Four years after Colorado voted to pass Amendment 64, effectively legalizing marijuana for recreational use, the state Governor might finally be warming up to the idea. When the amendment was first passed in 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper was outspoken as he called the voters “reckless” for approving the measure at all – eventually he revised his own statement, deciding “risky” was a better term.
“Colorado is known for many great things,” Hickenlooper said. “Marijuana should not be one of them.”
Since then, the industry has grown significantly, the state has become one that people look to when they consider taking a similar approach to legalization; the state has become one of the best places to live and visit in the U.S. and the unemployment rate has dropped to one of the lowest in the country. Overall, it appears that the benefits of legalization are clearly outweighing the risks.
Originally, the Governor said that if he were able to “wave a magic wand” to reverse the decision he would do so – but luckily he stayed open-minded over the last couple of years and seems to be seeing the benefits as well. At first, the bill was the first of its kind to pass – and no one knew just how the federal government might react; there was no way to know how this would play out and it was definitely viewed as a sort of “national experiment”.
The good news is, so far this experiment seems to be working out pretty well. While there have been a few issues with edibles (most notably a murder case where a man is claiming he shot his wife because he ate too much THC), most of these problems were quickly addressed. Since the start of legal sales, there have been multiple changes to the laws, including labeling laws on edibles, and there will continue to be changes as we learn better how to regulate this federally banned substance.
“If I had that magic wand now, I don’t know if I would wave it,” he said. “It’s beginning to look like it might work.”
Only a couple months ago did the Governor say that his job was to “deliver on the will of the people of Colorado”. While this is not exactly an admission of being wrong, it is still a recognition that this was a change demanded by the people of Colorado and he will now be standing by it. On an appearance on 60 Minutes he said that they might be able to create a system that could work – which is the hope of every state yet to legalize, who will jump on it once the kinks are worked out.
Even those who are against legalization can find benefits coming from the new industry in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and soon Alaska as well. Even D.C., with their cultivation and possession only laws, have seen things improve drastically since legalization. For anyone who is against legalization – give it a chance. After all, we had to give prohibition a chance for a long time now and it just isn’t working out. In time, we will all see that a well-regulated market is much safer than an illegal one.