Marijuana should be decriminalized and regulated to end the unnecessary violence spawned by the drug trade in the U.S. and Mexico says former U.S. attorney John McKay. Mckay spoke out along with a panel of other officials at a news conference put on by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, Wednesday aimed at drumming up support for Rep Dickerson’s marijuana legalization bill.
“Prohibition has failed, and frankly has failed for over 80 years,” McKay said. “That means we have to have a different approach to the fact that 14 million Americans choose to smoke marijuana in the face of federal prison.”
Dickerson’s bill seeks to have the Washington State Liquor Control board sell and regulate cannabis, and would make marijuana possession legal for adults over age 21. Analysts estimate the bill could raise $440 million in tax revenue – much-needed money in the face of a $5 billion deficit the state budget faces.
“In these trying times, $440 million of new revenue should definitely be of interest to the Legislature,” Dickerson said.
The bill lays out where that revenue would go: 75 percent is dedicated to health care; 20 percent to substance abuse prevention and intervention; and 5 percent to the Liquor Control Board, the Department of Agriculture, and cities and counties. This doesn’t account for the enormous amount of spending that would be saved as police wouldn’t have to hunt down and prosecute harmless pot smokers. In attendance at Wednesday’s news conference was Jodie Emery, wife of Marc Emery, the so-called “Prince of Pot” whom McKay prosecuted in 2005 for selling marijuana seeds.