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Campaign to legalize marijuana doesn’t see Legislature fast-tracking efforts

Post by Alexis Krell / The News Tribune on Feb. 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |
February 9, 2012 11:14 am

An initiative to legalize marijuana in Washington, I-502 had a work session at the Capitol today. Lawmakers could pass the measure directly into law or propose an alternative that would appear next to it on the ballot, but the campaign doesn’t see signs that they’ll do either.

“We’re being realistic about the fact that this is a short session,” Alison Holcomb, the campaign director of a group supporting I-502, told reporters after the meeting. “They’re very busy this year and we have a budget problem.”

Holcomb also said the Legislature would likely need a 2/3 vote to pass the initiative  into law, as it includes a new marijuana excise tax.

She said that they hadn’t heard of any alternative initiatives by lawmakers in the works.

The joint committee work session (no pun intended) heard testimony from two panels, one speaking for and the other against I-502.

Supporters testified that the measure would respond to a failing marijuana policy and help stem black market proceeds. Opponents said it would increase youth marijuana use and questioned the amount of funds it would actually raise.

Some in the medical marijuana community are concerned about THC limits for driving included in the bill, which they detailed in a press release this morning.

I-502 would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana use in Washington for those 21 and older.

See an Associated Press story about the campaign turning in enough signatures last month for I-502 to be on the fall ballot.

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