Source:A group of 17 Democratic legislators on Wednesday endorsed Initiative 502, which would legalize the growing and sale of marijuana, in limited quantities, to those over 21 years of age.
But the list of endorsers is a usual-suspects list, dominated by Seattle-area liberals, with such lawmakers as State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells and Reps. Roger Goodman and Mary Lou Dickerson, who have long championed reform of marijuana laws.
“Initiative 502 will free up law enforcement resources needed to combat violent crime,” Democratic State Rep. Louis Moscoso said in a release.
Illegal marijuana sales have “hundreds of millions of Washington dollars flowing to marijuana markets each year,” added Dickerson, money that “should be redirected to legitimate businesses and taxed to support vital services.”
The state’s Office of Financial Management has forecast that I-502 would bring $60 million a year into the state’s coffers.
The marijuana initiative on November’s ballot has a hefty war chest and blue-chip backing from such personages as Bush-era U.S. Attorney John McKay and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.
But it is opposed by both major gubernatorial candidates, Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna and Democratic ex-Rep. Jay Inslee. Other foes range from law enforcement groups to medical marijuana dispensaries defending their current corner on distribution.
In British Columbia, calls for reform of marijuana laws have crossed the political spectrum, coming from mayors of major cities as well as four former B.C. attorneys general. A group called StopViolenceBC brought McKay north for a press conference late last month.
Conservative backing in the U.S. is more limited — federal legalization has been proposed by Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul — and President Obama threw cold water on legalization at the recent Summit of the Americas in Colombia.