Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stoned in Seattle

Today is truly a historic occasion.  In Washington State, the initiative that legalized cannabis goes into effect, marking the first time any US state fully legalized the herb since it was federally banned in 1937.  In Seattle, there was plenty of celebration of this occasion, with hundreds of people toking up under the Space Needle.  Colorado also legalized it as well, and that goes into effect on January 5, 2013  December 10, 2012 (see update below).  In both states, the first legal retail outlets for weed are scheduled to be set up in early 2014 as the new laws are phased in.  Looks like Cypress Hill finally got his wish in two states, even if California was not one of them.

Of course, cannabis is still illegal under federal law, and it is still not clear exactly what the Feds will do.  While they say they will still enforce the current law, the situation is very similar to how NY ended alcohol Prohibition in 1923, ten years before national Prohibition was repealed.   Basically, the only ones enforcing it there were the feds, and they did not have nearly enough manpower or resources to do it alone (and they still don't).  That spelled the beginning of the end for Prohibition, and we hope that is true this time around for cannabis as well.  We will be closely watching this story as the next few months progress.

For the record, the TSAP supports full legalization of cannabis in all 50 states as well as federally.  By that we mean it should be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, with an age limit of 18, and no one should be arrested or jailed for simple possession of small amounts.  Growing one's own weed (within reason) should be treated like growing one's own tobacco or brewing one's own beer, and passing around a joint should be treated like passing around a tobacco cigarette or a bottle of beer.  Driving under the influence of cannabis should be treated the same as driving under the influence of alcohol, though the penalties should reflect the fact that the latter is far more dangerous than the former.  And we hope this will all become reality sooner rather than later.

UPDATE:  On December 10, Colorado Governor John Hinckenlooper signed an executive order that made the initiative currently official.  Thus, cannabis possession is now legal in both states for all people over the age of 21, while sale remains at least technically illegal for now pending the creation of a regulatory framework for such sales.

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