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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

September 4, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Debate this Thursday: Does marijuana legalization make sense?

For the first time since 1998 in Washington, marijuana policy is on the statewide ballot.

So it’s time to air out the debate. The League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County is hosting a panel debate on drug policy reform and marijuana legalization at 7 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 6 at Seattle’s Town Hall. Panelists include two supporters of Initiative 502, which would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use – former U.S. Attorney in Seattle John McKay and former Spokane County public health director Dr. Kim Marie Thorburn. Commander Pat Slack of the Snohomish County Regional Drug Task Force will be taking the con side. I’ll be moderating and taking audience questions.

I-502, filed by McKay last year, decriminalizes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults and allows for heavily taxed and regulated sales of cannabis products in state-licensed storefront “pot shops.” It would set up state-licensed marijuana grow farms, legalize hemp production and pay for hundreds of millions of dollars of drug-abuse research.  It also creates one of the nation’s strictest DUI laws regarding marijuana.

What would the federal government do if Washington voters pass it? What effect would it have on kids? Would it save money by diverting law enforcement away from marijuana possession cases? Would you bring a joint to your next dinner party if it were legal?

Send me you questions at jmartin@seattletimes.com.

0 Comments | More in homepage, Politics Northwest | Topics: initiative 502, marijuana

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