Bill Gates wants to see Washington state experiment with legal pot. According to BuzzFeed, Gates voted in favor of his state's 2012 referendum to legalize marijuana, feeling that some states should assess the policy before a similar plan is implemented at a federal level. "It’s an experiment, and it’s probably good to have a couple states try it out to see before you make that national policy," Gates tells BuzzFeed. Though Gates didn't actually think that the 2012 referendum would pass, he's interested to see what happens now that its full effects are approaching.
"It's probably good to have a couple states try it out."
Always the philanthropist, Gates is mainly curious as to whether it'll have a detrimental or a positive effect on the community and how well Washington will be able to enforce usage restrictions. Gates poses to BuzzFeed, "Can they keep it out of minors’ hands? Will it reduce alcohol consumption? Are there some people who use it at levels you might think of as inappropriate? Will drug gangs make less money?" He suspects that latter point will come to pass, cutting down on drug traffickers' profits and damping some nasty effects of the illegal drug trade.
Gates won't say whether he's smoked pot himself, though BuzzFeed reports that he's believed to have tried both marijuana and LSD in the past. Gates certainly isn't the only one watching to see how Washington's experiment turns out — especially as more and more of the nation moves toward legalizing marijuana — but the interest of such a prominent philanthropist could help to turn the policy's doubters into curious onlookers too.