Five Things Colorado Learned From Legalizing Pot
1. Don’t panic. The worst-case scenarios predicted by many law enforcers and hardliners have largely failed to materialize in Colorado. The ability to legally possess an ounce of weed hasn’t been a precursor to complete societal collapse.
2. Establish legal equity. Colorado didn’t create a mechanism to expunge the criminal records of people convicted of behavior that’s now lawful—and it should have.
3. Allow home cultivation. Giving everyone from cancer patients to artisanal horticulturists the opportunity to grow their own actually boosts the retail market, by providing those who don’t like the system and are most likely to complain about it a way to opt out.
4. Allow areas to prohibit pot shops. Instead of forcing conservative municipalities to be kind, Colorado allows them to reject retail sales, and plenty have done so—but if areas that just say yes experience a windfall, you can bet many will reconsider. In D.C., the same concept could work at the ultra-local level by allowing Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to make their own call on whether to permit sales on their turf.
5. Be specific in rules, regulations, ballot measures, and legislation. For instance, Colorado has banned public marijuana consumption, but there’s plenty of disagreement about what “public” means. Are private pot clubs OK? Can people smoke on their porches? The arguments continue.
Photo via Flickr user Colorado Medical Marijuana Medical Marijuana Connections, Creative Commons license