The Marijwhatnow of Colorado and Washington

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The re-election of Barack Obama proved that Americans were loyal to their current Commander in Chief. Marking an epic turn from the eight years of conservatisms brought on by George W. Bush’s regime, Obama and his Democrats made a push to stay the course and continue their influx of liberalisms.

Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage via popular vote, skewing the ultra-conservative push against such measures. Just as surprisingly, folks from Colorado and Washington made a push to legalize marijuana.

“I am not surprised that the use of marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington,” says second year arts student Cheyanne Fulton, “I believe that it has been something that many individuals have been campaigning for.”

The “Yes on 64” campaign in Colorado was one such movement. Their position was to regulate pot like alcohol, removing the prohibition status to take power away from the “Black Market.” One might compare this situation to the prohibition of alcohol in the early twentieth century which promoted organized crime to a point where it was repealed after a decade long crime war. Forcing users to interact with the criminal environment only promotes more illegal behaviour.

“The more users become integrated in an environment where, apart from cannabis, hard drugs can also be obtained, the greater the chance they may switch to hard drugs,” according to a report published in 1997 by the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction. “Separation of the drug markets is therefore essential.”

“Yes on 64” saw the potential for profit in marijuana sales saying, “The General Assembly must also enact an excise tax of up to 15 per cent on wholesale sales of non-medical marijuana, the first $40 million of which will be directed to the state’s public school construction fund each year.” This makes the profitability not simply a money grab for producers, wholesalers and politicians but also for the community at large.

Similar to alcohol measures, sales will be prohibited to people under the age of 21. Those above the legal age will be able to possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of pot in both Colorado and Washington. Colorado’s measures will allow civilians to grow up to six plants in a private residence, while Washington’s regulation focuses on growers and wholesalers.

Intoxication being what it is, police will reserve the right to perform field blood tests with just cause.

Initiative 502 in Washington prompted perhaps the most interesting response from the Seattle Police Department (SPD). Their government site set up a blotter page in 2008 to keep the public informed and they had crime reporter, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, perform a question and answer session concerning the new legalization.

Along with the list of questions concerning matters such as “What happens if I get pulled over and I’m sober, but an officer or his K9 buddy smells the ounce of Super Skunk I’ve got in my trunk?” and, “SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back?” the blotter post ends with a Lord of the Rings clip featuring Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf smoking the “finest weed in the South Farthing.”

For more information, students can visit the blotter at:

Information for this article was cited from the following:

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.