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Time for Fed to decriminalize marijuana

As the” normalization” of marijuana sweeps the nation, Colorado and 19 states of the union have either legalized medical use of the herb, or have turned a blind eye to the open sale of marijuana.

Denver customer happy to view 'legal' marijuana.
Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images

Add to the list the District of Columbia, and, as they say “ the people have spoken.”

As demonstrated Sunday with Colorado's initiation of the open sale of marijuana to any citizen over the age of 21, the response was strong but not epidemic in “ weed” purchase volume. In other words, on day two, we don’t find a state full of directionless, stoned Zombies. In most cases mom and dad haven't gone off the deep end while little Billy and Suzy have slumped into a dark corner of enveloping green smoke haze.

However, as with all free enterprise, demand for the product did double the counter price of legal pot in Denver. And, at $55 for an eighth ounce bag, marijuana won’t be outpacing alcohol abuse any time soon. Besides, due to demand, many shops will be sold out in the short term.

From my sober sources in Denver, Monday academic, business civic activity is reported as "business as usual."

Why isn't Eugene,Oregon following suit?

The 2013 legal marijuana initiative saw statewide defeat by a relatively low margin of 4%. It passed in Lane County, while being marginally defeated in conservative Douglas, Linn and others. The proposition was a tangled web of state controlled agribusiness. The voters said no.

At the root of the initiative was a provision to allow the growing of agricultural hemp fiber and seed for fabric and protein. Buried in the proposal was a provision for medical and casual- use marijuana distribution through state regulated storefronts; much like the state regulated Liquor Stores. The voters I spoke with balked at state regulation as well as what they perceived as a state sanction handout to big agribusiness.

Many shared with me that they’d fight on for an unconditional repeal of the federal marijuana prohibition in effect for 72 years. To them it was a “ principles” thing. A handful of local users had paid the price of jail time in the early years and were not giving in to what they considered to be a weak compromise.

On the business side of the law, Colorado officials reported marijuana sales windfall tax revenues exceeding $180 million in 2013.

Oregon could do just as well. Looking around Eugene and Portland you see the early signs of a burgeoning marijuana based enterprise system. For those with a trained eye it's evident that marijuana use as well as accessory pipe shops, smoke shops, herbal remedy tinctures, etc. have gone mainstream. Let's put a small tax on it.

Change is in the wind…

And with state as well as the Federal government looking for tax revenue, I like other's believe that Colorado will be a springboard to national legalization. Of Course with that change will come a new set of problems. And yes, a “ black market” will remain in place while growers and dealers attempt to sidestep new local, state and federal tax stamp laws. Reportedly as high as 22% in Denver , Co.

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