What is Initiative 502?
Initiative 502 is Washington States “initiative on marijuana reform”. Initiative 502 is scheduled to appear before the Washington State Legislature in November 2012 and will be on the general ballot.
How did initiative 502 start?
The initiative for marijuana reform was submitted to the Washington Secretary of state during the summer of 2011. This initiative got enough signatures to meet the requirements to send it to legislature. The required amount of signatures to get an initiative sent to the Washington Legislature is 241,153 signatures. After the legislature finished up in April 2012 without taking any action on it, it was automatically advanced to appear on the general ballot in November.
The details of Initiative 502
If initiative 502 is passed it would mean that marijuana would get newly distinguished and defined as different from other parts of the cannabis plant. It would also mean small amount of marijuana products for adults would be legalized. Initiative 502 would allow for the taxation of these marijuana products in order to use the revenue for healthcare, substance abuse prevention and education. Cannabis would still be known as a schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law and would be subject to federal prosecution but initiative 502 would change the state law. Yet some things would remain illegal under Washington’s state law. Under Initiative 502 possession of marijuana by anyone younger than 21, possession of marijuana in large amount, and growing of unlicensed and unregulated marijuana would still be totally illegal under the state law.
Support for Initiative 502
Initiative 502 has some support too. Those who supported Initiative 502 were the Washington State Democratic Central Committee which endorsed Initiative 502 by a vote of 75 in favor and 43 opposed. The mayor and entire city council of Seattle support Initiative 502. National support for the measure comes from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). The primary group supporting Initiative 502 is New Approach Washington, which keeps an updated list of official endorsements on its website. Newspapers endorsing I-502 in the weeks immediately prior to the election include Seattle Times, The Spokesman-Review, The Columbian, and The Olympian.
Those opposed of Initiative 502
The opposition for Initiative 502 is strong too though. Opponents include the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention. No on I-502 is the primary group opposing Initiative 502.
Washington State will be casting their vote for Initiative 502 in November 2012 and from there it will be seen what kind of changes a measure like this will cause within the state and federal jurisdictions. Washington State won’t be the first of the states to pass an Initiative such as this one, many other states including California already have similar measures in place.