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If Washington voters approve a ballot measure this fall legalizing marijuana, it would bring big changes – not just in the justice system, but in our communities.We can expect hundreds of official marijuana stores and fewer drug arrests. What about advertising? Night-life? Driving?KNKX is exploring how legalization might impact daily life – even if you never touch the drug.In our series If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life, we consider how things could change for all of us.

4/20 a special day for pot fans

Fans of recreational marijuana are expected to light up in record numbers Saturday. That’s because the date—April 20 or 4/20—is also slang for the time of day when many pot-users like to get high.

The 20th has become a traditional counter-cultural holiday, with parties to celebrate the movement to legalize marijuana. Vivian McPeak, director of Seattle’s Hempfest, says there will be several 4/20 parties this year, at private locations all over the city.

“I think it’s a much bigger deal. Because, previously the 4/20 celebration kind of represented the struggle and the culture. And now it represents victory and an advancement forward for a global movement that really wasn’t taken seriously,” McPeak said.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. But last November, Washington voters approved Initiative 502, making adult possession of up to an ounce of pot legal under state law.

Meanwhile, a new initiative has been filed in Olympia with the aim of undermining federal enforcement.

The measure would make it a misdemeanor for state authorities to help federal agencies crack down on marijuana use or distribution as long as it is legal under state law.

If the initiative gathers enough signatures, it will be considered by the state Legislature next January.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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