New Approach Washington is a coalition of Washington citizens who believe that treating marijuana use as a crime has failed, and that it is time for a new approach. We include doctors, lawyers, treatment and prevention experts, business people, and parents. We are united in the belief that Washington should stop wasting law enforcement resources on adults who use marijuana, and instead create a tightly regulated system that takes money away from criminal organizations and generates tax revenue for our state and local governments.
To achieve this goal, we consulted with policy experts, community stakeholders, and leaders within the Washington state legislature, executive agencies, and judiciary to craft a detailed proposal for taking a step in a new direction. In plain language, here is what Initiative 502 will do:
This law legalizes the possession of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. The only marijuana that would be legal to sell in this state would be grown by specially-licensed Washington farmers and sold in standalone, marijuana-only stores operated by private Washington businesses licensed and regulated by the state. There would be a 25% sales tax, with 40% of the new revenues going to the state general fund and local budgets, and the remainder dedicated to substance-abuse prevention, research, education and health care. Advertising would be restricted. A new marijuana DUI standard that operates like the alcohol DUI standard would be established.
Here's how Initiative 502 will be described on your November 6 general election ballot:
This measure would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over twenty-one; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues.
And here's the summary we were required to print on signature petitions to put Initiative 502 on this year's ballot:
This measure would remove state-law prohibitions against producing, processing, and selling marijuana, subject to licensing and regulation by the liquor control board; allow limited possession of marijuana by persons aged twenty-one and over; and impose 25% excise taxes on wholesale and retail sales of marijuana, earmarking revenue for purposes that include substance-abuse prevention, research, education, and healthcare. Laws prohibiting driving under the influence would be amended to include maximum thresholds for THC blood concentration.
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