Bill would legalize pot sales in Washington liquor stores

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ChrisDaniels5

KING5.com

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 11:04 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 25 at 11:18 PM

OLYMPIA – Imagine if you will, shoppers could have a choice.
 
Pot or Patron.

Marijuana or Monarch Rum.

Cannabis or Crown Royal.
 
That’s what Representative Mary Lou Dickerson wants to do.
 
“I’m not kidding around when I’m doing this. I’m dead serious. We need to stop handling Marijuana the way we have been,” says the Seattle Democrat.
 
She dropped House Bill 1550 on Tuesday, which she says will allow for the sale of marijuana in state-run liquor stores.
 
“There really is a great comparison between the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s and what we’ve been doing with marijuana now,” says Dickerson. “We need to regulate it, get it out of the hand of criminals and drug cartels and tax it.”
 
The bill also calls for the state to license marijuana growers.  Dickerson says the proceeds could go to paying for health care and substance abuse treatment.
 
“Why not?” says shopper Rob Vorheis, spotted in a Tumwater Liquor Store Tuesday Night. He believes the state should profit from sales and believes pot users cause fewer problems. “I have yet to hear about someone taking a bong hit, jumping into their car, going to McDonalds to get a double cheeseburger and killing (someone).”
 
Critics argue further legalization would increase the rate of marijuana use among teens and would be a gateway for people to start using harder drugs.
 
Representative Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, chairs the House Public Safety Committee. He will grant the bill a public hearing, but admits “I have questions about the legality and public support for it.”
 
Attorney General Rob McKenna, who has opposed expanded legalization in the past, said through a spokesperson Tuesday night the office will not support the bill and will make its opposition formally known.
 
State Senator Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, also says she will present a companion bill in the Senate.

“I’ve never smoked a joint in my life,” she says, “but we’re making millionaires out the world’s worst people."

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