By Mike Meno
Some reassuring words of wisdom from Washington state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D), who tellsThe Stranger that she intends to introduce a bill to tax and regulate marijuana in next year’s legislature:
“We would legalize it, regulate it, and tax it,” she says. “I am serious. We have been wasting scores of millions of dollars on arresting and jailing people who have done nothing more than smoke marijuana recreationally. That has ended up harming people and costing taxpayers tremendously. So it’s a very high cost to individuals and to taxpayers—it’s a wrongheaded policy that simply needs to be changed. People need to stick their neck out and say enough already and people are starting to do that. You will see that we will have a very good sponsor [for a companion bill to legalize marijuana] in the senate, someone who is very well respected. I am dead serious about this.”
Dickerson also points to a recent poll showing support for treating marijuana like alcohol at 54 percent among Washington voters. “If [the legislature doesn't] pass it this year, there’s a possibility we will take our case to the people in the initiative process in 2012,” she says.