The votes are in

In Blog // on November 7th, 2012 // by // No comment

Lots of excited shop talk today at Westcoast Medicann Society!

Colorado has passed an amendment to the constitution adopting a progressive and groundbreaking stance against marijuana prohibition in the state.

Amendment 64 essentially allows persons over the age of 21 to legally obtain from state-licensed growers, processors and retail stores, and carry and use up to one ounce of marijuana without a doctor’s prescription.  Individuals can also grow up to six mature marijuana plants privately in a locked space, and give as a gift to other citizens 21 years of age or older.

The idea is to regulate marijuana like alcohol, including adding taxes to the growing, and purchase, of cannabis, which could help bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year.  The legalization will also reduce small-time, pot-related arrests and, “give supporters a chance to show whether decriminalization is a viable strategy in the war on drugs.”  

Not to mention, perhaps a sudden surge in Colorado tourism?

The ruling is a huge step towards the legalization of marijuana in America – and it will have an impact on Canadian laws.  But it will take time.

A brand new initiative comes with lots of regulations that need installation and time to exercise, including several testing procedures for the cannabis itself.

Allowing marijuana to be purchased for the enjoyment of non-medicinal reasons validates cannabis’ presence in society.  Amendment 64 admits the use of cannabis is here to stay – and it’s not bad.

There are, of course, arguments against the legalization of marijuana that mainly open with worry of youth use.  Increasing the accessibility of marijuana, they say, will create an addicted new generation, and more abuse of the ‘drug’.

On the future of our youth, I have an opinion.  It is not just teenagers who like to push the boundaries.  When something is withheld or deemed inappropriate, even dangerous, the urge to experiment, use and abuse, for whatever human reason, becomes stronger.  With education, discussion and safe practices, these ‘temptations’ lose much of their ‘naughty’ appeal, and instead, gain respect.

Mason Tvert, co-director of the Campaign To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said:

“…voters are more informed about marijuana than ever before. They have also experienced the emergence of a state-regulated medical marijuana system that has not produced any serious problems, but has provided a number of benefits. We now know that marijuana cultivation and sales can be regulated, and that medical marijuana businesses do not contribute to increased crime. We have also seen marijuana use among high school students decrease since the state began implementing regulations, whereas it has increased nationwide where there are no regulations. And, of course, localities and the state have seen how much revenue can be generated through the legal sale of marijuana that would have otherwise gone into the underground market. Voters in Colorado no longer need to imagine what a legal and regulated system of marijuana sales would look like; they have seen it.”

Others have concern that the regulations may harm those who need marijuana for genuine medical needs.

In Canada, (and in Vancouver particularly), patients in need of medicinal marijuana have had the benefits of obtaining their product from medicinal dispensaries that offer quality medicine with reasonable price tags.  How will a regulated system for growers and dispensaries effect the cost to the patient?  With the legalization of marijuana to anyone over the age of 21 jack up prices for those who need it as a healthy alternative to the strongest of narcotics?  Will there be discrepancies between pricing for patients and recreational users? Or, because of greater access, and more legal participants, will pricing go down?

There is also the conundrum of the state of Colorado passing legalization, but the federal government maintaining their ground in prohibition land.

President Obama’s former senior drug policy advisor said that if the marijuana initiatives pass, a war will be incited between the federal government and the states that pass them. “”Once these states actually try to implement these laws, we will see an effort by the feds to shut it down.””

Although this is a valid quandry, supporters of the movement believe that the United States Federal Government will stay quiet and cooperative when push comes to shove.

This is a sign of good faith I believe that more education and practice of policies will happily see through.

References: 

http://www.king5.com/news/politics/Washington-voters-approve-marijuana-177586181.html

http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2012/11/john_suthers_marijuana_critic_defend_amendment_64.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_Amendment_64_(2012)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/amendment-64-passes-in-co_n_2079899.html

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