Legislators weigh legalizing marijuana v. decriminalizing it - Spokesman.com - Jan. 13, 2010 While the Legislature wrestles with a huge budget shortfall that forces hearings on everything from closing state institutions to raising college tuition, the most heavily attended hearing Wednesday involved a non-budget item. Marijuana. Should the state legalize it, or turn it into a civil infraction? Or just wait a few months to see if voters pass an initiative to legalize it? Although, technically, its not quite true this has nothing to do with the budget because House Bill 2401 would legalize marijuana, regulate its growth and sale and generate as much as $300 million a biennium in revenue in taxes and fees, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, the bills sponsor said. Dickerson, D-Seattle, is a co-sponsor of HB 1177, which would turn possession of small amounts of marijuana into an infraction similar to a speeding ticket. That bills prime sponsor Rep. Dave Upthegrove, D-Des Moines, is a co-sponsor of the legalization proposal. Both got support from the Washington State Bar Association as well as the King County bar and medical associations. Both got thumbs down from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and other law enforcement officials.