Photo by Patrick Robinson
Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Representative Mary Lou Dickerson and 14 other Washington state legislators announced their endorsement of Initiative 502 today. I-502 would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over, and will appear on the November 6 general election ballot.

Sixteen Washington state legislators endorse Initiative 502 to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for Adults

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36th District), Representative Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36th District) and 14 other Washington state legislators announced their endorsement of Initiative 502 today.

I-502 would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over, and will appear on the November 6 general election ballot.

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. Yet advertising would be restricted, and a new DUI threshold for THC 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 in a press release. Dickerson introduced marijuana 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.

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.

The 16 legislators who've endorsed 1-502 so far are:

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)

Visit http://www.NewApproachWA.org for more information.

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