It’s been a little over two years since retail marijuana sales began in Colorado and guess what? Legalization looks pretty much the way activists have been saying it would. Catastrophe has not ensued!
Of course less people are going to jail for weed; that’s a given. On top of that, a ton of economic activity has been generated through new jobs and tourism dollars flowing into the state. Crime is down and highway traffic fatalities are near historic lows.
While I’m one of the many activists who would rather see cannabis not taxed at all, this is simply not practical in the United States in 2016; and the state of Colorado is collecting a lot of tax money from marijuana. “Money for schools” equals votes and with only about 10% of the population consuming weed on a regular basis, the other 40%+ has to come from somewhere.
Besides, does anyone really believe the government (in the states and eventually on a federal level) will allow legalization without getting a cut of the (your) money?
The lesson here is two-fold: 1) Prohibition simply DOES NOT WORK. Government prohibition of a product will not stop its use; it will only drive the market underground and enrich those who use violence as a path to more profits. 2) The market works! The simple act of making cannabis sales legal and bringing the industry into the legal marketplace can accomplish so much.
The best part? There is already a large group of people who would like to go into a store and buy weed. They are just waiting for the stores to open. They are quite familiar with the transaction; it just usually happens at their house or someone else’s house or in an alley somewhere.
Marijuana users everywhere are screaming: shut up and take my money!