Olympia, WA: A coalition of House lawmakers have introduced legislation that seeks to legalize and regulate the "production, distribution, and sale" of marijuana to adults.
As introduced, House Bill 1550 would allow for the state-authorized cultivation and distribution of marijuana and marijuana-related products. "[T]he legislature intends to promote commerce and competition within Washington by eliminating penalties for the possession and consumption of cannabis, regulating and taxing the sale of cannabis by state government, and licensing cannabis growers," it states.
The measure has been referred to the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which rejected a similar measure last year by a 6 to 2 vote.
"I’m confident our bill will break the back of cannabis crime-syndicate profits and make it possible to preserve vital health services across Washington in these very difficult budget times," stated the bill’s lead sponsor, Democrat Mary Lou Dickerson.
According to a 2010 analysis by the Washington state Office of Financial Management, legalizing and taxing marijuana sales could yield over $300 million in new revenue per biennium. Proponents also argue that passage of the act could also result in an additional estimated $25 million per year in law enforcement savings.
Similar legalization measures are expected to be introduced in other states later this year, including California and Massachusetts.
For more information on this measure, please visit NORML’s Take Action Center, or visit the Washington state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) at: http://www.aclu-wa.org/issues/drug-policy.
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