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Reefer Madness
Colorado Thinks Twice on Pot?

Colorado residents are having second thoughts about the way their state legalized marijuana. In a recent interview with the FT, the state’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, advised other states considering legalization for tax revenue purposes to “go slow” and think carefully about their motivations. The state is now predicted to take in $20 million less than expected in tax revenue from marijuana sales. Hickenlooper opposed legalization from the start, but a poll last month also showed that 50 percent of respondents now believe that legalization was a bad idea. (The original amendment to legalize passed by 55-44 percent of the vote). 49 percent of respondents believe the state has implemented the law poorly. This week the Washington Post ran a column contextualizing this shift in public opinion: 

Edibles are the big issue. Coloradans have been astonished at the array of delicious THC delivery systems: candy, sodas, even, at LoDo, spiced peanuts soaked in marijuana oil. Edibles account for 45 percent of the legal marijuana market, according to the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. Given that Colorado adopted legalization on an adults-only basis, this doesn’t sit well with a lot of parents.

The actual health risks, as opposed to the risk of underage usage, are unclear. Still, bad reactions to THC-laced treats have landed several children and adults in the emergency room and possibly led to two deaths. Consequently, the state tightened rules on labeling and dosage

Legalization continues to be a necessary end to a failed drug war, but that end will be extremely messy and introduce plenty of new problems. These early snags are only a small part of the challenges legalization will pose as more states follow Colorado’s lead.

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  • Bruce

    “Legalization continues to be a necessary end to a failed drug war, but that end will be extremely messy and introduce plenty of new problems.”
    Well said. Americans always looks for nice, neat, clean, easy answers. They rarely exist and won’t in this situation either. There are no good solutions – only less bad ones and legalization is less bad.

    • Arkeygeezer

      My state seems to be doing fine without legal marijuana or cannabis or whatever else you want to call it. We have enough social problems without adding legal pot to the mix.

      • Bruce

        I doubt if your state is really doing fine. It probably has lots of non-violent people in prison for using drugs – not even selling them. An immorality on the part of the state. The social problems from the drug war are worse than the social problems from marijuana use. Your post indicates that you think use will go away if it’s illegal. Having militarized SWAT teams making marijuana busts is a bigger social problem than the ones you are probably referring to.

        • Arkeygeezer

          It been my experience tat there are very few “non-violent people in prison for using drugs – not even selling them.” Most of them were involved in other crimes, but nailing them on a drug charge was the easiest way for prosecutors to get them off the street.
          Whatever, ya’all deal with your drug users, and we’ll deal with our “immorality”.

          • Clayton Holbrook

            I’ve always wondered about that. You hear about all these immorally imprisoned folks who are “non-violent” drug offenders. But possession of pot most places under a certain amount is a misdemeanor. A trip to jail is probably going to happen, but pot possession of a small amount alone won’t land you in prison unless you’re violating probation or parole or have been convicted of a crime before. I doubt there’s all these imprisoned first time offenders that got caught with just a joint or something.

            However, once the gov’t has convicted a person of marijuana possession it’s basically criminalized the individual to certain extent. In other words, a 17-year-old caught with a joint is now a drug offending citizen with all the baggage and disadvantages that comes along with that. So to try and stop the social ill of drug use by criminal conviction in this case is almost a self fulfilling prophecy. Pot at least needs to be decriminalized.

  • FriendlyGoat

    There is something very wrong with any government entity seeking tax revenue from marijuana. It’s fine for the federal government to tax NET INCOME from marijuana operations—-like net income from anything else. But, for states to be in the pot business for money? It’s crazy. Marijuana either is or is not safe enough to be in commerce. It’s not a legitimate cash cow for government.

    • motoguzzi

      All that politicians do all day is think of ways to take in more money and ways to spend that money. As long as there are opportunities for graft on their end, do you think they care about the proles?

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