Smoke Em If You’ve Got Em – Colorado and Washington Legalize Marijuana

marijuana legal in washington and colorado 2012

While Barack Obama was celebrating his win over Mitt Romney last night in the Presidential election, there were other important things being voted on as well. Marriage equality laws passed in Maryland and Maine making it legal for same-sex couples to marry. Good for them. I don’t want to get into the conversation of gay marriage in this post, but this is a great thing and hopefully many more states will follow suit. There’s no reason that 2 people shouldn’t be able to share the same marriage benefits that everyone else does just because they are of the same gender. I could easily get into a rant about how people against gay marriage are just ignorant and selfish, but I’ll save that for another time, this post is dedicated to something else entirely… botany.

I am not the biggest marijuana smoker in the world, but I do dabble on occasion (once every couple months). I am a working adult with a full-time job, I have a social life (thanks to my wife), I have too many hobbies to count and I’m fairly healthy and athletic… a fully functioning member of society, albiet a bit lazy, but isn’t everyone sometimes. But guess what, I have a deep dark secret that is frowned upon by most people in the government and society, I enjoy a little bit of marijuana once in a while. Oh no! I should be thrown in jail and shunned from society… That’s what most people in this country think, but why? Why are so many people in this country against a person smoking a joint in the luxury of their own homes? How does it affect you if I come home from work one day and relax on the couch with a bit of weed? Oh, that’s right… it doesn’t affect you at all just like you going home and having a glass of wine after a long day at work doesn’t affect me at all. There are probably a hundred arguments you could make about how you think my smoking a bit of weed on my couch affects you, but my statement “smoking weed on MY COUCH” does not affect you in any way whatsoever no matter what argument you try to make to me, and is also better than smoking cigarettes and that’s why I replace them with e-cigarettes from Heets Dubai as these are healthier. The only argument you could make about that statement would be secondhand smoke if you were sitting on said couch with me, otherwise it has absolutely no affect on you, your family, your health, your opinions, nothing, so please just shut your mouth.

That being said, there are definitely other arguments that people can make regarding the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, the most popular arguments being smoking and driving and health concerns. Both of which are valid concerns, for sure, but how are they any different than the concerns with alcohol? Some people can’t even drive safely after having 1 drink…. There are plenty of diseases and ailments related to alcohol consumption not to mention addiction. I understand that marijuana has similar effects on people, I’m not saying that it doesn’t, but why is alcohol legal while marijuana is frowned upon? It doesn’t make sense. But oh, marijuana being legal will increase crime and drug addicts… really though? There are 18 states in the US that currently have medicinal marijuana laws, not a single one has reported an uptick in crime as a direct result of the laws being changed. In fact, making marijuana legal cuts out a source of income for drug dealers and cartels, thus possibly lowering crime. If drug dealers are no longer needed for people to get pot, then there will be less shady dealings on street corners, less young people being driven into the world of drug sales; it cuts out the need for a drug dealer all together. Now, I understand that drug dealers sell more than just marijuana and will always find a way to make their money and prey on the weak, but wouldn’t it be nice to cut out one of their sources of income and turn it into a taxable source of income for our states?

All that being said let’s jump into the outcomes of last nights voting. Colorado and Washington both passed bills for marijuana legalization for recreational use. Colorado has had a medical marijuana policy for years now, but this just means that it’s now legal for anyone, with or without a medical marijuana card, to imbibe in their own homes. The problem with these laws is that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, meaning that the federal government still recognizes marijuana as illegal and has the right to come in and make arrests as they see fit. This is going to cause a problem when the states want to tax the sale of marijuana in retail locations. The main selling point of the laws in these states was that the sale of marijuana would be taxed and could bring in millions of dollars each year for the state, but with the federal government looming overhead, this could become tricky.

Open your eyes people, our country is a bunch of hypocrites when it comes to marijuana. There is no reason why alcohol should be legal while weed is illegal. People tried to strip US citizens of their right to drink alcohol back in the 30’s which only lead to a surge in crime and “gangsters” who took it upon themselves to funnel hooch into the mouths of those that still wanted it. It’s the same idea. So let people enjoy a joint in their own homes after a hard day at work, it’s not hurting anyone and you’re going to have that glass of wine anyways, so what does it matter…

For a full rundown of what these laws mean for those states affected, I suggest checking out this article on Thought Catalog, but I’ve quoted some of the facts below.

 Colorado

Legalized. Obviously. Specifically–

  • You can smoke weed legally now! Inside of your house though. Use in public is illegal.
  • You don’t have to go through a dealer any more! There will be specially regulated shops that sell pot to people who are over 21. However, the amendment requires the Colorado Department of Revenue to begin regulating marijuana businesses no later than July, 2013, and must begin processing business applications by October 2013. So depending on the DOR, it might be awhile before you see these shops popping up.
  • You can have your very own grow op! Adults can grow up to six plants for personal use, but they can’t possess more than three mature plants at once, and the plants can’t be where the public can see them.
  • Driving high is illegal. Can’t drive stoned.
  • In 30 days you don’t have to worry about getting busted anymore! Parts of the law concerning “individual behavior” will go into effect within 30 days (personal possession and consumption).
Washington
Legalized. Slightly more restrictive than Colorado’s legalization. Details:
  • You can smoke weed now! And maybe in public! I don’t know, but here’s a video of people celebrating in public last night.
  • You’ll be able to buy weed from the store! There will be specially regulated shops that sell pot to people who are over 21 (controlled and sold by state liquor board) (unclear on when).
  • You an carry it around! Adults over 21 can purchase and possess up to one ounce in “usable form,” 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form or “any combination” of all three. (direct pull from Wikipedia)
  • You can grow! But only if you get a license.
  • Say farewell to your dealer! No unauthorized selling anymore.
  • No driving while high! (There were some rumors that cops can cite you with a DUI if there is any weed in your system at all, including residual THC from smoking pot up to a month ago. This is apparently not true. From a reddit user: “According to scientific research cited by The Stranger, THC levels drop below the 5 nanograms-per-milliliter cutoff within a few hours of smoking.” Here’s the user’s source material.
  • Law takes effect on December 6th. Unsure when they’ll be processing business applications for weed shops.