36th District Representative Mary Lou Dickerson is once again calling on the state legislature to legalize marijuana. House Bill 1550, which was introduced this morning, would legalize the use of cannabis for adults age 21 and over.
Rep. Dickerson says that legalizing marijuana could generate $400 million per biennium for the state. “Subjecting cannabis to a licensed, regulated system would not only improve public health and safety, it would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for health care at a time when Washington’s budget is being decimated,” said Dr. William Robertson, founder of the Washington Poison Control Center.
Under the bill, cannabis would be sold through state liquor stores with growers applying for a license through the Liquor Control Board. The LCB, according to a press release, has a 96 percent success rate in preventing alcohol sales to minors.“Drug cartels and black-market dealers have made it easier for kids to get cannabis than alcohol,” Dickerson said. “The Liquor Control Board has a proven track record of shielding kids from its products. I’m confident our bill will break the back of cannabis crime-syndicate profits and make it possible to preserve vital health services across Washington in these very difficult budget times.”
In 2010, Dickerson submitted a similar bill, HB 2401, which didn’t make it past the Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness.
House Bill 1550 is not to be confused with legislation introduced this year by 36th District Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles concerning medical marijuana reform (Senate Bill 5073 and House Bill 1100). Read more about these bills here.