It seems as if the US doesn’t often pave the way on positive global changes anymore. But recently, a business owner in Colorado received the world’s first marijuana retail license. “Annie’s” currently operates as a medical marijuana dispensary, but will begin selling recreational marijuana along with others on January 1, 2014.
“Colorado is moving forward and leaving marijuana prohibition behind. For the first time in history, those who sell marijuana are receiving licenses from the state instead of rap sheets. Marijuana will be sold to adults by legitimate, taxpaying businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market,” said Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project.
The move from “rap sheets” to business licenses is groundbreaking. No longer will marijuana users be made to feel like criminals or social deviants, and now legitimate businesses can take over the “dealer” market.
Early in November of this year (2013), voters in Colorado approved a 25 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales. The revenue will go to fund schools, construction, and regulation.
One of the major arguments for marijuana reform is a legalized market could be a potential windfall for states. All eyes will be on Colorado over the next few years to see just how profitable the market will be.
“Colorado is proving to the rest of the world that marijuana can be regulated like alcohol. It will not be long before voters and lawmakers in other states decide to adopt similar policies. Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and it is finally starting to be treated that way,” Tvert said.
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This comes only a few weeks after Portland, Maine and three cities in Michigan voted to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. It also comes on the heels of the most recent Gallup poll, which indicates for the first time that more Americans approve of legalization than disapprove of it.
Whether you see marijuana as a healing plant, a fun time, or merely the tool with which to exercise one’s freedom of choice, it is serving to change the landscape of this country. More and more people are realizing the war on marijuana is a costly failure with ignored benefits that need to be explored and made available to those who want it.