Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn voting yes on pot Initiative 502on August 23, 2012 @ 9:38 am (Updated: 12:31 pm - 8/23/12 )
Mayor Mike McGinn tells Ross and Burbank he's supporting Initiative 502 in November. (MyNW/Jamie Griswold)
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says it's time to legalize marijuana and he's supporting Initiative 502.
"I'm pro the initiative. I'm voting yes," McGinn tells The Ross and Burbank Show.
The mayor says there are still tons of people around the state and the country being incarcerated for crimes involved with use and possession of marijuana and many feel that penalties are too steep.
McGinn says prohibition of marijuana can also cause an increase in criminal violence. He references gang activity being supported by a black market pot trade, along with home invasions at grow sites, and drug deals gone bad, as evidence marijuana can lead to an increase in violent crime.
Possession of small amounts for personal use is already the lowest enforcement priority of the Seattle Police Department, the mayor notes. He says city authorities also comply with the state's medical marijuana law.
"So if you comply with the state law, we're not going to arrest you or deal with you on the basis of federal law."
"It's time to legalize it, it really is," says the mayor.
There's been a bit of a rift between supporters of Initiative 502 and other pro-legalization groups. One sticking point has been an amendment to the DUI law included in the measure.
"State law that currently specifies a level of blood alcohol concentration for driving under the influence would be amended to also specify a level of the active ingredient in marijuana," says the explanatory statement of the initiative.
McGinn says he doesn't think the added standard is bad, and says if that portion needs to be changed at some point, it could be addressed later.
Overall, he says that pot regulation at the city, state, and federal levels is a very confused situation.
"It's a challenge for the city," says McGinn. "It would be great to get clarity."
By JAMIE GRISWOLD, MyNorthwest.com Editor