The first major steps taken for Washington to legalize marijuana was to create a initiative for voters to vote for. Pro-legalization groups worked on this in the beginning of 2012, creating a basis of what the voters would vote on. This pro-legalization groups then had to petitions the votes before bring in to the board of elections. Once it was brought to the board of elections, it was approved. It made it onto the 2012 November ballet, where it surpassed the votes needed and passed.
The first step was the Federal Recognition of State Cannabis Laws, by which Washington voters opted to legalize marijuana in November 2012. The second step was to repeal or restructure the Controlled Substances Act.
The third step was to repeal Section 280E of the Federal Tax Code with a simple tweak
Step 4 was to allow equal access to the Financial System along with establishing equal treatment for cannabis businesses under federal tax laws.
Step 5 involved implementing Alternative Regulatory Structure by drafting, passing, and executing new laws regarding the decriminalization / legalization of cannabis.
Before they could even present this bill to the legislator they first had to get enough signatures from residents of Washington that were in favor of legalizing marijuana. After that they had to have a state wide ballot and had to win in order for legalization to begin. They won the vote with 55.7 percent of the votes.