Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Washington state seeks to legalize marijuana

Not so fast says AG Holder, the Feds may intervene

Washington state is considering an initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.  The measure would raise up to $1.9 billion in new tax revenue over five years, reported the Seattle Times. It was not so long ago that legalized gambling was shunned as a viable revenue producer.

In these lean economic times, legalizing marijuana may be an attractive options for states trying to maintain social programs without raising taxes.

The time may be right for a legalization effort.  According to the New York Times, a recent Gallup poll found only 31 percent of Americans said they thought the government was making much progress dealing with illegal drugs, the lowest share since 1997. But fewer people say they worry about drug abuse than 10 years ago. Only 29 percent of Americans think it is an extremely or very serious problem where they live, the lowest share in the last decade.

People will use legalized marijuana. Washington's revenue estimate is based on an assumption that 363,000 customers would consume 187,000 pounds of marijuana in new state-license retail shops, reported the Times. Initiative 502 will be on the ballot this fall. However, success on the ballot will not insure legal marijuana.

A 2010 letter from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, sent as California voters were considering legalizing marijuana, indicated the federal will "vigorously enforce the CSA (Controlled Substances Act) against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture and distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law."

Not all leaders share Holder's position. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, "The war on drugs, while well-intentioned, has been a failure."

To read more:  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2018898246_marijaunaofm11m.html

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