If you live in Colorado or Washington State, you may soon be able to smoke weed legally. That's because recreational marijuana measures in these states appear to have a decent shot of being passed come the November election.
The voter initiatives in the two states would legalize up to an ounce of pot for recreational use. If passed in either state, it would mark the first time that recreational marijuana use is legalized in the U.S.
Out in Washington, support for the measure seems to be overwhelming. Proponents of the law have reportedly raised $4 million while opponents have raised only $6,000, reports Fox News.
Along with the great disparity in raising money, most of the elected officials in Washington also appear to endorse the measure. Additionally, the Children's Alliance, an umbrella organization for 100 child welfare groups, has also expressed support for the measure. Ironically, the medical marijuana community has been one of the few groups to express concern with the measure. So what gives?
Just because recreational marijuana use would be legalized in these states, this does not mean that anyone can just go out and buy marijuana. For instance, in Washington, you would need to be over 21 to possess it. And if the measure is passed, more restrictive DUI laws could be passed that could potentially prohibit any marijuana in your system if you get behind the wheels.
The state measures seem to accept the reality that many people smoke marijuana regardless of its legality. By passing the laws legalizing marijuana, the state would at least be able to control safety standards in production and distribution, as well as have the ability to tax the drug. So for every dollar spent on the drug, almost half of it could go towards efforts to curb marijuana use.
If these recreational marijuana laws are passed, it will be interesting to see if other states follow suit. And while nine former heads of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have spoken out against the measures, so far President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have been silent.
- Legalization of marijuana on the ballot (The Oredigger)
- State Marijuana Laws: Legal to Grow Marijuana Now? (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
- 'Stoner Dog' Cases are Way Up, Vets Say (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)