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Former Seattle U.S. attorney pushes pot legalization

SEATTLE (AP) -- A man who once served as the Justice Department's top official in Western Washington is sponsoring an initiative to legalize marijuana in the state.

John McKay, the former U.S. attorney in Seattle, tells The Associated Press that laws criminalizing marijuana are wrongheaded because they create an enormous black market exploited by international cartels and crime rings.

McKay says he's joining a push that would regulate the recreational use of marijuana in a way similar to how the state regulates alcohol.

No state has legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in such a way, though some have decriminalized it, and the initiative would put Washington squarely at odds with federal law banning the drug.

Activists would have until the end of this year to gather more than 240,000 signatures advance the initiative.