The legal marijuana law went into effect in Washington State today. Being in possession of an ounce of marijuana is no longer unlawful. The new law has been crafted rather carefully.
For at least a year, Washingtonians won’t be able to legally grow or sell the pot they can now legally buy.
And, hanging over it all, federal authorities still won’t say whether they’ll play ball as state leaders in Olympia attempt to put in place the truly revolutionary piece of I-502 – a state system which licenses growers and dealers while taxing the heck out of pot.
I hate the stuff and don’t like the smell of someone smoking it. The bill makes it illegal to smoke in public places. Illegal on college campuses. Illegal to drive under the influence and a test for marijuana can now qualify over use. Occupations that involve driving can still screen for marijuana and randomly drug test employees for use just like alcohol. Factories where people use precision equipment can choose not to hire marijuana users and can screen potential employees. It can’t be sold near schools or to teens and the usual education against smoking cigarettes of any kind will apply to marijuana.
While I hate it, I absolutely defend and approve of decriminalizing weed. In my community where medical marijuana is legal and the people dependent on it for pain are legitimate users of a drug that helps people tremendously without having to depend on a constipating and addictive narcotic drug. Ingesting it, instead of smoking it, should also be part of the medical package.
And, while I hate it, I hate even more seeing our prisons fill up with young people who now have a criminal record for carrying a relatively harmless substance. Some of those young men and women, have families and could be supporting their families instead of filling up the jails.
And, I hate the idea that the South American drug cartels smuggle tons of the stuff into the U.S. and have their slimy fingers all over ghetto neighborhoods recruiting young kids to peddle an un-taxable substance that should be grown right here, regulated and taxed.
It will be interesting to watch and see how it works out in Washington State before the legalize marijuana initiative comes up again in California and other places. Obviously, after all this time, pot use isn’t going away on its own, I think it will be a good thing if raw marijuana can be possessed and sold, but not in cigarette form for commercial manufacture. I’d hate to see a whole new population of people stopping into their 7-11 and bringing it home along with their nicotine before more testing of marijuana is done. Kids will steal cigarettes at a young age in a heartbeat.