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Marijuana Policy and the Law

Washington State's Initiative 502

Washington Initiative 502 was passed in November of 2012. It licenses and regulates marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over the age of 21; removes state-law criminal and civil penalties for specified activities; taxes marijuana sales; and earmarks marijuana-related revenues.

The following resources provide background information about I-502 and some of its key features.

I-502 Implementation (WA State Liquor Control Board)
Over the course of implementation of the new law, this page will feature the latest information. It includes a fact sheet that addresses many of the ways in which the initiative will impact the WSLCB moving forward, and an FAQ page with answers to practical questions.

Implementing Initiative 502: Washington's New Marijuana Law (ACLU of Washington State)
This site describes the law's implementaiton process, comments on treatment, prevention and public health concerns, estimates tax revenue, and offers suggestions for parents on how to talk to kids about marijuana now that it's legal for adult use.

Marijuana Legalization in Washington State -- Information Brief by the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute Library, University of Washington. October 2012
Includes links to the full text of the initiative, the OEM fiscal impact statement, perspectives on both sides of the debate, and links to local media stories and resources.


Campus and Workplace Policies

University of Washington: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy

Washington State University: Alcohol and Drug Policy (pdf)

Central Washington University: I-502 No Effect on CWU Marijuana Policy

The Battle is On: I-502 vs. Drug-Free Policies at Work -- Jonathan Martin, Seattle Times, Nov. 17, 2012

Law Enforcement

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces the federal government will not challenge Washington and Colorado marijuana laws (August 2013) new!

DUI-related factsheets from New Approach Washington: Driving under the influence of THC | The Science Behind I-502's Per Se Standard | Other State THC Per Se DUI Laws

Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana in Seattle (Seattle Police Department)
This well-informed post on the official SPD Blotter blog serves as a pratical guide on local law enforcement's interpretation of I-502. Written in Q&A format, it answers questions on a variety of legal issues related to marijuana use in Washington state once the law goes into effect.

Federal Law: Preemption and Dual Sovereignty (New Approach Washington)
Are states legalizing marijuana violating federal law? This factsheet explains the "federal preemption" and "dual sovereignty" in the context of state marijuana laws.

U.S. Attorney's Office Statement on Initiative 502 (2012)
December 5, 2012 press release from U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, Western District of Washington, declaring that marijuana is still illegal under federal law in Washington and Colorado despite recent changes to state law.

Obama Administration Weighs Legal Action Against States that Legalized Marijuana Use
Charlie Savage, New York Times, Dec. 6, 2012.


    Washington Recovery Helpline ADAI Clearinghouse Marijuana Anonymous

This information made available by the UW Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute · Updated 2/2014
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