Former Seattle US attorney pushes pot legalization

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SEATTLE (AP) -- A man who once served as the Justice Department's top official in Western Washington is sponsoring an initiative to legalize marijuana in the state.

John McKay spent five years enforcing federal drug laws as the U.S. attorney in Seattle. He tells The Associated Press that laws criminalizing marijuana are wrongheaded because they create an enormous black market exploited by international cartels and crime rings.

McKay says he's joining Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state in pushing an initiative to the Legislature that would regulate the recreational use of marijuana in a way similar to how the state regulates alcohol.

Activists would have until the end of this year to gather more than 240,000 signatures to get the initiative before the Legislature. Lawmakers will have a chance to approve it or allow it to go to the ballot.