Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Washington state Democrats back marijuana legalization initiative

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, September 19th, 2011 -- 8:00 pm

Washington state Democrats passed a resolution on Saturday to endorse Initiative 502, which would legalize the production and distribution of marijuana for sale to adults 21 and over through state-licensed stores.

The resolution was passed by a 75 to 43 vote.

The resolution (PDF) stated that thousands of Washington adults are arrested, prosecuted, and convicted for marijuana possession each year, wasting millions of dollars on law enforcement resources that could be used for more important public safety concerns.

The resolution also noted that taxing marijuana, the state's second biggest cash crop, would generate an estimated $215 million in new revenues for Washington.

The measure would also amend Washington's DUI laws by making driving under the influence of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood of THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, illegal. The 5 nanogram limit would not apply to the non-psychoactive marijuana metabolite carboxy-THC, which can appear in blood or urine tests for weeks.

If organizers gather enough signatures, the initiative would either be voted on by the state legislature or appear on the November 2012 ballot.

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