The world is a different place this morning. Today, millions of Americans are waking-up not just to President Obama’s victory, but to the most important change in cannabis law humanity has ever seen. Last night the people of Washington and Colorado voted in favour of permitting adults to purchase and consume cannabis from licensed premises state-wide.
This is the article I’ve been waiting to write for years, but where to start? It’s amazingly 4:20am at the moment I hear the dual news that Obama has won and Colorado has passed. We’re used to hearing about cannabis success stories which are on another continent, available to medical patients, or behind some other restrictive wall, but this time there have been no stipulations around age or health. Furthermore, this isn’t just another nation, this is the champion of the war on drugs. The driving force behind the whole debacle… being told by its citizens that they know better.
For those of us outside the USA this should signal the start of the end game in our local battles with improper legislature. No longer will sheep-like nations be able to point at America’s backing for prohibition as indicative of its validity. Your local leaders will be taking note, and the current system doesn’t stand to be around much longer. Let’s look at the finer details of each of the initiatives passed.
This measure would remove state-law prohibitions against producing, processing, and selling marijuana, subject to licensing and regulation by the liquor control board; allow limited possession of marijuana by persons aged twenty-one and over; and impose 25% excise taxes on wholesale and retail sales of marijuana, earmarking revenue for purposes that include substance-abuse prevention, research, education, and healthcare. Laws prohibiting driving under the influence would be amended to include maximum thresholds for THC blood concentration.
Colorado Amendment 64:
- makes the personal use, possession, and limited home-growing of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older;
- establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol; and
- allows for the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.
In particular, Amendment 64 removes all legal penalties for personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and for the home-growing of up to six marijuana plants, similar to the number allowed under current medical marijuana laws, in an enclosed locked space.
This is not to mention the smaller success stories of the night, such as medical users in Massachusetts now having access to safe and non-toxic prescriptions instead of less effective, more dangerous substances.
So where does this leave us in terms of federal law? We’ve seen national forces used to crack down on medical cannabis dispensaries across a number of states, but this time it’s different. This is entire states sending a message to the President and DEA that there’s no longer the need for an excuse. There’s no longer the need to be seriously ill before being permitted to consume cannabis as a free human being. Today’s vote forces the federal government to either massively encroach on state law (in a way which far exceeds attacks on dispensaries) or to revise their approach to tackling cannabis.
We’ve longed for something to hold up against the authorities and force them to make difficult decisions. For over 40 years they’ve been able to simply ignore us and dismiss our voices as a flash in the pan, but this is the final nail in the coffin of prohibition. The whole charade has survived based on the suppression of facts, but thanks to the internet age we learned that we’ve been sold a lie. This is our time. This is payback. And it tastes so very sweet.