Petitioners have turned in more than 350,000 signatures in support of Initiative 502, which proposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Washington. Now that the initiative has been officially recognized it will go to the Washington Legislature. If they do nothing with it the initiative will be placed on the November ballot. As the State of Washington moves one step closer to becoming the first state to legalize marijuana, the federal government’s stance remains the same, pot is illegal.
But there are still many questions to be answered and concerns echoed across the state can also be found in Spokane. Petitioners turned in more than 350,000 signatures in support of Initiative 502. The initiative proposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use in the State of Washington. KXLY4’s Aaron Luna reports. “I got through high school and middle school without doing drugs even though I was pressured and I’ve seen how people are on it and it’s not a good choice,” Lauren Hope said.
If passed, adults 21 and older could buy marijuana, but only one ounce at a time, which doesn’t sit well with medical marijuana users. Infused food and liquid marijuana would also be regulated with a tax levied on all marijuana sales. Supporters claim it would roll more than $200 Million a year into the state’s revenue. Others said the cost will drive smokers to the black market. “It will be overpriced so drug dealers will sell it for less because they’ll beat out the companies,” Spokane resident Steven Jeppsen said.
The Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs do not endorse the initiative saying it will lead to increased use by minors and many parents agree. “Young minds are very influential therefore legalizing a drug I believe should not be used can influence those minds,” Beth Reamer said. DUI laws would also be extended to include driving under the influence of marijuana though how much is still under debate. While federal law still trumps state law, a vote to legalize marijuana, making Washington the first state to do that, could sway national opinion on the drug.
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