OLYMPIA – The following sixteen Washington state legislators announced their endorsement today of Initiative 502, which would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over. I-502 will appear on the November 6 general election ballot.
Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-23) Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36)
Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-32) Rep. Luis Moscoso (D-1)
Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36) Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34)
Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44) Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43)
Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11)
Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45) Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-22)
Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-11) Rep. Mary Helen Roberts (D-21)
Sen. Adam Kline (D-37) Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-32)
“Initiative 502 will free up law enforcement resources needed to combat violent crime,” said Rep. Moscoso. Moscoso serves as vice-chair of the House General Government Appropriations & Oversight Committee and a member of the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “A tightly-regulated system for marijuana will allow our police and prosecutors to focus on more important public safety priorities.”
Under I-502, privately owned and operated standalone, marijuana-only stores would be licensed to sell limited quantities of marijuana to adults 21 and over. Washington growers and processors would be licensed to provide marijuana to the stores. Advertising would be restricted, and a new DUI threshold for THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, would operate like the .08 threshold for alcohol to keep impaired drivers off the streets.
Eighty percent of a new marijuana excise tax would be dedicated to health care, prevention, research, and education. The balance of the excise tax, and all retail sales tax, would go to the state general fund and local budgets. Preliminary fiscal analyses published by the Washington state Office of Financial Management estimate I-502 would generate $560 million in new tax revenue annually.
“The hundreds of millions of Washington dollars currently flowing to the marijuana black market each year should be redirected to legitimate businesses and taxed to support vital government services,” said Rep. Dickerson, who introduced legalization bills in the legislature in 2010 and 2011, and co-sponsored I-502 with nine other community leaders including Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and travel writer Rick Steves. Dickerson chairs the House Health and Human Services Appropriations & Oversight Committee. She also sits on the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee and House Ways and Means Committee.
Sen. Kohl-Welles, a long-time advocate for medical marijuana protections, pointed to benefits for patients.
“Under Initiative 502, patients would finally have protection from arrest for possessing marijuana. They would also have safe access to quality-controlled marijuana locally grown and sold by licensed Washington businesses.”
Kohl-Welles chairs the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee. She also sits on the Senate Judiciary, Rules, and Ways and Means Committees.
More information is available at NewApproachWA.org.