Marijuana Legalization Fails in Wash. Legislature

A bill that would have legalized marijuana possession for adults ages 21 and over has been rejected by a House committee in the Washington state legislature, the Associated Press reported Jan. 20.

The House Public Safety Committee voted 6-2 against the bill, as well as another measure that would have decriminalized adult marijuana possession. The legalization bill would have imposed a 15-percent tax on marijuana sales; the money would have been used to pay for addiction treatment and prevention.

The decriminalization bill failed 5-3; it would have downgraded marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to a civil offense with a maximum penalty of a $100 fine.

The chairman of the committee said that he voted against the measure because legalization would conflict with federal law.

Washington legalization activists are moving ahead with a plan to put a ballot initiative before voters in November.

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