by HALEY MILLAN Editor-in-chief
After legalizing recreational use of marijuana, Colorado successfully made an estimated one million dollars on the first day marijuana stores were open on January 1. In lieu of this success, Alaska is following Colorado and Washington’s footsteps by becoming the third state to legalize recreational marijuana.
Tourists and residents of Colorado spent up to three hours waiting on line in the cold on the first day, which some referred to as Green Wednesday. The few dozen retail pot shops sell taxed and tested locally grown strains.
Colorado’s new 64th amendment makes it legal for anyone over the age of 21 to buy marijuana, which is the first state to do so. It serves as an example for cities and countries all around the world.
Washington does not allow the purchase of marijuana, but by legalizing recreational marijuana, it allows citizens to have pot on them; a person cannot be criminalized for the possession of pot. However, this summer, Washington plans to open retail cannabis shops.
Colorado has had little to no failures. Some worries were high taxes and prices, decreased supply, over-regulation, and federal intervention. Car accidents and lack of bank services are the biggest concerns for marijuana supporters, since it may influence some people to be against the legalization. Opponents of marijuana already argue that the drug has health consequences and is a gateway drug.
Alaska’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana submitted a petition of over 45,000 signatures; 30,000 of them need to be verified in order to qualify for the state ballot in August. This proposal should promote recreational marijuana and provide more access for those who need medical marijuana.
Some people believe that the retail of marijuana will largely help get rid our debt deficit. Based off of the one million dollars earned in Colorado, these people may not be far off.
“I think it will be good to have all states legalize the retail of marijuana. It could really have a big positive impact on our economy,” says an anonymous senior.
Some drug policy scholars have found through research that the legalization of marijuana may actually decrease the consumption of alcohol. This is a major benefit, since alcohol is much more dangerous. Looking at research, scholars found that the number of related car accidents declined with the legalization of marijuana, which may be due to the fact that marijuana does not affect driving as badly as alcohol, or the fact that the consumption of alcohol is usually done outside of the house.
Another major concern that scholars addressed was the relationship between teenagers in high school and marijuana use. Contrary to popular belief, they found no tie between legalizing marijuana and an increased amount of student users. While the use of marijuana by students increased in California, it also increased in states where recreational/medical use of marijuana is not legal.
“People smoke weed anyway, so I think the country might as well sell it for a profit. It’s not as bad as alcohol, which is already legal. I think it’s time to let marijuana have its time,” says an anonymous senior.
How do you feel about recreational marijuana and do you think it will positively affect society?