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Is America on a path toward slowly legalizing recreational marijuana? As reported earlier this month, supporters of a Colorado pot legalization measure were given until February 21 to collect the additional 3,000 signatures needed to earn the measure a place on the November ballot. Well, they've done it.
Come this fall, Colorado voters will be asked to decide whether the state should legalize the drug for recreational purposes. Though they rejected a similar measure in 2006, attitudes towards marijuana have changed significantly in the last 6 years. A recent Gallup poll even concluded that 50% of Americans now support full-scale legalization.
If passed, Colorado's pot legalization measure will give adults aged 21 and older the ability to use marijuana without a prescription, explains the Associated Press. Possession will be limited to 1 ounce or six plants, and cities and counties will be able to regulate commercial sales.
Unlike the 2006 measure, the new legislation will create a taxation and regulatory scheme. The first $40 million in taxes will be earmarked for public schools, according to Reuters. The rest will be placed in the state's general fund.
Supporters of the law believe prohibition is "counterproductive to the health and public safety of communities," reports Reuters. It creates a "massive, increasingly brutal underground economy" that wastes billions of dollars in resources.
State and local law enforcement officials oppose the law on the grounds that it increases access to pot.
No one knows whether Colorado's pot legalization measure will pass. But if it does, the state may be in for some trouble. Federal prosecutors have been cracking down on medical marijuana users in Colorado as of late, indicating that they won't sit idly by if the state legalizes the drug altogether.