The Washington State Patrol announced Monday that they expect to continue their state-wide Marijuana Eradication Program, despite the November passage of I-502, which legalized the adult use of marijuana in Washington state.
Since the program began a decade ago, the Washington State Patrol has confiscated hundreds of thousands of cannabis plants and arrested dozens of illegal growers. Last year, an estimated 200,000 marijuana plants were confiscated or destroyed by law enforcement officers.
A spokesperson from the Washington State Patrol said that the program will continue despite I-502, because the voter approved law, which took effect on December 6, only legalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana, not the cultivation of the cannabis plant.
“Our eradication efforts have been aggressive in recent years,” said Lt. Ron Mead of the Washington State Patrol Narcotics Division, “And will continue to be aggressive in coming years.”
Washington law enforcement receives about $1.5 million in federal aid to fund the eradication program. Any additional charges are funded by state tax payers.
State Representative Roger Goodman said Monday that even though cultivating marijuana remains illegal, “politically, I don’t see a reason to spend money on (the program).”
Rep. Goodman, who sits on the state’s public safety committee, was a supporter of I-502.