Washington Initiative 502 (aka I-502)

What is it?

In essence, the I-502 is an initiative that marks the first step in marijuana reform. It is aimed at the Washington State Legislature and should be voted on in the beginning of November this year. Believe it or not,  over 241 000 signatures were collected and now the I-502 is waiting on its final confirmation. Of course, if it passes, marijuana would become legalized and life as you know it would be over. Well, not really, except for the fact you could buy weed legally. There are many pro’s and con’s of this bold little venture so it is in our best interest to introduce you to at least some of them.

What are the benefits?

Marijuana’s most severe side-effect is the one it has on society as a whole. Over 700 000 people were arrested on marijuana charges alone in the U.S. in 2012. I-502 would serve as a remedy in those cases, allowing up to an ounce for personal use. Imagine how much money that would save? A huge chunk of the state budget could then be redirected into fighting actual crime instead of jailing pot smokers. In addition, weed would become a taxable iteam, sold in licensed dispensaries and available to almost anyone who wants a puff. After all, everybody’s doing it, why not make the most out of it?

The Washington Initiative would also regulate the age limit. For instance, if you were under 21, you would not be able to buy marijuana from a state licensed store. That would also eliminate the possibility of DUI if you’re under 21. In all honesty, that sounds ideal but what would prevent kids from just equiping themselves with fake ID’s and just go in there and buy pot? Would there be any additional hardcore measures that would prevent this from happening? We have yet to find out.

Why are people against it?

Supposedly, marijuana is a gateway drug. We believe that fact has more to do with a persons character than what „may or may not“ happen if you light up that joint. Sure, marijuana is a drug, there is no doubt about that. However, at the same time, marijuana is a flurishing underground business and people who reap the rewards are not the ones who pay their taxes.

Pretty much the main argument people have against I-502 is that, if it passes, everyone will get hooked on marijuana. That sounds really slim to begin with and we have two really great examples that prove otherwise: Amsterdam and Portugal. The thing that happens when you legalize marijuana is that consumption actually goes down and those two cities can prove it. In addition, Portugal decriminalized all drugs and guess what? The consumption of drugs was cut down to one half. So take a minute, breathe in and think about it. Can it really get any worse than it already is? The legalization would actually clean up the streets, leaving drug dealers with one less item on their menus.

Who endorses it?

Even though this initiative is for the legalization, it is mostly endorsed by organizations and people who have very little to no interest in smoking cannabis. For instance, Children’s Alliance, mayors of Tacoma, Kirkland, Seattle, John McKay, senator and representatives, The Olympian, the Columbian etc, the list goes on and on. All of these people see the benefits in legalizing marijuana. The question is: do you?

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