Press Editorial

October 16, 2012

By Staff

Vote to approve marijuana legalization

Despite decades of enforcement and untold millions of dollars, marijuana prohibition does not work.

Initiative 502 possesses the potential to clear the air and allow Washington to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use among adults 21 and older. The ballot measure outlines a sensible plan for the state to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.

I-502 is not a perfect plan, but the potential benefits outweigh the potential pitfalls.

I-502 earmarks the funds for health insurance, state and local governments, and, most importantly, drug research, prevention and treatment.

Critics claim the initiative could make marijuana more accessible to teenagers. In reality, marijuana, like alcohol, is widely available to minors. The onus is on parents to teach teenagers to make responsible choices.

Legalization could carry another benefit. The cash-strapped state desperately needs the estimated $1.9 billion in tax revenue from marijuana sales.

Passage could also squeeze Congress to consider overhauling antiquated marijuana laws at the federal level. The current law claims marijuana is as dangerous as heroin.

I-502 is backed by law enforcement and legal professionals. The fragmented opposition to the initiative seems more concerned about maintaining the status quo than engaging in a debate about real reform.

In August 2011, as Issaquah leaders worked to craft a sensible medical marijuana ordinance, we called for the legalization of marijuana. The time to update archaic marijuana laws is overdue.

The choice for Washington voters is clear. Vote yes on I-502.

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