Wash. Lawmakers Likely To Leave Marijuana Initiative To Voters

Feb 9, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers say they won’t likely vote on a proposal to legalize marijuana in advance of a citizen’s initiative on the November ballot. Lawmakers in Olympia met to discuss the issue Thursday.

The discussion about legalizing marijuana started with a joke from Committee Chair Sam Hunt.

Hunt: “Welcome, this is a - I hate to say it – joint work session of the House and Senate government oper… (laughter) You finally figured that out (laughter)”

Joint, meaning House and Senate members in the same meeting. They heard testimony from both the supporters and opponents of legalizing marijuana. Washington law gives the legislature the chance to weigh in on citizen initiatives. But Democrat Mary Lou Dickerson explains why she thinks her fellow lawmakers would rather take a pass on an idea she supports.

Dickinson : “They’re reticent to take up issues that they believe would be politically dangerous for them.”

The proposed initiative would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes for Washington adults 21 and older. The state Liquor Control Board would regulate it. There would be a blood level limit on driving under the influence. Supporters also hope to create a state tax on marijuana to help balance the budget.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network