Today marijuana is legal in some fashion in almost 50% of our United States. We’ve probably mentioned this already but we’re soon heading to Seattle for a little industry happening called CannaCan. Before we arrive, we’re taking a quick look at legalization in Washington State, one of the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012.
Washington State’s amendments allowing for legal, recreational weed did not happen overnight. Legalization advocates have been hard at work for over fifty years and the adoption of pot for personal use by state legislators was a gradual sell.
1998 marked the year Washington State voters enacted Initiative 692, the Medical Use of Marijuana Act. I-692 was a groundbreaking move that allowed for patients and caregivers to possess and consume marijuana as part of their treatment for serious conditions like cancer, HIV or aids and in the treatment of certain chronic pain. The provisions of I-692 required that valid papers documenting doctor prescriptions accompany consumers and their product at all times. I-692 also clearly identified the conditions that patients would need to have in order to qualify for marijuana recommendations or prescriptions. This legislation was, in the years following, amended again and again, each time broadening the medical conditions patients would need to qualify.
Fast forward to 2012 and the approval of Initiative 502, which legalized cannabis for adults 21 years and older for personal, recreational use. Even though, however, Initiative 502 passed with great support, it took nearly two years for lawmakers to iron out details that would lead to the opening of Washington’s first official, government regulated pot shops.
The day they did open shop, they nearly ran out of government regulated weed. Truth. You could say there was support there, alright.
But what would a good marijuana recap be without some controversy? Because Washington State is certainly not without issues to address. Concerns over licensing procedures, government tracking systems, the existing medicinal marijuana provisions and how to adequately detect drivers under the influence of weed and the safety precautions for drivers and those in certain employment sectors… Legalization is not a destination. Legalization for marijuana at the state level is the beginning of what promises to be a lengthy logistical journey for residents and lawmakers alike.
And there you have it. Weed, though it not without legislative gray areas, is totally legal for all adults 21 and over in Washington State.
As in the state where Seattle is.
As in that sweet little pier where our team will be in T-minus 18 days for CannaCon.