Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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Marijuana in the United States has been a big issue for decades dating back to when it was first made illegal in 1937. Using scare tactics, propaganda, and false facts, the government decided to classify the plant as a schedule one drug along with substances such as ecstasy, LSD, and heroin. Marijuana has since become a more common and socially acceptable (Not by the government) drug in recent years. This past year Colorado, Washington, and Oregon had decided to vote on the issue of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Focusing on Colorado, Amendment 64 passed on November 6th, 2012 which would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of the plant.

Amendment 64 was passed in Colorado with the winning vote of about 55% of the Colorado population. They chose to make marijuana legal for those 21 and over in Colorado such as alcohol is everywhere else. It was deemed legal but people may only grow up to six plants, no more than three flowering, and carry up to one ounce (28 grams). The laws are not completely refined on the matter but it is to be regulated very similar to alcohol with driving under the influence being illegal and sale to a minor also illegal. Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper, signed the amendment into law and created a task force that meets in order to create regulations that will take effect by July 1st, 2013. The task force was created such that, “All stakeholders share an interest in creating efficient and effective regulations that provide for the responsible development of the new marijuana laws”. With officials from groups that represent the consumer, producer, and law enforcement, and others, the task force really covers all those who will be affected by the new law. The only problem was to find an equal ground on which all groups can agree on and implement into law. On March 13th, the task force officially released their recommendations for implementation of the new law. It is filled with multiple options on all aspects of the implementation including taxation, licensee requirements, operational requirements, consumer safety, etc. The new laws will take place by July after being voted on by the Colorado lawmakers. But during this whole legalization process marijuana is still classified as one of the most harmful and addicting drugs and is still illegal under the federal government. With so much support coming from states such as Colorado and Washington, the government is put into a tight spot on the issue. Obama stated in an interview with ABC News that “It does not make sense from a prioritization view, for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has legalized it under state law”. That leaves the question that if states have decided to legalize the plant for medical use along with a two states for recreational use, shouldn’t the federal regulations on marijuana change? Of course complete legalization will not happen anytime soon, but the level of danger it is currently classified under federal law seems to be unreasonable. Schedule one drugs are classified as, “drugs, substances, or chemicals with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse…the most dangerous drugs of all…with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” 18 states have passed medicinal marijuana bills that would point to some misunderstanding of the plant and its effects. Patients diagnosed with medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, severe nausea, severe pain, cancer, and others have been prescribed marijuana. A study done by the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research revealed that for patients with neuropathic pain, the effects were relieving pain better than original medicine prescribed and should be a, “first line treatment.” On the other hand, even if it could help out patients, many doctors are still against prescribing marijuana to their patients. In a survey held by Elin Kondrad, MD and Alfred Reid, MA from the Journal of the...
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