A bill that would legalize marijuana in Washington state – something every state legislator from Seattle, as well as the city’s mayor, city attorney and several City Councilmembers say they support – is officially dead in Olympia.
House Bill 1550 didn’t advance out of the relevant committees by Friday evening – a key cutoff date during the 2011 Legislature.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle would legalize marijuana, have its sale regulated by the state Liquor Control Board and impose a tax of 15 percent per gram on cannabis. Supporters say it would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for a state government staring at a deficit of at least $5 billion for the next two years. A contingent of Seattle officials testified for the bill last month.
But actually passing a legalized pot bill was always going to be a hard sell. Technically, the measure could be incorporated into a budget bill in the final weeks of the session, but that seems highly unlikely.
The Seattle Times editorial board recently said marijuana should be legalized and there’s a chance voters will get a chance to weigh in on the matter soon. Sponsors of a measure that would legalize marijuana use by people 18 and older are collecting signatures to try to get an initiative before the people this fall. To qualify for the November ballot, initiative sponsors need to get the signatures of more than 241,000 registered voters by July 8. Last year a similar effort fell short by about 50,000 signatures.
In January, a SurveyUSA/KING5 poll found that a slim majority of people in Washington state – 51 percent – thought marijuana should be made legal.
– Article from The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.