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Originally published Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM

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Initiative to legalize marijuana will go to voters

Washington state lawmakers say an initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana will be decided by voters.

Associated Press

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OLYMPIA, Wash. —

Washington state lawmakers say an initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana will be decided by voters.

Rep. Sam Hunt, who chairs the House committee considering Initiative 502, said Thursday that the Legislature would not act on it, meaning it would appear on the November ballot.

Speaking at a joint House and Senate work session, backers of the measure said it would allow the state to regulate marijuana use, raise money by taxing producers and consumers and would squeeze the powerful drug cartels controlling the black market.

Opponents said legalization would likely increase marijuana use by teenagers.

Proponents included John McKay, a former U.S. Attorney for Seattle and Charles Mandigo, the former head of the Seattle FBI office.

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