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Washington State Patrol Will Continue Marijuana Confiscation Program Despite Legalization

Despite I-502 growing pot in Washington still illegal
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Marijuana may now be legal in small amounts on adults in Washington state, but the State Patrol says it will keep seizing and destroying illegal amounts of the drug and plants.

Despite intense and widespread coverage of Initiative 502 legalizing possession of marijuana,  the State Patrol says there’s still much confusion as to what is legal and what is NOT.

Lt. Ron Mead of the narcotics division says the Marijuana Eradication Program will continue aggressively. Over the last 10 years, the WSP has seized millions of illegal plants — 200,000 last year. Mead says small amounts (one ounce or less) are legal for people to possess, but growing pot is still illegal in our state.

Unless you’re legally part of the medical marijuana program, it’s against the law to cultivate even one plant. The Washington State Liquor Control Board has until December to present a system for overseeing the growth, harvesting, and sale of pot. Until then, it is still illegal to obtain the drug.

The WSP says many people have mistakenly believed I-502 allows them to grow their own as long as they did not exceed possession of an ounce. State Representative Roger Goodman, who was a supporter of I-502, said he doesn’t support the Marijuana Eradication Program.

“Politically, I don’t see any reason to spend money on the program,” he said.

Washington state receives about $1.5 million from the federal government to fund the effort, the rest of the cost comes from taxpayers.

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