As has been well reported, one of the ways I-502 won mainstream support was by including tough language on pot DUIs and where state-licensed pot stores could be located. Specific to the latter, I-502 states that pot stores can't be within 1,000-feet of schools, day cares, parks, libraries, bus stations, and community centers. When you do the math - and consult the maps - the provision may mean forthcoming pot stores will be relegated to the middle of nowhere.
While plenty of pot proponents have already questioned the wisdom of this provision, Rep. Chris Hurst (D-Enumclaw) has now added his two cents to the discussion, telling Jordan Schrader of The News Tribune in Tacoma that the restrictions may do more harm than good.
"You can't have a legitimate market unless you can put the illegitimate market out of business," Hurst tells the Trib. "If you have major gaps in availability, who is going to fill that? Well, it's going to be immediately filled by criminal enterprises. ... If you've got to drive 75 miles to find it, that isn't going to work."
As the Schrader points out, Hurst's comments, and apparent willingness to pursue changes to I-502's language, are significant - and not just because the lawmaker chairs the Government Accountability & Oversight committee, which is tasked with overseeing the regulation of legal weed in Washington.
According to the Trib:
Hurst's remarks are significant partly because he is likely the most conservative Democrat in the House, not to mention a former police officer. And if lawmakers are going to make changes to I-502, they will need to be broadly bipartisan to garner two-thirds of votes required to change an initiative. Hurst said he would only pursue changes that have near-unanimous support.
Only time will tell whether that near-unanimous support materializes.