Share story

Sixteen state lawmakers, all Democrats, have endorsed the marijuana-legalization initiative on the November ballot.

The group includes some of the usual suspects on marijuana policy, including Seattle Democrats Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Adam Kline. Seattle’s elected officials, including the mayor, city attorney and city council, have already endorsed.

I-502, the first marijuana initiative on the ballot since the passage in 1998 of medical marijuana, would de-criminalize possession of one ounce of marijuana and heavily tax sales at state-licensed “pot shops.” Mush of the revenue — guesstimated by the state at $560 million a year — would help fund health care.

Rep. Roger Goodman, also in the legislature’s “green” caucus, said a key criticism of I-502 — that strict DUI provisions would effectively criminalize driving by medical marijuana patients — could be remedied in the state Legislature.

“This would be a major step forward for reform. It would literally send a message to the world,” said Goodman, D-Kirkland. “It would send a message to Congress and would be a pretty big hole in the dike for the prohibitionist to have to stick their finger in.”

The Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs oppose I-502, and some attorneys question whether it quickly be quashed by federal prosecutors. Here is a recent debate between I-502 sponsor and former U.S. Attorney John McKay and Pat Slack, commander of the Snohomish County Drug Task Force.

The lawmakers who endorsed I-502 today:

Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-23)
Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34)
Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-32)
Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43)
Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36)
Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11)
Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44)
Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-22)
Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34)
Rep. Mary Helen Roberts (D-21)
Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45)
Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-32)
Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-11)
Sen. Adam Kline (D-37)
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36)
Rep. Luis Moscoso (D-1)