CLARKSTON, WA – While the Washington State Liquor Control Board works on the regulations of Initiative 502, many are left wondering what’s legal come December 6th.
Since Initiative 502 was voted into law, confusion and misguided rumors have circulated throughout Washington as to what’s legal and what can still get you thrown behind bars. Many people are now asking, ‘does it matter where the marijuana comes from?’ Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols says it doesn’t.
“There’s a sort of a belief out there, that marijuana must come from a licensed source,” said Nichols. “The way the law is written, it doesn’t make having untaxed or having unlicensed marijuana a crime.”
Take a look at this pack of cigarettes and you’ll a see a tax stamp. Without this stamp, these cigarettes would be illegal. With marijuana, as the initiative stands, you won’t need a tax stamp or proof that it’s from a state owned dispensary. So if someone over 21, is carrying less than an ounce of marijuana that’s from a drug dealer, they can’t get arrested.
“The initiative provides the Washington State Liquor Control Board with a year to actually craft the rules and regulations that are going to govern that system,” said Carpenter. “It’s still very much up in the air, how that system will work.”
A spokesperson for the Washington State Liquor Control Board said Nichols is correct as of right now, however that may change as the law-making year goes on. A selling point for the initiative for many, stemmed from the perceived impact it would have on the War on Drugs in Mexico. However Nichols thinks it may have the opposite effect.
“I don’t think it’s going to have any impact at all on the Mexican Cartels,” said Nichols. “In fact it may make it easier for the illegal drug dealers and drug producers to sell their stuff in the state of Washington.”
It’s still a felony to sell and distribute marijuana, but a buyer that’s abiding by the confines of the initiative, is free to purchase marijuana from where ever they choose.
“After December 6th, yeah you’ll have to worry about getting it over the border,” said Nichols. “But once you get it into the state of Washington you’ll be able to move it fairly easily because people can possess it.”
The initiative is not forgiving to minors. Anyone under the age of 21 caught with any amount of marijuana is subject to arrest. And those over 21 years of age can be charged with a felony if they’re caught in possession of more than 1.4 ounces of marijuana.