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Sixteen state lawmakers endorse initiative to legalize marijuana
State Rep. Sherry Appleton is one of 16 state lawmakers who have announced their support of Initiative 502, which would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over.
I-502 will appear on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.
The endorsements of the 16 legislators, all Democrats, was announced Wednesday by New Approach Washington, the coalition that put I-502 on the ballot.
Appleton, a Democrat who represents the 23rd District, was elected to the House in 2004.
New Approach Washington said the following legislators have endorsed I-502, which would permit the licensing of privately owned and operated marijuana-only stores: Rep. Luis Moscoso (D-1), Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11), Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-11), Rep. Mary Helen Roberts (D-21), Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-22), Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-32), Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-32), Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34), Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34), Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36), Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36), Sen. Adam Kline (D-37), Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43), Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44), and Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45).
If I-508 is approved by voters, marijuana growers and processors in Washington would also be licensed to provide marijuana to the stores.
Supporters said 80 percent of a new marijuana excise tax would be dedicated to health care, prevention, research and education. The balance of the excise tax, and all retail sales tax, would go to the state's general fund and local budgets.
Officials with New Approach Washington said preliminary fiscal analyses published by the state Office of Financial Management estimate I-502 would generate $560 million in new tax revenue annually.
“Initiative 502 will free up law enforcement resources needed to combat violent crime,” said Rep. Moscoso, vice-chairman of the House General Government Appropriations & Oversight Committee and a member of the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “A tightly-regulated system for marijuana will allow our police and prosecutors to focus on more important public safety priorities.”