I-502 logo in Washington

Initiative 502, which would legalize marijuana in Washington State, has recently been endorsed by the Sheriff of King Country. From the Seattle Times:

[King County Sheriff Steve] Strachan, who is running for election, said Monday he would vote for I-502, which would “bring clarity” to the conflicting state and federal laws regarding marijuana. “I think the current situation is bad for the rule of law, bad for the criminal justice system and and it sends a bad message to our kids.”

Strachan said he used to be a school resource officer, and knows that marijuana is easier for kids to get than alcohol. [...]

Strachan’s opponent, longtime Sheriff’s spokesman John Urquhart, previously endorsed I-502.

Steve Strachan is one of the most important law enforcement officials in the entire state. King County is Washington’s most populous county and is home to roughly 30 percent of the state’s residents.

The initiative currently holds a decent lead in the polling. The campaign doesn’t really need to expand support, it simply needs to make sure those currently leaning towards supporting the I-502 feel comfortable about actually casting a yes vote for it. Endorsements like this should help do that.

It reinforces the message that marijuana legalization isn’t just about personal freedom, it is about not wasting limited criminal justice resources on a failed policy. Having a prominent law enforcement official say that marijuana legalization is the right policy and that it shouldn’t be a real problem for law enforcement to deal with could be reassuring to some voters.