SPOKANE -- U.S. Senate candidate Michael Baumgartner announced his endorsement for Initiative 502 Wednesday.
The measure would tax and legalize retail sales of pot for adults 21 and over in Washington State.
Baumgartner, a state senator from Spokane is challenging Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell. He once worked for the State Department in Afghanistan, and served as an advisor to the Afghan Counternarcotics Team.
“I think I-502 is a responsible step towards bringing the illicit drug economy out of the shadows and into the open,” said Sen. Baumgartner in a statement Wednesday.
Baumgartner said regulating pot sales would generate $1.9 billion in tax revenue over the next five years, and free up law enforcement to focus on other crimes. Baumgartner said Washington should be a national leader in reforming failed policies for marijuana.
Other I-502 supporters include former Seattle FBI head Charles Mandigo, two former U.S. attorneys, and the Children's Alliance.
Washingtonians will be voting for I-502 on the November 6 general election ballot.