55 to 45: Initiative 502 Passes

We already told you about Initiative 502 in an earlier post and its details about legalizing marijuana. Well yesterday Washington State voters passed Initiative 502 to not only legalize but also regulate and tax sales of small amounts of marijuana to adults. The estimate is that the new pot tax will raise almost half a billion dollars a year and much of that would go towards drug prevention and education programs.

Under Initiative 502 anyone over the age of 21 can purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana too. Those who want to grow marijuana under the protection of Initiative 502 can apply to the state for a license. Drivers in Washington will see how law enforcement agencies respond to the new provisions under I-502 limiting THC levels to 5 Nano grams per milliliter.

This is a measure that goes against federal law which still says marijuana possession is a crime.

Not only was Initiative 502 passed in Washington State a similar measure was voted in Colorado and Massachusetts followed suit, becoming the 18th state to approve the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Never before has support for making marijuana legal been so widespread. Last year, a Gallup poll found for the first time that 50 percent of Americans support making marijuana legal, with only 46 percent opposed.

Initiative 502 being passed in Washington State made it a national pacesetter when it comes to reforming drug laws. The reform for drug laws was led by former federal prosecutors, the Seattle City Attorney and an ex-top FBI agent. Both were in the 40 year “War on Drugs.”

Initiative 502 in Washington State grabbed just fewer than 56% of the votes to pass it statewide but got a whopping 63.82% in King County. Over a million votes were counted in the state of Washington. Initiative 502 in Washington State will go into effect December 6th of 2012 and the criminal justice system will have to figure out the details of the measure all on their own.

With Washington State passing Initiative 502 they are on a whole new forefront of marijuana laws. The reason this is such a big deal in comparison to other states or even other countries in the entire world is because they are one of the first states to actually regulate, tax and control marijuana like alcohol.

For now it is up in the air how the DUI program and criminal justice system will work with the passing of Initiative 502 in Washington State and voters will also have to wait and see when it comes to how much in tax revenue they actually generate. If it works, it wouldn’t be crazy to think that many other states on the fence about marijuana laws follow suit with their own version of passing Initiative 502.

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