|Available at your local liquor store? Yes, in Washington, if HB 2401 passes.|
If you want to be able to grow, sell, or smoke marijuana legally in the state of Washington, next Wednesday you may want to be in OIympia, the state capitol, reports Jerry Cornfield at the Everett HeraldNet.
At 1:30 p.m. on January 13, the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee will consider House Bill 2401, which would have Washington treat marijuana much like it does alcohol.
The bill is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson.
If the bill is passed, those 21 or older won’t face criminal penalties for possessing, transporting, or using cannabis, the HeraldNet reports.
However, growing and selling marijuana would still be unlawful, as only state-licensed growers would be allowed to cultivate pot, and only state-licensed stores would be allowed to sell it.
Like with booze, smoking and driving are a no-no, as is providing pot to minors.
Under HB 2401, marijuana could be bought at state liquor stores. A hefty tax would be added to the herb, with proceeds going to drug education and rehabilitation programs.
Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, is already on record as opposing the bill. “Like most of my colleagues in law enforcement, like my father who was in law enforcement, I’m not a big fan of making marijuana available without a prescription,” McKenna said.
HB 2401 is 78 pages long, reports Peter Callaghan of The Tacoma News Tribune, but most of that is a result of meticulously finding every reference to marijuana in state law and either removing it from criminal codes or adding it to liquor laws.
Activists have expressed concern about the bill’s equivalence of alcohol and marijuana laws, and the fact that in its current form it prohibits personal (non-licensed by the state) cultivation.
On the same day, Jan. 13, the committee will also hold a hearing on House Bill 1177, which would reduce penalties on adults possessing small amounts of marijuana.