Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Duvall)
  • Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Duvall)
It's being made right now in a hearing room in Olympia as advocates testify on behalf of House Bill 1550, which would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in Washington State.

I brought this idea up in my Five Beautiful Ways to Balance the State Budget, and advocates of legalization keep noting at this hearing that taxing and regulating pot could bring in $400 million over the next biennium for our desperately broke state government.

The question that's always asked about this idea—How can a state legalize pot when the feds have declared it illegal?—was articulated this morning by Rep. Christopher Hurst (D-Enumclaw), who warned that if Washington starts selling cannabis through the state liquor store system, as the bill proposes, "Our state employees will be going to federal prison and the federal government will seize every penny we bring in."

Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Magnolia) admitted there would be trouble with the feds, but explained:

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Some states have to take the lead... Yes, this will good to court, and it will be on hold for a while. But some state has to take the lead. And because we take the lead we will reap the benefits... I say that cannabis will be legalized. I predict that it will be legalized over a few years. And we should be taking the lead and we should be reaping the benefits in terms of revenue.

Tune in here for more, including Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Duvall) on why this idea wouldn't be bad for the children and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes on why ending prohibition "is perhaps the most pro-law-enforcement measure this legislature can take."