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Washington, Colorado Become First States to Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Use

Mike Barrett
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November 7th, 2012
Updated 11/07/2012 at 2:48 am
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marijuanabackground 245x153 Washington, Colorado Become First States to Legalize Marijuana for Recreational UseEven if you don’t use marijuana medicinally or for recreational use, you may still be wondering: why is marijuana illegal? Actually, 3 states – Washington, Colorado, and Oregon – have recently voted for the legalization of marijuana not for medicinal use, but for recreational use. On Tuesday, November 6, both Washington and Colorado citizens helped to make recreational use of marijuana legal, while Oregon decided to deny the measure.

Colorado, Washington – Yes. Oregon – No

According to a poll from Public Policy Polling on Monday, 52% of voters supported Amendment 64 – the Colorado amendment for recreational use of marijuana – while only 44% were opposed to the measure. As seen on Tuesday, the poll was fairly accurate, with 53% of Colorado citizens voting ‘yes’ on Amendment 64.

What does this mean for Colorado? Under Amendment 64, marijuana will be taxed and regulated much like alcohol, with individuals aged 21 or older able to buy marijuana from sellers. Analysts project marijuana sales will rake in anywhere from $5 million to $22 million a year in the state from taxes alone. This revenue doesn’t include all of the savings associated with prohibition enforcement costs such as arrests and man-hours spent hunting down marijuana users.

This isn’t the first time Colorado voted on marijuana; a similar measure was also taken in 2006. From an interview on HuffingtonPost:

The 2006 initiative would have simply removed the penalties for the possession of marijuana legal for individuals 21 years of age or older. The current initiative proposes a fully regulated system of cultivation and sales, which will eliminate the underground marijuana market and generate tens of millions of dollars per year in new revenue and criminal justice savings. It also directs the legislature to regulate the cultivation of industrial hemp, a versatile, popular, and environmentally friendly agricultural crop. More importantly, voters are more informed about marijuana than ever before.

And similar to Colorado, Washington also passed recreational use of marijuana with a 56% support figure. The ballot measure, called Initiative 502, also allows individuals 21 years or older to purchase ‘small’ quantities from a licensed retailer – 1 ounce (28 grams) to be exact. According to the state’s Office of Financial Management, the Washington measure may rake in up to $1.9 billion in state revenue over five fiscal years.

Oregon’s measure did not pass, with 55% of voters voting ‘no’ to the measure.

The Feds

But not only do Coloradans and citizens of Washington have to wait at least several months for everything to fall into place. Who knows if the feds will attack, or simply look away. We see time and time again where federal agents raid marijuana dispensaries in states where it’s sold for medicinal purposes only. Just earlier this year it was reported that the federal government planned on shutting down the largest medical marijuana dispensary operator in California known as Harborside Health Center. Two dispensaries, one in Oakland and another in San Jose, were seized by authorities. The Oakland dispensary has even recently gone to court to fight the feds.

According to Obama’s former senior drug policy advisers, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington will in fact prompt action from the Feds.

“Once these states actually try to implement these laws, we will see an effort by the feds to shut it down…We can only guess now what exactly that would look like. But the recent U.S. attorney actions against medical marijuana portends an aggressive effort to stop state-sponsored growing and selling at the outset,” Kevin A. Sabet told NBC News in a report published Sunday.

Despite any action from the Feds, the passing measures in Colorado and Washington further signify the desire for inherent freedoms. Whether individuals choose to use marijuana should be their choice.

Additional Sources:

The Huffington Post

Bloomberg

About Mike Barrett:
2.thumbnail Washington, Colorado Become First States to Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Use Google Plus Profile |Mike is the co-founder, editor, and researcher behind Natural Society. Studying the work of top natural health activists, and writing special reports for top 10 alternative health websites, Mike has written hundreds of articles and pages on how to obtain optimum wellness through natural health.

From around the web:

  • http://www.seniorcarefranchiseinfo.org Stephanie Marlowe

    Hi phil,

    Actually, I think the feds will eventually let marijuana through. Not only that, I wouldn’t be surprised if they started to tax it and make a huge profit.

  • http://ocalaseniorcare.com Ocala Senior Care

    Phil is exactly right. The war on drugs has made our politicians, lawyers, lobbyists, and authorities filthy rich. There is no way that drug legalization will ever make it past the feds. Bank on it…

  • http://oseflorida.com/garage.php OSE Florida

    Certainly a lot of conspiracy minded people in here. What has happened to our country?

  • Patti Jo Edwards

    In a country that is going broke, it is unconscionable that those who should be protecting our constitutional right for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would spend so much of our tax money to infringe on our rights. At the very least, shouldn't the Feds be taxing us on our growing, sales and use? Oh, that's right, there is a huge profit made from the War on Drugs. Prohibition is profitable. From prisons to police to the black market, a few are becoming very very wealthy.

  • richard

    Spot on phil. Even in my small town in NY i see the "authories" looking the other way.

  • yankee phil

    The feds will never never never allow marijuana to be legalized because too many federal level officials are making money on the illegal sales of it, just as cocaine is controlled by organized crime and the intelligence community, so is marijuana, and the loss of this bribery revenue would cause a giant rift in law enforcement between those who are on the take and those who are not(the lower ranks). Even at the state level you see the corrupt politicians(locals usually know who they are) are always against legalization, its just simple economics for most of them, taking their cue from federal level corruption , everyone wanting a piece of the pie. Remember with taxation , the money generated by marijuana sales would go back to the people and establish the product as beneficial to society as well as and perhaps most importantly end the supply connection to hard drugs and remove marijuana users exposure to the criminal drug market where they are led into stronger(heavier) drug use. There is more salesmanship than you would imagine being employed in the illegal drug market. As drinkers are encouraged by the barroom mentality to drink more than the other guy to establish an illusion of strength , so is it with the hard drugs, being the adventurer or the "big spender" (perhaps the latter being the greater status symbol)through the use of harder and higher quantities of expensive drugs. The loss of marijuana to this business as a soft introductory drug, one that people are not afraid to try for its limited druglike effect, would damage the sales of other drug products they market enormously, eliminating a vast resource of black money used for bribery in other organized crime businesses and political influence pedaling. No friends , legalizing marijuana threatens the American way of life (as it has become) and the economic impact of the loss of the illegal drug revenue would bankrupt most Government officials and police departments, not to mention how many people the maffia would have to lay off, all of the good paying jobs would simply disappear.