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Why the Rest of the World Should Follow the Colorado Legacy?
The legalization of cannabis has been a subject of hot debate for decades. Although it is still illegal at the federal level, 33 states and counting have some form of approved legal use of cannabis. While a number of states stick to allowing medical use only, other states have moved to decriminalize cannabis use within certain guidelines, or have legalized it for recreational use altogether.
Asa an innovative thought leader in the space, the first state to legalize cannabis was Colorado. With the passing of Amendment 64, cannabis was fully legalized for recreational use within the borders of CO. On the medical level, it had been legal for the last twelve years in this state.
The Law in Colorado
While medical patients with certain conditions have been allowed to possess up to two ounces for a few years already, non-medical consumers can now:
- Possess up to one ounce of cannabis
- Cultivate plants
- Travel with up to one ounce
- Gift up to one ounce of cannabis to anyone over the age of 21
Tourists can consume cannabis while in Colorado but fall under the jurisdiction of other states as they travel. This may mean that any possession outside of Colorado becomes illegal.
*Keep in mind that laws and legislation are always in a constant state of flux. As such you should always do your own research for the jurisdiction you live in to make sure you are in compliance.
Benefits of Legalization
Colorado sets a good example for other states, the federal government, and global governments alike. This state has shown that legalization can be successfully passed and implemented without the often blown out of proportion negative consequences usually cited, and that taxed cannabis can lead to wonderful improvements for the community at large. In fact, tax dollars from cannabis are being shuttled into enhancing infrastructure, public aid systems, education and more.
Other benefits of legalization include:
- Lower rates of unemployment due to the creation of jobs in the cannabis industry
- Decreased crime rates
- Increased tax revenue
- Less crowded prisons
- A thriving economy
- Increased tourist activity
Cannabis is a popular substance for medicinal and recreational use that warrants more study. Legalization would allow for this study to be possible.
Colorado Proves Legalization Works
With the right framework in place, legalization can be a wonderful thing.
- The black market will struggle to survive.
- Cannabis supplies can be regulated and improved.
- Consumers can feel safe making and using purchases.
- Law enforcement can pay attention to more important issues.
- Age restrictions and other factors can be clearly defined.
There are many ways that legalization can benefit citizens, the states, and the federal government. Nations around the world are watching Colorado and other states to see how legalization turns out.
Colorado Gives Back
Legalization is not just about allowing people to use cannabis. It is about improving the lives of citizens, as well.
Cannabis-related tax revenue has topped $226 million in the state. Some of this has gone to improving schools. Other funds have gone to regulating the use of marijuana and educating others about the substance.
Regulation Increases Public Safety
Although it is impossible to control every situation, government regulation of the cannabis industry reduces negative effects.
- Sales of cannabis can be controlled
- Possessions can be limited
- Pesticides can be regulated
- Plants can be tracked
- Smoking areas can be designated
Steps have also been taken to label products containing THC, as well as eliminate advertising to children.
Learning from Colorado’s Mistakes
As with any attempt to regulate a part of life, Colorado has encountered issues with its legislation. By being the first to take these steps, however, it provides a basis that others can improve on.
- Edibles need to be strictly regulated to prevent consumption by children or overconsumption.
- Home use must also have certain rules, such as the prohibition of butane use, which can lead to fires.
- THC potency can be limited to make sure products do not produce an uncomfortable high.
As more legislation is created around cannabis, other governments can observe what works and what does not work before creating their own legislation around the substance.
The Future Colorado has Built Look Brighter than Ever
Although more study is necessary to determine the full effects of legalization over time, the evidence so far is encouraging. One of the main barriers currently is the refusal of the federal government to legalize cannabis at the federal level.
Once this barrier has been removed, states can continue to exercise rights at a local level while removing the current contradictions. Colorado has shown that cannabis can be legalized, used responsibly, and bring hope to the economy.
Colorado took the first brave step to legalize cannabis and show the world there is nothing to fear. It is time to celebrate this courage and imitate it elsewhere.
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