Groundbreaking. Colorado, Washington Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Use

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. ” – Mahatma Gandhi

Wow. Look at what you guys have done! Citizens in Colorado and Washington have voted to end marijuana prohibition for recreational use for the first time anywhere in the United States. This stunning precedent is the a huge step toward ending the destructive and senseless “war on drugs” that our government has fought against it’s own people for decades.

This is seriously an amazing and groundbreaking outcome.

In Washington in particular, there was significant institutional support from police organizations and politicians. They can see the wasted money in prosecuting people for adult recreational behavior.

Groups in Colorado explicitly called out the prohibitionist aspects, comparing it to alcohol consumption at every opportunity.  Alcohol is a far more harmful, destructive, and addictive substance than cannabis, and we don’t try to regulate that. We tax it, and it’s part of life.

While national trends now favor ending marijuana probation, these first states can now be models for spreading cannabis legalization across the nation to other states.

According to Gallup polling data, 2011 was the first year that a majority of Americans supported full legalization. Now we really have the proof of that abstract data. And this trend should only get stronger and spread.

If voters in other states like what they see, and realize responsible, legal marijuana use doesn’t create anarchy and social chaos, we can be confident that this is only the beginning.

Yes, there will be setbacks. It is disappointing that Oregon’s Measure 80 didn’t quite measure up this time.

But this is a glorious day. I’m sure you will all think of a creative way to celebrate. And well you should.

Medical Passes in Massachusetts, Falls Short in Arkansas

It’s not as ground breaking, but remarkable in it’s own way that this is barely controversial anymore – Massachusetts will officially become the 18th state (plus DC) to allow medical marijuana for specified conditions as prescribed by a doctor.

The measure passed handily in MA, which has a strong activist base, and was one of the first states to pass an initiative to decriminalize marijuana.

While Arkansas voters only narrowly missed out despite tremendous institutional opposition from government and law enforcement. It’s no fun to lose, but it really did outperform expectations, so Arkansas activists should be proud.

Forward.

This is not the end. And we can’t wait to find out where we are going next. I am confident marijuana enthusiasts in other states are thinking “Why can’t this be us next time”? And it can. I’m looking at you Massachusetts. And California, you got it on the ballot first, definite time for a second go.

And we’ve got some significant hurdles to overcome with an intransigent Federal government that still won’t re-classify marijuana from Schedule 1, where it is still considered a dangerously addictive drug with no medical value.

But that domino will fall, too. It has to. Because we are right.

Can I begin a marijuana post with a quote from Ghandi, and end it with Martin Luther King? Yeah, I think I can.

“The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice” – Martin Luther King

photo by: Vectorportal
About David Matson

David writes about criminal justice issues.
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