Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jun 2014
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2014 The Daily Herald Co.
Author: Jamie Curtismith
Note: Jamie Curtismith lives in Everett.


Opponents of pot are still trying to wage social, ethical and moral 
arguments against the majority of citizens who voted in favor of the 
legalization of marijuana (Initiative 502). Legitimate concerns are 
lost in the perpetuation of misinformation and emotional 
irrationality, but what everyone seems to agree on is that marijuana 
does indeed grow money. So why aren't we talking about this 
inevitable, legal, emerging economic impact to our region and how it 
may help us grow out of the looming fiscal calamities that our 
communities are facing?

As many cities in our state rush to resurrect failed limit, prohibit, 
and ban policies to keep marijuana out of their communities, they 
fail to acknowledge the simple fact that marijuana is already here 
and has been flourishing for generations. Illegal and quasi-legal 
cannabis operations rake in enormous tax-free profits with little 
regulation, oversight or enforcement. Implementing I-502 may be our 
only chance to stop nurturing and sustaining organized crime, shut 
down dangerous amateur-extraction labs, eliminate hazardous 
home-baking enthusiasts, and put a stop to residential grow operations.

I-502 gives the state and local jurisdictions the power to regulate 
and tax authorized businesses who grow, process or sell marijuana. 
Although marijuana is still a federally illegal substance, the 
federal government has indicated they will not interfere with the 
efforts of states to legalize recreational marijuana if their highly 
regulated system works toward the elimination of the black market, 
avoids undue social harm (i.e. gets it out of the hands of children 
because they already have easy access to it), and prevents an exodus 
of cannabis products from crossing state lines. This is what everyone 
working in the legitimate medical cannabis community and the 
recreational marijuana industry is trying to accomplish. It's not a 
matter of if cannabis will be federally legal, it's now a matter of when.

We have a small window of opportunity to assist the I-502 visionaries 
who are launching well-capitalized businesses with professional 
management teams, to support existing ancillary businesses who are 
trying to enter the market, and to encourage cannabis innovators to 
come out of the closet with their new horticultural techniques, 
inventions and modified technologies they are currently using in the 
production and processing of marijuana. Tourism, commercial real 
estate, agricultural supply stores, equipment manufacturers and many 
other stagnant and declining business sectors will experience new 
streams of revenue from canna-businesses. With this new tax revenue, 
we can finally fund social services, education, environmental 
protection and all the other issues we proclaim to care so much about.

Labeled the Green Rush and pot-com, the legalization of marijuana is 
one of the biggest business opportunities in our region since the 
dot-com boom. It does not mean we are supporting a bunch of 
pot-smoking dudes enjoying good bud in public who are saturating our 
children with marijuana. Supporting I-502 means we are supporting 
legitimate entrepreneurs and innovators who are trying to take money 
away from drug cartels and unscrupulous dealers and putting it into 
our community coffers to create the kind of environment we all long 
to live in. Who would "just say no" to that?

Editor's note: The Everett City Council is scheduled to debate the 
extension of a cannabis ordinance tonight at 6:30.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom