Legalizing marijuana on the November ballot - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Legalizing marijuana on the November ballot

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A controversial initiative to legalize marijuana in the state of Washington will be on the November ballot.

Friday, two members of law enforcement shared their professional opinions on what impacts legalizing marijuana will have on the people and our communities.

I-502 would legalize marijuana in Washington by creating a system of state-licensed growers, processors and stores, and impose a 25% excise tax at each stage of the process. Those ages 21 and over could buy up to an ounce of dried marijuana; a pound of marijuana-infused product in solid form, such as brownies; or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids.

Capt. Clay Vannoy has worked for the Benton County Sheriff's Office for 20 years and is currently assigned as the Law Enforcement Bureau Captain. He previously served for 15 years in various positions on the Benton County Regional SWAT Team and is currently an Incident Commander for the Team.

Vannoy told the Badger Club at the Kennewick Red Lion there are some flaws with passing the initiative.

Vannoy says enforcement will be difficult and create extra costs, like training for pulled over drivers suspected of being intoxicated. He also doesn't think the revenue will be what's expected but lower. Vannoy brought says he doesn't think this will get rid of all the illegal drug dealers on the streets because it will be more expensive to buy it legally.

"I don't think it's a good idea in our community. and it still violates federal law," he said.

James Peet, PhD, is the principal manager of Peet and Associates, a professional Private Investigative Agency specializing in the prevention and investigation of fraud and white collar crimes in the transportation industry. served as a police officer for the city of Alexandria, VA for 3 years. Peet thinks decriminalizing those who smoke pot will keep unnecessary people out of our jails. "It opens up many resources that are currently being used for incarceration, the judicial system and law enforcement," says Peet.

Peet says crime drastically dropped when prohibition ended in the 20's and legalizing marijuana can have similar effects. He also says there is no scientific proof that marijuana is addictive nor that it is a gateway drug.

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