This year will be remembered as ground-breaking, in the history of America’s “War on Drugs”.
On January 1, Colorado, became the first state in the union to legalize the selling of Marijuana for Recreational Purposes.
It is creating a huge hullabaloo. For the past three days, customers have been lining up around the block, to procure regulated quantities of their (now) legal vice of choice. Colorado has only authorized a handful of retailers, who previously operated Medical Marijuana Clubs to be the dispensers of Marijuana. To even work in one of these stores (or to start your own business at some point in the future), you must be a resident of Colorado for at least two years.
Colorado residents are allowed to buy an Ounce a Day. Visitors to the state can purchase a Quarter Ounce per day.
An Ounce a Day? WTF? That is SO MUCH POT!! That is “small dealer” levels, IMHO. Who can smoke that much weed in a day? Nobody!
And also, there’s no cross-referencing of the purchasers data. So an out-of-stater can just go from club to club (or rather, store to store, now), and purchase ¼ Ounce at each store! And a local can do the same, but in Ounce quantities.
Also, every citizen is legally allowed to grow 6 plants…and there are no specific laws in place to regulate any of that! So, in a way, it’s a pot-lover’s bonanza of a free-for-all right now in Colorado!
But, it’s a start. The entire nation is focused on this new situation, and monitoring it closely. We will all be watching to see how this experiment progresses.
There have already been many major changes that have occurred in the state. For one, the state has hired a Marijuana Czar to oversee all things pot-related, and the Denver Times has hired a full-time “Marijuana” editor, whose sole job is to produce stories about the Marijuana culture.
But, the biggest news is what this does for the disparity among inmates in Colorado prisons.
It is a well-known fact that Marijuana Usage is about equal between Whites and Blacks in our country, however Whites get arrested and incarcerated at about 1/3 or ¼ the rate. The prison population is dominated by minorities, many of whom are there for nothing more than possession of a tiny amount of marijuana.
Current statistics show that about 750,000 marijuana arrests are made each year in our country, more than for any other “crime”.
With Colorado’s new decriminalizing laws, there will be less public monies spent on arresting , trying, convicting and incarcerating non-violent Marijuana users, and that money will be freed up, to be used in other areas of the state’s budget, for the good of the public sector. It will also decrease the racial disparity among prisoners, and reduce the number of poor, black and brown people serving time for inconsequential, minor weed offenses.
Another thing to consider is that when someone is arrested for Marijuana, because it is currently classified as a “Schedule 1” drug offense (the most dangerous class of drugs), that person, no matter how small a quantity they possessed, is now classified as a “felon” for the rest of their life.
When they get out of jail, they will not be allowed to vote. They will have to declare their status on every job application, loan application, bank account application, rental agreement, etc. for the rest of their lives…all because they were caught with a little weed.
The “War on Drugs” is actually a war on the poor, to provide fodder for the coffers of the rich, who own , manage and/or supply all the prisons in our nation.
Prison construction, and supply is a huge (and growing) industry in this country. Those corporations who build and supply prisons are making a fortune, selling their over-priced services and goods (from uniforms to foodstuffs) to the numerous prisons that dot our fair land.
And more and more prisons are becoming privately owned, and these new owners will stop at nothing to increase their numbers of new inmates. They will bribe judges and other officials, they will line the pockets of congress people, both state and national, and they will hesitate at nothing to bilk more money from the public sector to pay for the incarceration and housing of that class of “dangerous criminals”, known as marijuana users.
For these reasons, this new law will totally affect both the prison population in Colorado, and the money that the state will no longer need to house these non-violent offenders.
Colorado is also slated to receive a windfall of funds in other ways, besides the extra funds that will be generated by eliminating the cost of arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating potheads.
In just the first three days, the state has already gained huge revenues from the hefty taxes that they have imposed on these new marijuana sales.
And let’s not forget the Tourism! I mean, seriously, what pot-smoker wouldn’t now consider Colorado as an exciting tourist destination? I know I’m certainly thinking about it!
Another thing to consider is this. This new law will free up perfectly good citizens to live a life without fear of acquiring a criminal record! Just think, what might have happened to the lives of any of our last three Presidents, if when they had smoked pot (as they all have admitted to) they had been busted? What a waste it would have been if Bill Clinton or Barack Obama had been thwarted from pursuing a career in Politics, because they had been busted for possession of a wee bit of the happy weed? No comment on George W Bush (we might have been better off if HE had been busted, ha ha)! But that would never have happened. Bush’ family was rich, and they would have had no problem getting him off, without so much as a criminal record. But you get the point I’m making. Pefectly talented people, who are not wealthy enough to fight such a case, have had their entire lives ruined by our country’s archaic laws concerning marijuana possession.
So, now, what does the opposition hold up as an argument against this being a good model for other states to embrace?
Some people will claim that marijuana will make you stupid, or in a daze. Well, it turns out that there are DIFFERENT STRAINS of marijuana, that do different things. I personally prefer the stony, creative, mental high to the knocked out stupor, myself, but for many people who use marijuana to relieve pain, they WANT to be knocked out….they just shouldn’t drive while under the influence! But that’s a no-brainer. Most users know their capacities, and the few number of deaths EVER being attributed to marijuana usage prove that.
If you have only tried pot once, or have only ever smoked one type of pot, you might not realize that it is kind of like different types of wine. I have had unbelievable “realizations” while under the influence of the heady variety of weedy, as have numerous other artists, musicians, authors, actors, and free-thinkers in just about ever field of life. So don’t assume that all marijuana is the same, and that all types of weed produce the exact same results. Different strains do different things…enough said.
And the other argument you hear againt Marijuana is that it is highly dangerous m because it is a “Gateway Drug”.
n my opinion that argument only further HIGHLIGHTS the reason to make it legal!
Marijuana has only ever been a “Gateway Drug” because it has been sold on the Black Market for all these years. Often, dealers in one substance will offer other choices…i.e. they will stock harder drugs as well as Marijuana. I, personally, in close to 50 years of smoking pot, have never encountered pot dealers selling anything but pot, but I have lived in hip, rural areas of the country, mostly, where hard drugs were not popular. But, I suppose, in other places, one can purchase a smorgasbord of choices from your local dealer, and that fact, and ONLY that fact, is what gives any credence to the idea that Marijuana is a “gateway drug”…
Therefore, I conclude, that if we take Marijuana out of the Black Market, and make it available in stores that specialize in only selling Marijuana, it will no longer make sense to classify it as a “Gateway Drug”, because it will not lead to anything other than the smoking of more pot.
End of story.
I can’t think of ANYTHING that would redistribute wealth more than Legalizing Marijuana!
I mean, seriously, do you KNOW how many people would THRIVE with the legalization? People who are growers, people who own or work in cannabis clubs, people who own gardening companies, or auto showrooms, or gift shops, or (soon to be on every corner) cannabis cafés, and all kinds of industries that haven’t even been CONCEIVED OF yet! I mean, it is already a booming industry here in California, where we only have Medical Marijuana!
Just picture it! If Marijuana becomes fully legal (not just Medical) in COLORADO (which looks very likely), do you realize how many people will RELOCATE there? The Tourism industry will probably triple, at LEAST! People would travel from all over the world to check it out! I mean, I know I WILL!! Amsterdam in the USA, YES!!
And then think of all the lawyers, bail bondsmen, cops, judges, uniform companies, prison food and drug supply companies, prison gear companies, multi-million dollar contractors who build all these new prisons (they think they need)…not to mention all the big corporations that now use Prison Labor (at pennies per hour) for their Customer Service Call Centers!
Yup! I see a definite redistribution of wealth possible here…and I gotta say — I’m LIKING it!
"I think you should always ask the question of if you can solve a problem with ‘more freedom’, instead of less.
I believe, because I’m a nut, that if you don’t have the right to put whatever you want in your body, you’re not living in a free society. I would like to see everything legal. I mean, I don’t like to do ‘pragmatic’, as opposed to ‘moral arguments’, but we are unable to keep drugs out of prison. That means that the level of draconian police state that happens in prisons right now, still won’t work to stop drugs. So that means that all we’re doing is giving a huge amount of money to bad people.
…I would be in favor of at least trying legalizing all drugs, because I think freedom means the freedom to be stupid. No one needs freedom to do the right thing. No one needs freedom to do the smart thing. We need freedom to screw up our lives, and do stupid things, and I think everybody deserves that right.”
~ Penn Gillette, on Current TV’s “The Young Turks”