The 'green' mayor? McGinn wants to legalize pot and tax it, too

SEATTLE -- He hasn't even taken office yet, but the words of Mayor-Elect Mike McGinn have already perked some citizens' ears.

McGinn believes pot should not only be legal, but also taxed.

"We recognize that, you know, like alcohol, it's something that should be regulated, not treated as a criminal activity. And I think that's where the citizens of Seattle want us to go," said McGinn on a public radio show on Friday.

McGinn asked for the public's help identifying the issues he should tackle as mayor. Topping the list was light rail expansion. The second slot went to legalizing pot.

Now McGinn, as well as state leaders, are talking about it.

McGinn says the drug should be legalized and also taxed to offset some of the city's financial problems.

"I think if every elected official who ever smoked marijuana voted to legalize it, it'd probably be legalized in an instant," he said.

And the state could be one step closer to legalizing marijuana. State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, is sponsoring a bill that would do just that.

"Prohibition didn't work for alcohol, and it's not working for marijuana," she said.

Dickerson says the state's ineffective policies on marijuana are costing taxpayers money. She recognizes there will be opponents to her idea. But she thinks many people, including the mayor, are ready for change.

"I say, 'Good for him.' He's using common sense and we need more common sense when it comes to marijuana laws," she said.

McGinn declined KOMO News' request for an interview.

Under the state bill, marijuana would be sold in state liquor stores, and the drug tax would be used for drug and alcohol abuse prevention.

The legislative session starts on Jan. 11.

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