In November 2012, voters in Washington and Colorado approved the first two laws in the U.S. to end marijuana prohibition and legally regulate marijuana production, distribution and sales. In December 2012, marijuana possession and use by adults 21 years of age and older became legal in Washington. A year-and-a-half later, the first retail marijuana stores opened their doors on July 8, 2014.
Since Washington’s passage of I-502, retail marijuana sales have generated over $80 million in tax revenues and the state has saved millions of dollars by no longer arresting and prosecuting low-level marijuana offenses. Meanwhile, violent crime rates have declined, thousands of people have been spared the harmful consequences of a marijuana arrest, statewide rates of youth use and traffic fatalities have remained stable, and state voters continue to support marijuana legalization.