Across the country, every statewide cannabis legalization measure on a ballot passed on November 3. Four more states legalized recreational marijuana, bringing the total number that allow its sale to fifteen (as well as Washington, D.C.). Meanwhile, medical marijuana is now legal in one form or another in 33 states.
Both South Dakota and Mississippi voters approved new MMJ programs. South Dakota also okayed recreational cannabis possession and sales, as did Arizona, New Jersey and Montana.
What does this mean for the country — and Colorado in particular? After all, this was the first state that had legal sales. Readers posted some ideas on the Facebook post of our story about the election results. Says Ed:
Time to stop using the War on Drugs as a pretext to fill the private-prison industry.
That's good! My biggest takeaway from it is that less people will now be put in jail for weed. Which is a good thing.
Unless we're also ready to talk about vacating sentences for low-level offenders, then this is all just posturing.
I really wished they would finally legalize it on the federal level.
Jeremy brings it back to Colorado, with this:
Good, maybe now a bunch of pot-smoking transplants will go the hell home. If you were already here BEFORE Amendment 64, then you're cool.
Yeah, just turn your nose up at all that tourist $$$.
Going to have mixed results on us. The cash boom we experienced when we were nearly unique is probably going to subside. We'll be left with likely closures and the cleanup that entails, larger businesses will probably absorb a lot of mom and pops, and it will contribute to some economic malaise. But maybe it'll help stop the skyrocketing rents.
Here's another potential outcome: More states legalizing cannabis is good for national cannabis legislation efforts, according to National Cannabis Industry Association media relations director Morgan Fox.
“While state representatives aren’t beholden to representing the interests of their constituents in terms of policies, I think that with every state where you pass one of these laws, there’s that much more potential representation in Congress,” Fox explains.
What do you think the expanding number of states with legal weed will mean for Colorado? What will it take for the feds to legalize cannabis? Post a comment or email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.