This Week In Cannabis: Washington Post not high on marijuana legalization, NY in 2015?, No Job- No Weed, Florida’s getting greased up, and Colorado is more worried about weed than spirits this Halloween.
Tethered to the Wrong Post
Hot on the heels of the New York Times’ editorial arguing for the efforts of pro-legalization, The Washington Post has turned its rhetoric in favor of those opposed to making Initiative No. 71 a reality in November. This initiative would make it legal for D.C. resident adults 21 years or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use and grow up to six plants.
Quoting the negative consequences of legalization as catalogued by the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the Post is advocating that D.C. voters choose “no” on the measure and wait to see how things shake out in legal states.
However, as many advocates and journalists were quick to point out, it appears the Post didn’t do its homework. Here’s the quote from the Post citing SAMs data:
It’s not been a year since Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana use and, as the Smart Approaches to Marijuana has catalogued, there have been negative consequences, including increased instances of impaired driving and increased use by youth. With marijuana already decriminalized, there’s no reason for the District to rush the next step; why not at least give Colorado a bit more time to provide lessons?
We’ll let Jon Walker, author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy, point out the first flaw:
This first statement is completely wrong. Recreational marijuana use for adults was legalized on December 10th, 2012 almost two years ago. While the state didn’t allow the first licensed adult use marijuana retail stores to open until January 2014, possession of up to an ounce and home cultivation of up to six plants has been legal for adults since late 2012. (via JustSayNow.com)
Secondly, while there is little to no data that supports the argument that marijuana use has increased in teens since legalization began in CO, there actually is data from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that reflects a drop in teen use since 2012.
Lastly, while the Post was busy urging its readers to proceed with caution, it seems to have forgotten this article, by one of their own writers, that outlines some major flaws in SAMs claims of increased impaired driving due to marijuana legalization.
Is Initiative 71 perfect? No. Does that give The Washington Post and other major news outlets permission to dismount legalization efforts with out-dated reefer madness rhetoric and false facts to influence voters? Also no.
A New York State of Mind
If the Huffington Post is correct, New York could legalize marijuana for recreational purposes as early as 2015.
Using lessons learned from states that have legalized recreational marijuana, State Senator Liz Krueger (D) will look to revamp portions of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (specifically tax structure and worker clarification) and reintroduce it this coming January.
It would have to pass through the Liberty State’s legislature (not via referendum like in other states) so it could face some stiff opposition from those officials and lawmakers who have traditionally been bearish and/or evasive on the issue of marijuana legalization.
No Job, No Weed
The House passed the “No Welfare for Weed” bill recently, the Huffington Post has reported. The bill’s main sponsor, Representative Dave Reichert, (R-Wash.) said, “The fact that some people are using welfare for weed is outrageous. While some may decide to spend their own money on drugs, we’re not going to give them a taxpayer subsidy to do it.”
So along with liquor, gambling and gentlemen’s clubs, those receiving welfare subsidies in states where marijuana is legal will not be allowed to brandish their government-issued debit card in establishments where marijuana is sold. Nor will they be able to withdraw cash in said establishments.
The reach of the bill may be limited though, considering customers could still use their benefit cards to get cash from an ATM at a different store or bank, and then use the money to buy marijuana.
Greasing the MMJ Wheels
Whoever said that campaigning for marijuana is dry and boring, should probably watch this Grease-inspired parody that is drawing attention to the medical marijuana debate on the Florida ballot.
According to a Denver Westword article, the Denver Police Department has received calls from concerned parents about marijuana edibles making their way into Trick or Treating bags this Halloween. To which they released a podcast.