Bill would hire more police with Wash. pot tax revenue

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A bill introduced in Olympia would use some of the state's anticipated legal marijuana taxes to hire police across Washington.

Spokane Republican Sen. Michael Baumgartner says his intent is that $25 million a year from pot excise taxes would be used to pay for 250 new law enforcement officers. The way the bill is written would actually allocate four times that amount, but Baumgartner says that's a drafting error he intends to fix.

The measure, introduced Wednesday, would amend Washington's legal marijuana law within two years of when voters approved it, and therefore requires a two-thirds majority in the Legislature.

The bill would allocate the money for new officers to cities and counties based on their population, but Baumgartner says he's open to sending the additional police only to to jurisdictions that allow licensed marijuana businesses. A few local governments, including Pierce County, intend to ban them.