Washington: King County Sheriff Says Canada Should Use State's Legalization Lessons
By Steve Elliott
If Canadian Prime Minister designate Justin Trudeau intends to follow through on his promise to legalize marijuana, he might want to start by learning from Washington state, where recreational marijuana stores have been operating for more than a year, according to the sheriff of Washington's most populous county.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart said the biggest lesson learned in Washington is that once marijuana becomes legal, cities shouldn't have the power to use zoning bylaws to completely ban pot stores, reports CBC News.
"There are several cities in the state and in King County that have outlawed marijuana stores, and that's a big problem as far as I'm concerned," Urquhart said. "One of the premises of legalized marijuana is to get the gray market and criminals out of it.
"If someone has to drive 30 miles to buy their joint, they're not likely to do that," Urquhart said. "They're going to buy it from their old dealer who's not licensed, who's not paying taxes."
Urquart, a former narcotic investigator, says he supports legalization because "the war on drugs just wasn't working." And, so far, he said, none of the negative scenarios of increased crime and addiction have come true.
"Marijuana use among teenagers is actually down slightly in Washington state since legalization," the sheriff said. "The underground economy, organized crime has not taken over the retail or manufacture or sales at all. None of the bad things that were predicted by the opposition have happened."
Photo of Sheriff John Urquhart: Stuff Stoners Like