EDITORIAL: The a-pot-calypse never happened in Colorado after all

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Thousands of lives have not been ruined. Countless have not died. Colorado has survived its first year of reefer madness.

One year after Colorado boldly lifted marijuana prohibition and began ringing in retail pot sales with the new year of 2014, we have shown the country, as well as the world, that the arguments for legalizing marijuana are the very reasons why it was the biggest non-story of the year.

for potDespite fears spread by people like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who runs a state that’s the envy of all, Colorado only became even more attractive to businesses, educated workers and people who like to think for themselves.

Why? Because proponents of Amendment 64 argued that legalizing marijuana would only affect those who smoke it and inadvertently subsidized a massive criminal industry for something that isn’t a crime.

And by almost every account, the proponents were right. Now that the novelty of being able to legally buy dope in swank pot shops has worn thin, the people buying marijuana at these stores are pretty much the ones who were buying weed previously on the black market. Those illegal sales help fuel the drug cartel crisis in Mexico and Central America. Colorado marijuana purchases help fuel tax revenues the state desperately needs, as well as thousands of new jobs.

A recent poll by the Denver Post shows that Colorado residents are mostly pleased with how the whole thing turned out, because it turned out pretty much like everyone predicted. As a state, we’re worried about keeping minors from smoking legal weed, just like we were worried about minors smoking illegal weed.

There have been problems with edible products being so potent that many users have had bad experiences, some of them high-profile dabblers that make themselves look more foolish than the industry. Regardless, potency and product identification are real consumer issues that the state is addressing.

There appears to be no more public pot smoking now than there was before marijuana was legalized, and if anything, ending the forbidden fruit aspect of pot is going a long ways toward encouraging people to look at the unhealthy aspects of smoking anything or taking any kind of mind-altering drug, including alcohol.

For so many Colorado residents, it’s just not a big deal already. It’s convenient for those who do smoke. It’s not an issue for those who don’t. It’s not unreasonable to believe that Colorado could net about $100 million a year in new taxes from pot sales, money that previously would have gone to fund murderous gangs in Mexico.

The state still must reckon with congressional officials to permit Colorado and other progressive states from tripping up federal drug laws, and those federal laws must be changed. Likewise, bringing these marijuana businesses into the real world of banking and commerce is now long overdue.

In a perfect world, no one would have the need or desire to do any kind of drug. But the belief that governments can criminalize vices and poor choices and keep us all in line has been proven foolhardy for eons. So far, Colorado’s experiment in ending marijuana prohibition has been a success because it’s changed how we treat people who smoke pot, rather than change the pot smoking behavior of people.

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davebarnes
davebarnes
7 years ago

What drug do we legalize next?

marcine cohen
marcine cohen
7 years ago
Reply to  davebarnes

Gamut of psychedelics.

foodforthought
foodforthought
7 years ago

Thanks for the chance to comment on this editorial.

I’m convinced that prohibition of marijuana is a premise built on a tissue of lies: Concern For Public Safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year, on our highways alone. In November of 2011 a study at the University of Colorado found that, in the thirteen states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities have dropped by nearly nine percent—now nearly ten percent in Michigan–while sales of beer went flat by five percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too.

Actually, most people–and particularly patients who medicate with marijuana–use it in place of prescription drugs or alcohol.

I recently reviewed the Federal Census stats on yearly driving fatalities state by state, from 1990 to 2009. All states, ‘legal’ or not, have seen their death rates drop, but on average, those with medical marijuana laws have posted declines 12% larger than the non-medical states. Public Safety Announcements and vehicles with airbags must have helped as well, consistently throughout the country, without affecting the
disproportion between the ‘legal states’ and those ‘not yet, in 2009’.

In 2012 a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote cited statistics revealing that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as “the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating on a motor vehicle is slower driving”, which “is arguably a positive thing”. Despite occasional accidents, eagerly reported by police-blotter ‘journalists’ as ‘marijuana-related’, a mix of substances was often involved.
Alcohol, most likely, and/or prescription drugs, nicotine, caffeine, meth, cocaine, heroin, and a trace of the marijuana passed at a party last week. However, on the whole, as revealed in big-time, insurance-industry stats, within the broad swath of mature, experienced consumers, slower and more cautious driving shows up in significant numbers. Legalization should improve those numbers further.

Marijuana has many benefits, most of which are under-reported or never mentioned in American newspapers. Research at the University of Saskatchewan indicates that, unlike alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or Nancy (“Just say, ‘No!’”) Reagan’s beloved nicotine, marijuana is a neuro-protectant which actually encourages brain-cell growth. Research in Spain (the Guzman study) and other countries has discovered that it has tumor-shrinking, anti-carcinogenic properties. These were confirmed by the 30-year Tashkin population study at UCLA.

Drugs are man-made, cooked up in labs, for the sake of patents and the profits gained by them. Often useful, but typically burdened with cautionary notes and lists of side effects as long as one’s arm. ‘The works of Man are flawed.’

Marijuana is a medicinal herb, the most benign and versatile in history. “Cannabis” in Latin, and “kaneh bosm” in the old Hebrew scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, used by early Christians to treat everything from skin diseases to deep pain and despair. The very name, “Christ” translates as “the anointed one”. Well then, anointed with what? It’s a fair question. And it wasn’t holy water, friends. Holy water came into wide use in the Middle Ages. In Biblical times it was used by a few tribes
of Greek pagans. But Christ was neither Greek nor pagan.

Medicinal oil, for the Prince of Peace. A formula from the Biblical era has been rediscovered. It specifies a strong dose of oil from kaneh bosom, ‘the fragrant cane’ of a dozen uses: ink, paper, rope, nutrition. . . . It was clothing on their backs and incense in their temples. And a ‘skinful’ of medicinal oil could certainly calm one’s nerves, imparting a sense of benevolence and connection with all living things. No wonder that the ‘anointed one’ could gain a spark, an insight, a sense of the divine, and the confidence to convey those feelings to friends and neighbors.

I am appalled at the number of ‘Christian’ politicians, prosecutors, and police who pose on church steps or kneeling in prayer on their campaign trails, but cannot or will not face the scientific or the historical truths about cannabis, Medicinal Herb Number One, safe and effective for thousands of years, and celebrated by most of the world’s major religions.

Aldo Elmnight
Aldo Elmnight
7 years ago

Go check out the homeless youth shelters. Ask them how they get money for pot.

marcine cohen
marcine cohen
7 years ago
Reply to  Aldo Elmnight

Work three jobs? Just a half million short for that modest house…. gettin there $!

Just thinking
Just thinking
7 years ago

What about the children hospitalized after ingesting marijuana??? What about the homes/buildings that have been blown up because of users attempt to make marijuana oil??? What about the increased tickets given to drivers with too much marijuana in their bodies??? How much of that $100,000 million worth of taxes will be used to combat the effects and enforcement of marijuana??? How much of those taxes will actually benefit the citizens of Colorado?? What about the fact that Colorado does not have control of its home grown marijuana??? That colorado’s marijuana is being shipped out of state creating problems for other states? What about the fact that that marijuana shipped out of state isn’t taxed–it has become BLACK MARKET???

marcine cohen
marcine cohen
7 years ago
Reply to  Just thinking

It’s the most nutritious vegetable, and, an excellent source of rope, for the hangman’s noose. America was founded with this Genus and Species, which you unconstitutionally force us to call, “marihuana.” No constitutional amendment prohibits nor allows the prohibition of Cannabis Sativa – which is precisely what the US Constitution was originally drafted, on. Behold the “marihuana” canvas-and-oil, masterpiece paintings in every fine art museum and government capitol building. “Marihuana” is ten times stronger than cotton, and America’s Founders would execute decisive justice, for those who’ve unconstitutionally outlawed the historical hangman’s noose!

Mike
Mike
7 years ago
Reply to  Just thinking

1. Children in jest many things that sends them to the hospital. Should we also ban cough syrup?
2. Houses blowing up from making hash oil (I’ve heard of meth labs blowing up but never read any article about hash oil doing that) – legalizing pot will eliminate the need to “cook” hash oil.
3. Increased tickets from pot use? I’m not sure what the problem is here…
4. Colorado is being responsible with this new revenue and appropriating a considerable amount towards education, enforcement and rehabilitation.
5. Does Colorado have a problem with citizens brewing their own beer?
Your last two points are easily resolved by simply legalizing it nationally. So, chicken little, your fears are unwarranted.

banished jester
banished jester
7 years ago

The other entheogens should be looked at next. As a campaign to expand individual consciousness cannabis is one option. Mushrooms, peyote and other true sacraments should be given a fresh look. Of course these are far more powerful sacraments than cannabis but they are consciousness expanding plants and fungi that serve to break down barriers in the psyche. Like the mind control that governments continue to press upon the public. The cause is making progress. Do a search for John’s Hopkins psilocybin studies if you want clinical evidence of the potential benefits in the correct set and setting!

Julio L. Ruiz
Julio L. Ruiz
7 years ago

It’s all a mascaraed; A circus. Pot is being dissected and manipulated just for the sole purpose of profit and money. There is Nothing like the Real thing. when you start dissecting and separating properties, you loose the whole essence and natural medicinal values of the substance.
Also, A pack of edibles (ten count) will cost around $20.00. A small vile of drops will cost around $25.00 and so on. But, how long do they last. It all adds up. Going with Natural is all OK and I’m in for it. However, I personally do not want to spend all my money on a product that will drain my pocket. I might as well continue my prescription drugs for a 1/4 or a 1/3 of the price of dissected weed and it last’s (economically wise) three times longer.
It seems to me that weed is becoming a business for the rich and the ones that can afford to waste money.
It was all cultivated openly and free before the madness. What happened?
Bunch of greedy [email protected]#$%^&*!

Julio L. Ruiz
Julio L. Ruiz
7 years ago

Affordable pure marijuana anyone?