Colorado and Washington’s legalization of recreational marijuana use is expected to inspire marijuana policy worldwide.
Our marijuana defense lawyers know that the United States is a country known for its war on drugs but a few pioneers are sparking a change in the western part of the country.
Public support for the so-called experiment is strong throughout the country. Even in areas where the future marijuana legalization is hazy, pockets of support exist.
However, states in the western United States have chronically been on the forefront of marijuana policy.
Marijuana consumption is regulated, but legal for medical purposes in 19 states – some states have had these more relaxed laws for over 20 years.
However, Washington and Colorado are jointly taking a blunt step forward and legalizing recreational use of pot in their respective states.
Local authorities will regulate the marketing, distribution, and growing of marijuana just for recreational use.
In Colorado, private growing and consumption of small amounts of marijuana was already legal under state law, but sales were not permitted.
This type of half legalization left the door wide open for drug dealers to operate. The regulations in Colorado will initially disallow the public smoking of marijuana although there is controversy over this limitation.
In Washington, the framework for new system is already in existence but the first licenses to legally sell marijuana are not expected to be given out until the middle part of 2014.
Marijuana advocates claim Washington and Colorado have left the old debate about how to arrest and lock up marijuana users behind and moved on to a higher-level adult conversation about how to regulate the commodity in a way that advances public health and public safety.
The United States experience is having an influence abroad where countries are liberalizing their own marijuana laws as a result of the United States policy. Uruguay will soon become the first country to legalize marijuana across the entire country.
The Netherlands policy toward marijuana consumption is often misinterpreted as complete legalization. In reality, the Netherlands has only tolerated low-levels of consumption for many years but the growing and distribution of marijuana is still technically illegal.
Holland is still divided between individuals who favor more liberal marijuana policy and others who are annoyed by the “marijuana tourists” who visit the Netherlands just to get high.
As Washington and Colorado pioneer the legalization of marijuana combined with regulatory systems it is important they get it right because the rest of the United States and the world are watching.
The Washington State CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:
Legal Possession: Should the Odor of Marijuana Amount to Probable Cause? , December 5, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
United States Lags Behind Other Countries in Marijuana Legalization, December 1, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
Washington State to Begin Accepting Marijuana Retailer Applications in November, Oct. 16, 2013, By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director