Skip to comments.Sensible on Weed: Why Colorado's Marijuana Law is Good Policy
Posted on 01/06/2014 8:16:32 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Launching 17 million Rocky Mountain High jokes, Colorado has become the first state to make the prudent choice of legalizing the consumption and sale of marijuana, thus dispensing with the charade of medical restrictions and recognizing the fact that, while some people smoke marijuana to counter the effects of chemotherapy, most people smoke marijuana to get high and that is not the worst thing in the world.
Regardless of whether one accepts the individual-liberty case for legalizing marijuana, the consequentialist case is convincing. That is because the history of marijuana prohibition is a catalogue of unprofitable tradeoffs: billions in enforcement costs, and hundreds of thousands of arrests each year, in a fruitless attempt to control a mostly benign drug the use of which remains widespread despite our energetic attempts at prohibition. We make a lot of criminals while preventing very little crime, and do a great deal of harm in the course of trying to prevent an activity that presents little if any harm in and of itself.
Marijuana is a drug, as abusable as any intoxicant is, and its long-term use is in some people associated with undesirable effects. But its effects are relatively mild, and while nearly half of American adults have smoked marijuana, few develop habits, much less habits that are lifelong (in another context, we might write chronic). Compared to binge drinking or alcohol addiction, marijuana use is a minor public-health concern. All that being the case, the price of prohibition is relatively high, whether measured in police and penal expenses or in liberty lost. The popularity of marijuana may not be the most admirable social trend of our time, but it simply is not worth suppressing.
One of the worst consequences of marijuana use is the development of saucer-eyed arguments about the benefits of legalizing it. Colorado, and other states that may follow its example, should go into this with realistic expectations. If the Dutch example is any guide, then Colorado can probably expect to see higher rates of marijuana use and the use of other drugs, though not dramatically so. As with the case of Amsterdam, Colorado already is developing a marijuana-tourism industry some hotels are considering offering designated marijuana-smoking rooms, even while smoking tobacco outdoors is banned in parts of Boulder which brings problems of its own, among them opportunistic property crime and public intoxication. Colorados legal drug dealers inevitably will end up supplying black markets in neighboring prohibition states. Expected tax revenues from marijuana sales will amount to a mere three-tenths of 1 percent of the states budget.
The payoff is not in tax revenue gained but in losses avoided. A great many people will avoid being convicted of crimes for a relatively benign recreational indulgence and those criminal convictions often have much more severe long-term consequences on pot-smokers lives than marijuana does. The business of policing covert marijuana dealers has been replaced with the relatively straightforward business of regulating them in the open. A large and fairly nasty criminal enterprise has lost its raison dêtre, at least so far as the Colorado market is concerned.
Perhaps most important, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and the push for its legalization elsewhere is a sign that Americans still recognize some limitations on the reach of the state and its stable of nannies-in-arms. The desire to discourage is all too easily transmuted into the desire to criminalize, just as the desire to encourage metastasizes into the desire to mandate. It is perhaps a little dispiriting that of all the abusive overreaches of government to choose from, it is weed that has the nations attention, but it is a victory nonetheless. Unfortunately, it is probably too much to hope that Colorados recognition of this individual liberty might inspire some popular reconsideration of other individual liberties, for instance that of a working man to decide for himself whether he wants to join a union, or for Catholic nuns to decide for themselves whether they want to purchase drugs that may work as abortifacients higher liberties, if you will.
"Repealing Prohibition Is Not the Same As Endorsing the Previously Prohibited Activity." ?
We’ve wasted far too much money trying to get people to not smoke a plant.
Treat it like booze in the eyes of the law and be done with it.
There are a number of “safety sensitive” positions in the railroad industry alone in which the use of marijuana is a huge no-no, by order of the federal government, courtesy of Ricky Gates and the 1987 AMTRAK/CONRAIL collision in Chase, MD.
This will be interesting to watch.
More deaths will occur on Colorado roads due to Marijuana intoxication, some will kill individuals and families in the other cars.
More families will break up in Colorado due to the increased use. More children, who are innocent, will have to be placed into foster care than before.
Crimes will increase in Colorado, especially robberies and break-ins. As time goes on more of these will increase in violence as the desire for higher highs consumes the perpetrators.
I wonder if the enrollment in the “agriculture” programs at state colleges is soaring?
We will simply have to wait and see if what Colorado has done is the right way to go. It was Colorado’s choice. Under our Constitution (as intended) other states could follow suit, go the exact opposite direction, or fall anywhere else on the issue. The results will be what they will be.
Blood tests at sobriety check points now?
“Repealing Prohibition Is Not the Same As Endorsing the Previously Prohibited Activity.” ?
I don’t know if its a Buckley quote, but it bears repeating.
The so-called ‘war on drugs’ has done much to erode our Fourth Amendment rights and has made criminals out of many otherwise productive citizens. I think fines, rather than prison time, are sufficient deterrent for marijuana use. Likewise society should not advocate destructive lifestyles such as homosexual behavior, promiscuous heterosexual behavior, drug or alcohol abuse, compulsive gambling, porn, street racing...the list goes on.
But the emphasis in these ‘no-victim’ crimes should be deterrence, rather than punishment.
The law does.
Won’t be any different than the alcohol prohibitions for safety sensitive jobs, something that’s been handled pretty smoothly for 6 or 7 decades.
For another point of view from National Review -http://www.nationalreview.com/kudlows-money-politics
I am really tired of the stupid argument about adults being arrested for mariuana offenses. We have drug courts to handle those. It is a lot simpler than legalizing the pot use.
The AMA now states that heavy cannabis use among teenagers causes decreased cognitive thinking ability - PERMANENT DAMAGE. The government is already in the process of dumbing down the public school systems, do we have to dumb down the students as well?
Any problems associated with marijuana will be ignored by the media.
Having had my car completely unloaded in a neighboring state and my family standing on the side of the road for 1.5 hours while we waited in freezing temps for a drug dog to arrive after a recent ski trip from Colorado -— where they found nothing and gave us a warning for no front license plate -— I see a problem with both drug laws and differing states having differing laws.
They left all our stuff on the side of the road — had to load it back with cars whizzing by at 75mph -— and left with not even an apology for wasting our time.
“something thats been handled pretty smoothly for 6 or 7 decades.”
Using breathalyzers when necessary. But there is no marijuana breathalyzer yet.
Dope for the dopes.
If we self-appointed better people allow the commoners to smoke pot, every fender bender will be the result of toking and driving. The streets will run with blood.
Now we will get to see what happens with legal pot as we have a pilot program, a state with about million people.
It can always be delegalized again. The people who want to smoke will do so anyway, just as they were before it was legal.
I haven’t heard an argument against it yet that couldn’t apply to cigs and booze.
I’d be fine with making all three illegal, if that could ever be enforced. It should be one way or the other or the arguments make no sense.
Your same predictions were made about 10 years when Colorado legalized pot with the MM program, bringing growers out of the woodwork and increasing the availability and use of pot around the state.
The predictions haven’t come true, yet. We shall see what happens next.
There is nothing in the law that prohibits employers from firing people who use MJ outside the workplace.
Exactly, just as the Benghazi, IRS, NSA and Fast and Furious Scandals.
The media loves anything immoral or that increases immorality these days.
Ever since he left the magazine, it has been run by snooty I-am-so-much-smarter-than-you-unwashed-ignorant-tools wrapped in Buckely’s cloak.
My friend, who has a license to grow medical marijuana in WA, now says that she opposes full legalization. She now admits that regular marijuana use among teenagers causes permanent damage to cognitive thinking abilities. She knows that it is true because she has seen the results in her own family.
What she cannot see is that daily marijuana use causes the same damage to adult brains. It just isn’t permanent. The adult brain seems to be able to heal itself with 6 -8 weeks of abstention.
The effects of the marijuana use have made this person extremely unreasonable and argumentative. It is destroying her marriage and driving away her friends. She just blames everyone else. It is like her brain has just lost the filter that kept her from saying whatever popped into her mind.
Pot does not increase violence or crime(at least in the traditional sense).
The primary problem I see is just another way to lose the younger generations, allowing them to legally waste away.
I know a guy who, 15 years ago, had a bad opiate addiction and somehow maintained his job as a railroad engineer. I don’t know how he got away with it.
The story had a happy ending. He somehow got over it and is now working up the management ranks at the railroad.
They have a visual test they use on your eyes. If you flunk that, they can take you in for a blood test.
The visual test works quite well, the subject can’t pass it if stoned.
People forget that pot has been legal in Colorado for about 10 years. This is old hat.
Do you imagine that any kid anywhere in the country can’t get pot? The laws just aren’t effective in keeping it out of kids hands.
Have you ever known a pothead? Although I do not indulge myself, I've known many, and had many close friends who did/do over my whole life and I've seen them in many various stages of "high". They're biggest collective offenses are raiding the fridge, being a bit lethargic and not being overly punctual.
Alcohol is more dangerous and cigarettes are wayyyyy more addictive. The cost of prohibition is the heaviest burden on the rest of us in money and rights. d:^)
They have swabs that can detect MJ. But really they’ve faced all these challenges already with the drugs illegal, and with prescription drugs. None of this is really new territory, it just rearranged things a little.
Your problem was driving with no front license plate, which is against the law in almost every state.
Cops love burnt out lights, missing plates, etc. I got stopped and hassled in New Mexico for a cracked winshield (yep, that’s illegal there). Cops have to have probable cause to stop you, which then opens the floodgates to search the car, etc.
So, keep your car legal and you won’t get stopped unless you do something else illegal that can be observed.
The total of rear only states is 19.
The car is registered in NM, which does not issue a front license plate.
“The Herb doesn’t make people criminals.”
No, its the behaviors associated with it. A man’s penis does not make him a rapist, his actions do....
The people who pushed for legal pot in Colorado have said that they now want to legalize cocaine and heroin.
You think defective equipment qualifies as probable cause or reasonable suspicion that a crime is , has or is about to be taking place? Cops do not attain a search power because your taillight is out....
The poster who has to sit by the side of the road for hours may have given permission for a doggie search. Recently, the SCOTUS declared the presence of a dog a police search....
Just say no to any search w/o warrant. Make ‘em get the judge pout of bed. Now, if you have an extensive record, expect a bit more scrutiny, although that violates several enumerated rights as well.
Does that mean that all the “Mules” packing in MJ over the southern border need to do is to get an “Import License” and declare that they are taking it to Colorado? Will there be tariffs? /sarc Maybe the Kennedy family can replenish their fortune by getting out of “Scotch Whiskey” and into marijuana. America...the land of opportunity even for shanty Irish.
Anyone in the US who wants marijuana can already get it more easily than they can get a bottle of beer.
I personally had a (real) copper Arizona plate, but it corroded badly.
Sure there is, the saliva test. While not 100% accurate, it can pick up thc from 1-14 hours after the plant is ingested. Outside fourteen hours, the user isn't incapacitated anymore anyway.
Give up on enforcing drug laws so druggies are no longer looked upon as criminals. I suppose the thinking is that instead of treating drug purchases as illegal (kind of like gambling and the Mafia), we'll just get the state to sanction, tax and maybe even run pot sales, like they have the Lottery. Of course, they will need lots of PSAs to run on radio, tv and movie theaters, advertising for "drug treatment facility spas," of course paid for by the taxpayers. Now, how many other laws (sins) do we discount so they are no longer against the law (no longer "called" sins?)
Potheads now may be your law enforcement officers, teachers, Mayors, Governors, Senators, House members, lawyers, Supreme Court Justices, bosses, employees.
How 'bout pat heads as your school bus drivers, city transit drivers, rail road engineers, airline pilots, air traffic controllers, nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, doctors, cancer researchers, XRay techs, surgeons?
Give m on everything no longer being illegal or morally wrong, then nothing is "bad," except for tobacco, large soft drinks, trans-fat, light bulbs, etc. you fill in the blanks!
There will be unintended consequences, of that I’m sure. ANd the most likely of these is more, not less, government intrusion into your life and abridgement of rights. For instance, does the use of a legal product act as a hammer in the hands of government should you exercise your 2nd Amendment rights? In Colorado the answer would have to be yes based on recent legislation.
We’re next. Yesterday the Everett Herald published a combination spreadsheet-map indicating where licensed retailers, producers will be in Snohomish co. I know I’m out of touch, but to me it’s kind of sad. A lot of Sno. Co. that used to grow strawberries, corn, dairy cows, etc. were developed into housing tracts and shopping complexes. Now were having some new agriculture, but it’s not corn, strawberries or dairy cows. I know, progress. Don’t know if these new pot growers will be “family farms” of the kind celebrated by the farmers market and CO-OP, or agribusiness, and don’t really care.
Another of my friends is a high school vice principal. She says that they now send home at least one kid every day for being high in class, since the legalization of medical marijuana in WA.
I wouldn't support that. Those two drugs are a result of manufacture. Marijuana is just a plant, not taking one form of it and turning it into something else entirely.
“The poster who has to sit by the side of the road for hours may have given permission for a doggie search”
Nope. We were told to get out of the car and he “noticed something” -— what he “noticed” I have no idea. A dad, mom, and four girls. Not exactly drug dealer material.
I think the real issue was my Israeli accent.
Does the new law at least require that buyers must be 21 years of age as we do with alcohol or tobacco use?
Montana and WA were both sold a bill of goods with MM. I voted for it out of compassion—it seemed like a no brainer. What a joke. They should have just gone for the whole enchilada then, and been honest.
Why couldn’t people just get it from a pharmacy with a prescription? Why did all these trashy little eyesore shops have to spring up? In Seattle you notice that they aren’t on “Pill Hill” and other neighborhoods with lots of medical facilities, old a d disabled people, etc. No, they’re in the low income, highly transient( read University) nightlife neighborhoods. Huh.
How many states have MM anyway? My recommendation is to keep your bullshit detectors turned on when its proposed in your state.
” I got stopped and hassled in New Mexico for a cracked winshield.”
You got off easily. The drug warriors here in New Mexico will pull you out of the car after rolling a stop sign and subject you to illegal anal probes in fruitless drug searches.
“New Mexico man sues over repeated anal probes by police”
And, sadly, this was not an isolated incident.
Doesn’t surprise me. People are also getting a lot more brazen about smoking in public places in Seattle.
And of course there are many other legal snarls, such as the one about financial institutions not being able to finance pot businesses because of fed regulation. I don’t know how CO is handling this stuff.
At least half of the country had enough sense to not use marijuana.
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