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NAACP Endorses WA's Marijuana Initiative

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Published:2012-08-27 State
NAACP Endorses WA's Marijuana Initiative    Print Snohomish Times    
NAACP Endorses WA's Marijuana Initiative

The NAACP Alaska, Oregon and Washington State-Area Conference announced its endorsement of Initiative 502, a measure that would allow adults 21 and over to purchase and possess limited amounts of marijuana. I-502 will appear on the November 6 general election ballot.

“Treating marijuana use as a crime has not only failed, it has perpetuated racial inequities through unequal enforcement,” said NAACP AOWS-AC president Oscar Eason, Jr. “African Americans are no more likely than whites to use marijuana, but we are much more likely to be arrested for it.”

Under I-502, adults 21 and over would be able to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Private Washington businesses would be licensed to grow, process, and sell marijuana. A new per se DUI limit for marijuana’s psychoactive component, THC, would operate like the state’s per se limit for alcohol. Advertising and marijuana store locations would be restricted, and public display would be prohibited. The state would have until December 1, 2013, to develop rules for security, quality control, and other matters relating to public health and safety before licenses would be issued.

“Our youth are not protected when their families are broken apart and their parents are saddled with criminal records that raise barriers to employment,” Eason added. “Entry into the criminal justice system is a gateway to poverty. This is not an appropriate response to a public health issue.”

The Washington State Office of Financial Management estimates I-502 could generate $1.9 billion in new tax revenue for the state. The state Department of Health will receive funding for a comprehensive marijuana education and public health program modeled on its successful Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. Funding dedicated to the Basic Health Plan and community health centers could expand access to services to as many as 683,000 patients.




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