On Saturday, November 4th, Washington celebrated their five-year anniversary of legal recreational marijuana, which was monumental in the world of weed news. Washington voters approved of Initiative 502 (I-502) to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, and the same initiative decriminalized recreational marijuana after it was voted into law, according to KOMO News.
Initiative 502's Purpose:
I-502 ultimately made marijuana legal for adults aged 21+ in Washington state. The law created a licensed and regulated system consisting of legal marijuana production and distribution, which has done nothing but grow over the past five years; however, some say that more needs to be done.
Recreational Marijuana's Booming Revenue:
Oscar Velasco-Schmidt, co-founder of Dockside Cannabis in Seattle and member of Cannabis Alliance, told KOMO News that Washington has seen close to $1 billion in tax revenue since recreational legalization went into effect. On the same note, in total, consumers have purchased $2-3 billion of cannabis in Washington since legalization. These figures are significant, and they continue to increase, especially since the price of marijuana per gram has recently decreased.
Where the Tax Revenue Goes:
A large chunk of marijuana tax revenue goes towards education, youth prevention, and research. Unfortunately, people still worry about teens using marijuana, and many believe this could result in an increased crime rate. However, Washington's King County Sheriff's Department released a statement on Washington's five-year anniversary by responding to this concern, stating:
"Drug use among teens overall is down. The retail marijuana shops do not cause significant amounts of increased crime. We aren’t arresting for misdemeanor marijuana anymore, which takes a huge burden off the criminal justice system."
Overall, Washington's recreational marijuana program is moving in a positive direction slowly but surely, but certain kinks still need to get worked out. We'll have to wait and see what Washington's ten-year anniversary will look like and the progress they'll make from now until 2022.
Interested in how much marijuana products cost in Washington? Check out the article below to find out:
Learn about available cannabis jobs in Seattle by reading the article below: