Consider voting “yes” on Initiative 502, the marijuana initiative on Washington state’s ballot. Face it, we have been chasing our tail on marijuana policy for decades. Current policy addressing marijuana’s availability and use is laughable. We’ve outlawed its production and use generally, but voted twice to make marijuana production and use legal for “medical need” (implementation of which is crazy).
We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in Washington state trying to enforce marijuana law. One can fairly question to what effect? Despite the get-tough intent, marijuana remains widely available, and citizens across the social spectrum use it recreationally.
This failed policy demands we try something else. Initiative 502 is a well-researched and tightly drawn proposal that offers a new approach to regulation. It would remove state law prohibitions on marijuana production and sale but — and this is a big important but — place marijuana licensing and regulation under the State Liquor Control Board. It would permit marijuana to be produced, sold and taxed under tightly controlled regulation.
This would clearly be safer and better than Washington’s current unregulated medical marijuana market and the black market supplying recreational users.
Do not be a knee-jerk “no.” Read the initiative; this one requires a thoughtful, informed vote.
–Ronald Morrison, Vancouver