The Washington legislature refused to act on a voter-backed initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state, leaving the decision up to the voters in November.
If passed, the law would be the first in the nation to OK the recreational use of the drug. Similar voter initiatives in other states, such as California and Oregon, are taking place but none have been able to secure the number of signatures to bring the issue to the ballot.
Support for relaxing the use of marijuana comes from unlikely corners, including former law enforcement officials. The Seattle Times reports Charles Mandigo, the former head of Seattle's FBI field office, testified, "It is the money, not the drugs, that drive these criminal organizations and street gangs. Take away the money and you take away the criminal element."
If passed, the law would allow Washington residents 21 and over the right to purchase dried marijuana, marijuana in edibles and marijuana-infused drinks. The state would impose a 25 percent tax on processors, growers and stores.