppose it, either. He could have been undecided.
Instead, Inslee is taking a stance to lock up 10,000 people a year for marijuana, using our scarce law enforcement resources to do it, keeping drugs in the hands of drug dealers, and turning the profits over to lethal cartels. Because it's one or the other: maintain the illicit drug markets or rein them in by regulating them. Taking a position against legalization and regulation is campaigning for a system that doesn't card minors trying to buy pot, a system that promotes international marijuana trafficking, and a system that costs the government in enforcement expenses when it could be collecting tax revenue. Speaking of revenue, the state reported this week that I-502 would generate more than half-billion dollars a year, which would help pay for all those programs that most Democrats want the governor to preserve so badly.
This isn't how you jazz your base—even voters like me who will vote for him regardless. Stacks of progressive voters want a candidate to get excited about. Instead, Inslee has gone out of his way to give them Gregoire 2.0.