Washington passes measure to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana

Washington voters on Tuesday passed Initiative 502 to legalize, regulate and tax sales of small amounts of marijuana to adults, a measure that flies in the face of federal law and policy that still treats possession of cannabis as a crime.

A similar measure in Colorado was ahead, and Massachusetts became the 18th state to approve use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The initiative contains a one-year rule-making procedure, so “there is no need for precipitous action” by the federal drug bureaucracy against Washington, said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, an initiative sponsor.  “We have breathing space that allows for adult conversation at all levels.”

Washington, by its vote, became a national pacesetter in the drive to reform drug laws.  The reform effort was led by former federal prosecutors, the Seattle City Attorney and an ex-top FBI agent — all former warrior in the 40-year “War on Drugs.”

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