The marijuana legalization initiative on the fall ballot got an unexpected vote of confidence Monday from a prominent child-advocacy group and an expected vote of disapproval from a group of substance-abuse providers.
The Children’s Alliance, a Seattle nonprofit whose members include major social services agencies, endorsed Initiative 502 in effort to address the racially disproportionate impacts of current marijuana laws, said Jon Gould, the Alliance’s deputy director.
Marijuana usage is similar between whites and African-Americans, but blacks are three times as likely to be arrested, charged and convicted of marijuana-related crimes, said Gould. Children “end up paying a terrible price for the disproportionate enforcement” when their parents’ criminal records hinder their ability to get jobs, public housing or federal student aid, such as Pell grants, he said.
“The status quo is not working for children, particularly children of color. Public policy ought to move us further toward racial equity and justice, and Initiative 502 is one step forward to that,” said Gould.
I-502, the first marijuana-related initiative on the statewide ballot in 14 years, would allow and heavily tax sales of up to one ounce of marijuana from state-licensed pot stores to people ages 21 and over, and would also stiffen driving-under-the-influence laws related to marijuana.
There lots more to the Washington Initiative HERE.
[image: Google images Washington state]