Monday, December 23, 2013 marked the day that American citizens became a little more liberated as Colorado became the first state in the nation to issue 348 licenses to local businesses permitting recreational marijuana use.
Thanks to the approval of Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, 136 head shops, 178 growing facilities, 31 marijuana-infused-products manufacturers, and 3 testing labs got the okay to use cannabis in new and revolutionary ways, including for leisure. Now, Colorado and Washington both have boasting rights as being the first two states in the country to allow its citizens to express themselves in this natural way.
Spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, Mason Tvert, was a big pusher for Colorado’s new legislation. “Colorado will be the first state to have a legal marijuana market for adults,” he said before adding, “We expect it to set an example for other states.” Indeed, anxious Americans all over the country await this day with vapid Funyun breath.
Still, all is not fun and games for the stoned citizens of the state, as buyers will be charged a 15% excise tax on top of a 10% sales tax. Some estimates as to the revenue that could be generated for local government are clearing the $70 million range, with plans on how to spend the money already being discussed. Despite the somewhat expensive cost of this popular pastime, Colorado voters resounded overwhelmingly in favor of legalization, in between bong hits of course.
Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper, said this about the recent change: “We are grateful voters approved funding that will allow for a strong regulatory environment, just like liquor is regulated.” However, it was not until the governor was presented with the lucrative tax proposal that he finally came around to see things from the voters’ “heightened” point of view.
For about two decades now, marijuana laws around the country have been repealed or relaxed at a gradual pace. Colorado and Washington are only the first two states to make marijuana use legal for purposes other than medicinal. Regardless, there have been little to no spikes in crime, mental illness, or accidents which would indicate that marijuana prohibition lobbyists know what they’re talking about. In fact, marijuana and its extracts play a huge role in helping those who suffer from depression, anxiety, and even cancer.
It is my opinion that legalization will further prove this point and support the trend. I also believe that marijuana is one of the safest recreational devices that a human being can use, certainly safer than alcohol or cigarettes. Given free choice and an accurate education, smoking buds from this natural plant is nothing to fear.
It’s time to end the drug war.
(photo provided by: freedigitalphotos.net)