Last night, the voters in both Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures to repeal their states’ prohibition on marijuana and replace it with a system of taxation and regulation. These new laws, which will go into effect within the next month, will also remove criminal penalties against the possession and private use of marijuana by adults 21 and older. Colorado’s law also allows adults 21 and older to cultivate up to six marijuana plants (three of which may be mature). Both laws direct state agencies to develop rules and regulations for the registration of marijuana cultivators, product producers, and retail establishments.
As you can probably guess, we here at MPP are overjoyed! Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 54.8% to 45.1%, and Washington voters approved I-502 by a margin of 55.44% to 44.56%. These historic victories represent the first bricks to be knocked out of the marijuana prohibition wall. While we are grateful and joyous in victory, we know there is plenty more work that needs to be done. And so we will continue to work. We will work as hard as we can to change the hearts and minds of all Americans, while continuing to pressure state and federal lawmakers who have the power to enact real change.
MPP is proud to have been the primary financial backer of the Colorado campaign and to have played a key role in the drafting of Amendment 64 and in the coordination of the campaign. We are also so very grateful and proud of the work done by The Colorado Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol out of Denver – where MPP had three paid staffers – and both the ACLU-WA and the New Approach Washington campaign for drafting and passing I-502. These professional, savvy, and intelligent campaigns demonstrated that the public at large much prefers a well regulated and taxed system of adult marijuana use to the tired and failed marijuana prohibition. They proved that when presented with a well thought out plan, voters will listen.
Repeal of marijuana prohibition in Colorado and Washington are the first and most important steps towards seeing an end to marijuana prohibition. The federal government and 48 states still cling to failed prohibitionist policies that do nothing to prevent use or abuse while costing taxpayers a fortune. Please continue to write, email, and call your state and federal lawmakers and urge them to reconsider failed marijuana prohibition. Please remember to be respectful, and be prepared to have an intelligent conversation about the need to reform marijuana laws; we have background materials available. If your friends and family don’t already support reform, start a conversation with them, too.