So, Marijuana is now Legal in two states.I have to say, I never thought I would see the day that any state actually legalized marijuana. I also figured that California would be the first to do so, now Washington and Colorado. And yet, here we are, with Washington and Colorado authorizing the sale of marijuana for recreational use through state-owned pot shops.
If you're about to break out a bowl, however, don't do it quite yet: the measure has passed, but it won't be on the books for another month. Until then, the drug is still illegal.
What will be interesting is how the Federal Government reacts to this. Technically, marijuana is still a Class 1 prohibited substance, and it has come down hard on other states that have loosened the restrictions on marijuana. And we've yet to see who might try and block the measures from ever getting written down as firm laws. If you remember back in 2010, when California tried to pass similar legislation, attorneys for the United States revealed they would aggressively prosecute the national marijuana laws. But! At least there is hope yet.
For the states, this law could prove to be a winner. People are already speculating that this will drop the crime rate in the state, and take power away from the drug cartels we've unsuccessfully been waging a war with for decades. And for the state, there's the added bonus that marijuana is highly taxed. And while Colorado lets you grow up to six plants for personal use, Washington state is requiring you to buy it from them. Just imagine how lucrative that could be.
These laws will free up millions spent on a pointless drug war and let police officers focus on bigger crimes than smoking a little. The savings in court costs alone will be in the millions of dollars, while tax revenue should be a match for that.
The most interesting part of this might just prove to be the testing of the Federal government, however. The line between state and Federal power remains murky, even so long after we rewrote the Articles of Confederation. This is going to be a power struggle between the states and Washington, and how it plays out will have far more wide-reaching impacts than letting some people smoke pot.