How the Road to Legal Weed Came to Be in Washington

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July 9 (Bloomberg) -- John Davis, CEO of Northwest Patient Resource Center, discusses the legalization of marijuana in Washington with Pimm Fox on "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

Thank you for being here.

Let's start off with your reaction to this change in the law and the implementation of the new law and ruling in washington state.

Certainly, it's an historic moment in washington state and in the nation to begin to move away from the said -- the policy of prohibition.

It is going to be a little bit messy to start, but you've got to understand, we've come down and long, rocky path, which has been prohibition, which has been really unsuccessful at prohibiting anything.

We are going to have to basically dig our way out.

It is not going to be instantly something that works incredibly well.

The mere fact that washington state and colorado are moving away from this failed policy is going to be able to show people that they are going to do so without increased youth use, without increased youth availability to other drugs, without increased overall use.

Those types of statistics are going to inform the rest of the nation as to, the sky didn't fall.

As part of your experience and ongoing research in this field, what are the various points of view of law -- of law enforcement agencies, whether they be local or at the county?

I think law enforcement more and more is coming to terms that it is a war, and they are spending their resources inappropriately when they need to be spending their resources on things like property crime.

We have come a long way away from the fourth amendment.

You have given away a lot of our individual liberties in the name of this drug war, which we are not winning.

Thinking for example about the brooklyn das office in new york city, basically coming out and saying, unless it's some kind of demarcation line in terms of the amount and where and so on, they are not going to necessarily prosecute, although obviously police still have the duty to enforce the law.

It becomes an economic point.

In seattle, when pete holmes, the city attorney, was elected and decided not to prosecute those low-level drug offenses, no possession for cannabis, we didn't have to build a new jail that was already being planned.

We in the united states are the largest jailer state per capita in the history of history.

No other civilization has managed to lock up individuals at the rate that we have.

This is connected to the war on drugs?

Absolutely.

Economically, it is not viable.

The thing is, even if we wanted to continue spending money on it, it doesn't work to prohibit anything.

The purity goes up.

The prices go down.

This is something that we are going to have to have serious talks about.

In the case of cannabis, it is such a simple equation.

Cannabis cannot kill you from overdose.

Cannabis, compared to the recreational substances that we in the united states allow, it is a much safer substance.

It certainly does not deserve people spending long amounts of time in jail or any time in jail.

Having said that, who was going to make the money?

Who is going to make the money?

A new industry -- somebody is going to end up with -- the cigarette business, they have been buying up e-cigarettes.

Are you going to see big corporations?

Eventually, but right now, it is still federally illegal.

They barely have a banking system.

They barely have a banking system.

These large corporations, i think they are looking at it, but they are not seeing it as viable.

It is really taking the entrepreneurs who are willing to take that risk and to come in and be savvy about it.

If you want to play in the cannabis industry would collect you need to make sure everybody is doing the right thing.

There are a lot of people participating.

There will be some rotten apples.

Absolutely, but we reach out and work together with other individuals as well as we can.

We realize what has been handed to us.

If we screw this up, it is going to put drug policy reform, canada's policy reform back 40 years.

You are even busier now than you have ever been?

Absolutely.

I have worked on this particular issue for more than two decades.

People can find you at the northwest patient resource.

Nprc.net.

Thank you very much, john davis.

Thank you for "taking stock."

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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