Jeana's World of Law

Jeana's World of Law

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Colorado and Washington First States to Legalize Marijuana

The 2012 Presidential Elections brought more to celebrate than just four more years or President Obama in the White House. Those in Colorado and Washington are rejoicing over the majority vote to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. These states are the first in the country to successfully legalize marijuana.

The prohibition supporters claim that marijuana research is inconclusive, unfinished, and has yet to be proven safe for recreational use. They stand behind that studies that have shown that marijuana can be addictive and habit-forming. The long-term effects of marijuana, such as its effects on mental disorders, memory, intelligence, and respiratory functions, are still being conducted.

Those supporting the legalization of marijuana support the initiative because marijuana has certain pain-relieving benefits. It can help people suffering from chronic pain and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Supporters state that marijuana prohibition has done more bad than good.

In Colorado, Amendment 64 made the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults 21 years of age and older. This is the not the first time the state has voted to legalize marijuana. In 2006, the first time, the measure was voted down. The former initiative aimed at removing punishments for the possession of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. The 2012 initiative, however, not only removed penalties, but also proposed a state-regulated system for the production and sale of marijuana. This would rid of the underground black-market marijuana sales and generate new revenue from taxes and criminal justice savings. The drug will be regulated similar to tobacco and alcohol.

In Washington, Initiative 502 will regulate and tax the sale of marijuana in small amounts for adults 21 years of age and older. It states that adults can buy up to one ounce of marijuana or one pound of marijuana enriched products (such as "pot brownies" or "pot cookies"). The initiative sets up a state-licensed marijuana production system and puts in order a standardized blood test limit for those who are driving under the influence of the drug. Legalization in Washington will generate new revenue from taxes and reduce marijauna-related criminal justice spending.

The legalization of marijuana in both states marks a landmark in US history. In those two states alone, the government can tax, monitor, and regulate marijuana growth and production. However, nothing will happen until state officials create legislation and rules that would govern the now legal marijuana industry - which could take several months up to a year.

According to Federal Law, marijuana is an illegal drug. It is unclear how the federal government will act once the regulated marijuana markets begin to set up shop. The historic measure to regulate and tax marijuana similar to alcohol and tobacco may be a model of how legalization should be throughout the country. Colorado and Washington have been given the chance to show the Federal Government whether legalization and decriminalization of marijuana is a viable strategy.

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